First Year Teacher of the Year

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FUTURES Names First Year Teacher Award Winners

Daytona Beach – FUTURES Foundation for Volusia County Schools announced its two 2020 First Year Teacher Award recipients during surprise virtual & in-person celebrations Aug. 27th. The 2020 Elementary First Year Teacher Award recipient is Danielle Gregory, a first-grade teacher nominated at Friendship Elementary School in Deltona but now teaching at Champion Elementary in Daytona Beach. The 2020 Secondary First Year Teacher Award recipient is Nicole M. Rose-Peadick, a 6th grade world history teacher at Heritage Middle School in Deltona.

Former Friendship Elementary Principal Dr. Cristina Raimundo in nominating Ms. Gregory, stated “Since the first day of pre-planning Danielle has expressed a love for teaching. She shared fond memories of being the child of a teacher and how volunteering in the classroom made her realize teaching was her calling. She prepared her classroom meticulously thinking and planning every detail. She created an inviting student-centered learning environment in which students know they are cared for and allowed to take risks.”

Heritage Middle School Principal Thomas Vaughan stated, “Upon reflection, I have never seen a teacher take command of a classroom, soak up new knowledge, and apply that new knowledge with such amazing efficiency and efficacy as Mrs. Rose-Peadick has done during her first year of teaching. Truly, something I am thankful to have encountered.” 

These recipients were selected from 53 nominees chosen to represent their schools during the 2019-2020 school year. To be considered for the recognition, nominees must have earned a Baccalaureate degree, started a full-time teaching career on or after Jan. 1, 2019, performed outstandingly based on standards established by the Volusia County School District and been nominated by their school principal. 

In May, six finalists were named for this award. The 2020 elementary level finalists were Ms. Gregory; Onnie Norman, first grade teacher nominated at Spirit Elementary now teaching at Volusia Online Learning; and Rachel Secord, third grade teacher at Spruce Creek Elementary. The 2020 secondary level finalists were Meghan McKenna, physical education teacher at University High; William H. Parrish-Talk, culinary arts teacher at Silver Sands Middle; and Mrs. Rose-Peadick.

The thirty-one 2020 Elementary First Year Teacher nominees included:              

  • Jazmin Skipper - Blue Lake Elementary School 
  • Tala Saboungi - Champion Elementary School
  • Miranda Solms - Chisholm Elementary School 
  • Olivia Noboa - Citrus Grove Elementary School 
  • Kelley Markland – nominated at Cypress Creek Elementary School now at Volusia Online Learning
  • Carissa Beattie - Deltona Lakes Elementary School 
  • Jessica Vandermeulen - Edgewater Public School
  • Natalie Maynard - Enterprise Elementary School 
  • Jacquelyn Dezerey Alicea - Forest Lake Elementary School
  • C. Angie Vogelzang - Freedom Elementary School 
  • Danielle Gregory – nominated at Friendship Elementary School now at Champion Elementary School
  • Kristina Cawthon - George Marks Elementary School
  • Alexis Miller - Holly Hill School 
  • Sierra Dollar - Indian River Elementary School 
  • Emily Naghdi - Louise S. McInnis Elementary School
  • Sarah Kriner – nominated at Manatee Cove Elementary School now at DeBary Elementary School
  • Nicholas Weaver - Orange City Elementary School 
  • Rachael Nizialek - Ortona Elementary School 
  • Maria Quinonez - Pierson Elementary School 
  • Elyse Frezza    - Pride Elementary School 
  • Brionna Simpkins - Read-Pattillo Elementary School 
  • Kelly Dooley - South Daytona Elementary School 
  • Onnie Norman – nominated at Spirit Elementary School now at Volusia Online Learning
  • Rachel Secord - Spruce Creek Elementary School 
  • Nicole Richards - Sugar Mill Elementary School
  • Allison Brownell – nominated at Sunrise Elementary School now at Spruce Creek Elementary School
  • Lindy Feeser – nominated at Sweetwater Elementary School now at Volusia Online Learning
  • Stephanie Wallace - Timbercrest Elementary School 
  • Alexis Kurland - Tomoka Elementary School 
  • Tasney Thomas - Westside Elementary School 
  • Katrina Beck - Woodward Elementary School

The twenty-two 2020 Secondary First Year Teacher nominees included:

  • Brooke Adkins - Atlantic High School 
  • Adebisi Muibat Shittu - Campbell Middle School 
  • Anna Hack - Creekside Middle School 
  • Julio Rivera - David C. Hinson Middle School 
  • Jackie Johnson - DeLand High School 
  • Gina Klimas - DeLand Middle School 
  • Jeremiah Johnson -    Deltona High School 
  • Jordan P. Gawel - Deltona Middle School
  • Kimbre Lemasney -    Galaxy Middle School 
  • Nicole M. Rose-Peadick - Heritage Middle School 
  • Heidi Gerson    - Holly Hill School 
  • Dr. Verna-Kay Smith - Mainland High School 
  • Phoenix Mason - New Smyrna Beach High School 
  • Crystal G. Johnston – nominated at New Smyrna Beach Middle School now at Volusia Online Learning
  • Tyler Cannon - Pine Ridge High School 
  • Orlenna M. Garris - River Springs Middle School 
  • Kristen Perkins - Seabreeze High School
  • William H. Parrish-Talk - Silver Sands Middle School 
  • Patricia Arambulo - Southwestern Middle School
  • Elizabeth Maderas - Spruce Creek High School 
  • Whitney Sylvia - T. DeWitt Taylor Middle/High 
  • Meghan McKenna - University High School

FUTURES Foundation is a nonprofit, direct support organization founded in 1985 to support Volusia County Schools. Its mission is to engage business and civic leaders to promote and achieve educational excellence for Volusia County Public Schools. The Foundation’s 27-member board of directors consists of area business and civic leaders who direct and raise funds to facilitate a variety of programs in the school district. Through business and individual donations, FUTURES presents programs such as the First Year Teacher Awards. For additional information about FUTURES, please contact Executive Director Cynthia Ramirez at 386.255.6475, ext. 50730, or, or visit its website at

Photo 1: The 2020 Elementary First Year Teacher Award recipient is Danielle Gregory, formerly of Friendship Elementary and now at Champion Elementary. Pictured from left are Ruben Colon, Volusia County School Board member; Dr. Rene Clayton, Assistant Superintendent for Elementary Schools; Mark West, Chief of Human Resources; winner Danielle Gregory; Dr. Carmen Balgobin, Interim Superintendent; Cynthia Ramirez, FUTURES Executive Director; and Carl Persis, Volusia County School Board member.

image of Danielle Gregory

Photo 2: The 2020 Secondary First Year Teacher Award recipient is Nicole Rose-Peadick of Heritage Middle School. Pictured from left are: Ruben Colon, Volusia County School Board member; Patty Corr, Assistant Superintendent for Middle Schools; Thomas Vaughan, principal of Heritage Middle; winner Nicole Rose-Peadick; Dr. Carmen Balgobin, Interim Superintendent; Elizabeth Albert, president of Volusia United Educators; and Mark West, Chief of Human Resources.

image of Nicole Rose-Peadick


For additional information contact:
Program Coordinator Stephanie Parks

386.255.6475, ext. 50728