Four Jacksonville teachers were surprised in their classrooms with the 2019 Gladys Prior Awards for Career Teaching Excellence, which were established by Gilchrist Berg, founder and president of Water Street Capital, to honor teachers who have had lifelong careers in teaching and inspiring students.
As of this year, 88 teachers will have been recognized with a Gladys Prior Award, an award given for excellence in teaching for the last 22 years. To date, Berg has given more than $1 million to honor Jacksonville teachers with an award named after his fourth-grade teacher, Gladys Prior, at Ortega Elementary.
The University of North Florida College of Education and Human Services (COEHS) manages this gift and coordinates the annual award competition. Each of these career teachers will receive $15,000.
“If we want the best and brightest to join the teaching profession, be eager to teach and be committed to making a difference in the lives of young people, then, as a community, we need to invest in the success of our teachers,” said Dr. Diane Yendol-Hoppey, UNF COEHS dean. “Mr. Berg’s creation of the Gladys Prior Awards demonstrates a sincere appreciation for these dedicated teachers who have chosen to make teaching a career and have done so with passion and zeal.”
The 2019 winners include Amy Glendenning, Seabreeze Elementary School; Mary Phillips, Duncan Fletcher Middle School; Kevin Sullivan, Edward White High School; and Terry Woodlief, Central Riverside Elementary School. Together, these teachers have a combination of over 120 years of teaching experience.
Amy Glendenning is a special education teacher at Seabreeze Elementary School. She has been teaching for 34 years, 21 of which have been at Seabreeze. She is best described as a teacher who adapts her classroom to meet the needs of every single child. Her ability to work with parents to arrange for extra instruction time, to include early mornings, afternoon and lunchtime sessions, enforces her commitment to her students’ success. She is described as a teacher who seeks out ideas and resources to make sure things “click” for each and every student.
Mary Phillips is a civics teacher at Duncan Fletcher Middle School. She has been teaching for more than 20 years and is a respected community leader in the Jacksonville Beach area. In addition to her effective and impactful teaching style, she’s known for her commitment to civic duties, as evidenced by her membership in the Jacksonville Beach Citizen Police force and the countless hours she has dedicated to community-based nonprofits that provide outreach and necessary services to families and students.
Kevin Sullivan is a physical education teacher at Edward White High School. He has been teaching for more than 33 years, 21 of which have been in Duval County public schools. He was considering retirement but decided to teach for five more years when he was asked to help start a magnet program at Ed White (Military Academy of Leadership). He played a crucial role ensuring the success of the Special Olympics program at Atlantic Coast High School when the program was first established and is known for his commitment to ensuring all students are included in all events.
Terry Woodlief is an art teacher at Central Riverside Elementary School. She has been teaching for more than 40 years and has been repeatedly recognized as a Duval County Public School District Teacher of the Year. She has been lauded by other educators as a teacher with extensive knowledge of how to use technology in instruction, and for her ability to support the whole child by extending classroom teaching to embrace other core subjects.
UNF’s College of Education and Human Services serves as an integral and dynamic contributor to the education, human services and sports communities in the Northeast Florida region and beyond. The College offers undergraduate programs in fields such as special education, elementary education, secondary education and deaf education for people who are studying to be teachers, and also non-teaching programs, like sport management and American Sign Language/English Interpreting. The College also offers graduate programs in elementary and secondary education, special education, counseling and educational leadership and offers one of three doctoral programs at UNF, the Doctorate of Educational Leadership (Ed.D.)
UNF, a nationally ranked university located on an environmentally beautiful campus, offers students who are dedicated to enriching the lives of others the opportunity to build their own futures through a well-rounded education.