Sarah Painter, a fifth-grade teacher at Eisenhower Elementary School in Pinellas County, was selected as the 2022 Florida Department of Education Teacher of the Year from among nearly 185,000 Florida public school educators. As the 2022 Florida Teacher of the Year, Mrs. Painter will serve as the Christa McAuliffe Ambassador for Education, working to create greater public awareness of Florida’s outstanding teachers and elevating the education profession.

Mrs. Painter began her teaching career in Pinellas County in2003 after completing a Bachelor’s degree from the University of South Florida. In her classroom, Mrs. Painter focuses on creating a culture of teamwork and developing deep and lasting connections with her students and families. Through her commitment to excellence, high expectations and instructional expertise, Mrs. Painter’s students have soared academically. She has been inspired by the moments when her students find joy, whether that be learning through a global pandemic, engaging with rigorous standards or completing complex tasks as a second language learner. Collectively, she and her students choose to find joy in each circumstance.

Mrs. Painter also focuses on collaboration with her colleagues. She organized common planning for fifth-grade teachers throughout Pinellas County in order to develop innovative solutions to better meet the needs of their students and created an open-door policy for colleagues to observe her instructional practices. Mrs. Painter serves as a teacher leader for both district-wide and school-based initiatives that promote access and achievement through data-driven instruction. Sarah received a Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Florida in 2012.

Mrs. Painter is passionate about supporting students in and outside of the classroom as she volunteers at an after-school Bible club, coaches a team for Girls on the Run and empowers parents to make instructional decisions based on data for their children. As an advocate for foster and adoption, she believes every child should feel a sense of belonging and is aware of how the family is integral towards achieving success in the classroom. She is blessed to share her life with husband Leo and their six children.

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