Champions For Learning announces county Teachers of Distinction

Teachers have the significant role in molding our future leaders. Every day, teachers take this great responsibility and implement great ideas to make a difference in our students’ life.

Today, Champions For Learning highlighted those teachers by announcing the Golden Apple Teacher Recognition Program’s 2016-2017 Teachers of Distinction. These teachers will continue in the Golden Apple Selection Process. From this group of teachers, five will be selected to receive a Golden Apple Award.

The Teachers of Distinction and the Golden Apple recipients will be honored at the Golden Apple Celebration of Teachers Dinner presented by Suncoast Credit Union on March 31, 2017 at the Naples Grande Beach Resort.

We’d like to thank our presenting sponsor, Suncoast Credit Union and all of the support they provide educators and students. We would also like to thank additional Golden Apple Major Sponsors: Arthrex, CenturyLink, Conditioned Air, Mary Ingram Fund of the Columbus Foundation, Moorings Park, Naples Daily News, and NBC-2 Waterman Broadcasting.

“The Golden Apple Teacher Recognition Program recognizes some of the most significant people in our community—teachers,” says Greg Pasanen, Regional Vice President at Suncoast Credit Union. “Our local educators are on the front lines every day. They inspire our children to achieve greatness. It is an honor to be involved in this incredible program as we highlight the teachers who have impacted our students’ lives.”

This years Teachers of Distinction are:
Tara L. Barr Lorenzo Walker Technical High
Staci Haralson Barretta Big Cypress Elementary
Steven Becker Immokalee High
Joanna Campanile & Janell Matos Poinciana Elementary
Brandon Carter Manatee Middle
Kristin Downs Lely High
Susan Ellard Gulf Coast High
Staci Fisher Immokalee High
Anne Fredette Lorenzo Walker Technical College
Ashley Heirls Highlands Elementary
Sabrina Kovacs Lake Trafford Elementary
John Krupp Golden Gate High
Maria T. LaRocco Sabal Palm Elementary
Veronica Mamone Lake Park Elementary
Kyle Manders Palmetto Ridge High
Amanda McCoy Manatee Middle
Kristin Merrill Lake Park Elementary
Joseph E. Merrill Lake Park Elementary
Dawn Peck Lorenzo Walker Technical High
Lindsey Sebela Golden Gate Middle
Stacy M. Smith Palmetto Ridge High
Christina Svec Mike Davis Elementary
Aaron P. Thayer Manatee Middle
Marisa Vessella Gulfview Middle
Amity A. Wyss Manatee Middle

About Champions For Learning™
Champions For Learning™, the education foundation in Collier County is an independent, community-based, non-profit 501 (c) (3) organization that makes it possible for our community to impact lives by enriching the environment for student learning through educators and directly with students. The organization has been awarded a four star rating for sound fiscal management and commitment to accountability and transparency by Charity Navigator. The Education Foundation of Collier County (Champions For Learning) has been ranked among one of the top 25 education foundations in a national study. Become a Champion for Learning and visit

About Suncoast Credit Union
Suncoast Credit Union is the largest credit union in the state of Florida, the eighth largest in the United States based on membership and the 12th largest in the United States based on its $7.7 billion in assets. Chartered in 1934 as Hillsborough County Teachers Credit Union, Suncoast Credit Union currently operates 61 full-service branches and serves more than 723,125 members in the following Florida counties: Charlotte, Citrus, Collier, DeSoto, Dixie, Gilchrist, Glades, Hardee, Hendry, Hernando, Highlands, Hillsborough, Lee, Levy, Manatee, Marion, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, Sarasota and Sumter. Since its founding in 1990, the Suncoast Credit Union Foundation has raised and donated over $16 million to organizations and initiatives that support the health, education and emotional well-being of children in the communities that the credit union serves. For more information, visit:, or @SuncoastCU.

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