Cullipher Announced as Teacher of the Year State Finalist

For 26 years, Macy’s has honored the most exceptional educators in Florida who make magic in and out of their classrooms every day. Now it is time for an extraordinary teacher to receive a magical, unforgettable and well-deserved honor for her commitment to her students. Daryl Cullipher of St. Augustine High School in St. Johns County has been chosen as one of five finalists to compete for the 2015 Macy’s/Florida Department of Education Teacher of the Year Award!

On Friday, May 9, Florida Department of Education Commissioner Pam Stewart, along with Lee O’Rourke, District Vice President of Macy’s Northern Florida, were on hand at St. Augustine High School to make the big surprise announcement. The English Language Arts and Teaching Academy teacher will be called by Principal Cathy Mittelstadt and told that she has been chosen as one of five finalists for the prestigious honor. This year’s surprise announcement happens to fall during National Teacher Appreciation Week, a weeklong celebration of teachers in the U.S.

Upon receiving the good news, Ms. Cullipher was presented with a $5,000 check made possible by the Macy’s Foundation and a $500 Macy’s gift card. A $1,000 check, also funded by the Macy’s Foundation, was presented to St. Augustine High School. This year, the Macy’s Foundation will contribute over $100,000 in cash to the state-run Teacher of the Year program, as it has done since 1988.

“Teachers challenge our children to believe and achieve a better tomorrow. We are honored to support Florida’s teachers, who are the backbone of Florida’s educational system,” said Macy’s Executive Vice President and Regional Director of Stores Darlene Hanes. “Macy’s thanks Daryl Cullipher for making her classroom a magical place for her students and inspiring them to reach their full potential.”

“I am so proud of the teachers who stood out among their peers to be chosen as statewide finalists for Florida’s Macy’s Teacher of the Year,” said Commissioner Pam Stewart. “These educators exemplify the talent, passion and dedication needed to excite Florida’s students about learning as we help prepare them for success in college, career and life.”

The winner of the 2015 Macy’s/Florida Department of Education Teacher of the Year award will be announced during a ceremony on Thursday, July 10, 2014. The event, hosted by Emmy Award-winning journalist Deborah Norville, will be held at Orlando’s Hard Rock Live at Universal Studios CityWalk.

For the 26th year, Macy’s will sponsor and produce the awards ceremony. During the event, the remaining 67 nominees from around the state will be recognized for their achievements and excellence in teaching. Each of the nominees will be presented with a $750 personal cash award and a $250 grant for their school, funded by the Macy’s Foundation.

In addition to a $10,000 grant funded by the Macy’s Foundation, the Teacher of the Year will receive awards from Macy’s including an all-expense paid trip for four to New York City to attend the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. The winner will also serve for one year as the Christa McAuliffe Ambassador for Education, touring the state to spread the word about educational opportunities and challenges in the Sunshine State. To date, Macy’s and the Macy’s Foundation have contributed over $2.6 million to teachers throughout the state.

This year’s five finalists were chosen from more than 180,000 public school teachers throughout the state by a Department of Education-appointed selection committee representing teachers, principals, parents and the business community. Each finalist is selected on the basis of outstanding ability to teach and communicate knowledge of the subject taught, professional development, philosophy of teaching, and outstanding school and community service. The winner must also show a superior capacity to inspire a love of learning in students of all backgrounds and abilities.

About Macy’s Macy’s, the largest retail brand of Macy’s, Inc., delivers fashion and affordable luxury to customers at approximately 800 locations in 45 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam, as well as to customers in the U.S. and more than 100 international destinations through its leading online store at Via its stores, e-commerce site, mobile and social platforms, Macy’s offers distinctive assortments including the most desired family of exclusive and fashion brands for him, her and home. Macy’s is known for such epic events as Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks® and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade®, as well as spectacular fashion shows, culinary events, flower shows and celebrity appearances. Macy’s flagship stores — including Herald Square in New York City, Union Square in San Francisco, State Street in Chicago, Dadeland in Miami and South Coast Plaza in southern California — are known internationally and leading destinations for visitors. Building on a more than 150-year tradition, and with the collective support of customers, employees and Macy’s Foundation, Macy’s helps strengthen communities by supporting local and national charities giving more than $70 million each year to help make a difference in the lives of our customers.

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