FUTURES Foundation Names 2021 First Year Teacher Award Recipients

FUTURES 2021 First Year Teacher Award winners Brian Levine (left) and Shane Story (right)

Daytona Beach – FUTURES Foundation for Volusia County Schools announced its 2021 First Year Teacher Award recipients during its annual recognition event April 6 at Jackie Robinson Ballpark.  Brian Levine, a third-grade teacher at Citrus Grove Elementary School in DeLand, received the Elementary level First Year Teacher Award while Shane Story, an ESE Support Facilitation teacher at David C. Hinson Sr. Middle School in Ormond Beach, received the Secondary level First Year Teacher Award. This year’s reception was co-sponsored by FUTURES Foundation and Volusia United Educators (VUE).

Mr. Levine and Mr. Story were selected for their awards from 45 nominees who were chosen to represent their schools. To be considered for the recognition, nominees must have earned a Baccalaureate degree, started a full-time teaching career on or after Jan. 1, 2020, performed outstandingly based on standards established by the Volusia County Schools and been nominated by their school principal.

In recommending Mr. Levine for this award, Citrus Grove Elementary Principal Jennifer Williams stated, “Brian Levine hit the ground running. He believes in making learning fun, but more importantly making his classroom a safe and welcoming place for each and every one of his students.”

An Elementary Education graduate of Stetson University, on his first day Mr. Levine introduced himself as former pirate Captain Levine and enlisted his students to join his new crew, “one which can change the world.” He continued, “I set high expectations for each of his new crewmates on the very first day and helped them meet those expectations through a myriad of wacky learning adventures.” In order to share more of his passion for learning, he is part of several extracurricular clubs including the DaVinci Club where “I can pour my love for literature and technological expertise into fostering life-long readers.”

In nominating Mr. Story for the secondary level award, David C. Hinson Sr. Middle School Principal William Dunnigan stated, “Mr. Story is the consummate professional, always making the needs of our students with disabilities his top priority. He is constantly setting a positive example for the faculty on how to support students with disabilities, while maintaining high expectations for the students’ growth and achievement.”

An Exceptional Student Education (ESE) graduate from Daytona State College, Mr. Story is working on his Master of Education at the University of Central Florida majoring in ESE with Certification in Autism Spectrum Disorder.  Prior to becoming a teacher, Mr. Story earned various leadership achievement awards while serving in the Human Intelligence Division in the U.S. Army Reserve. ”Through discussion, collaboration and reflection, my students and I plan together for their successes,” Mr. Story stated. “High academic expectations are most effectively achieved when the student takes onus of their own expectations.”

“FUTURES Foundation is honored to sponsor this annual awards program and celebration for these amazing new teachers,” said Robert E. Ludlow, Jr., President of FUTURES Foundation. “This year the pandemic brought even a greater challenge for brand new teachers and each of these 45 nominees stepped up to the plate for an outstanding first year. We are proud to recognize their efforts and host this annual recognition program. We appreciate the Volusia United Educators in joining us in sponsoring the reception.”

As each nominee was recognized on the field, Christy Mahaney, Coordinator of Volusia County Schools Recruitment and Retention, provided insights into each nominee’s enthusiasm and dedication to their students. Nominees heard from district leaders including a special motivational speech by 2022 Volusia County Teacher of the Year Frank Garaitonandia from Citrus Grove Elementary School. Two additional special guests included Danielle Gregory and Nicole Rose-Peadick, the 2020 Elementary and Secondary First Year Teachers Award recipients, respectively, who also gave their congratulatory comments to the nominees and presented the 2021 awards to Mr. Levine and Mr. Story.

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 29-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 Foundation 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 caperric@volusia.k12.fl.us, or visit its website at www.FUTURESVolusia.org.

This year’s 28 Elementary First Year Teacher nominees include:

  • Marlena McNeil - Blue Lake Elementary
  • Lori Moulton - Champion Elementary
  • Carmen Mele - Chisholm Elementary
  • Brian Levine - Citrus Grove Elementary
  • Paula Ramirez - Coronado Beach Elementary
  • Gina Calbeto - DeBary Elementary
  • Kennedy Lawrence - Discovery Elementary
  • Katie Zinzi - Edith I. Starke Elementary
  • Brittney VanPatten - Enterprise Elementary
  • Judith Gonzalez - Forest Lake Elementary
  • Brianna Cupp - Freedom Elementary
  • Angela Williams - Friendship Elementary
  • Bryan Rush - Manatee Cove Elementary
  • Jasmin Felix - Louise S. McInnis Elementary
  • Amy Smith - Orange City Elementary
  • Brooke Turulski - Palm Terrace Elementary
  • Courtney LaCates - Pathways Elementary
  • Mayra Galvan - Pierson Elementary
  • Savannah Fischer - Port Orange Elementary
  • Ciana Desimini - South Daytona Elementary
  • Kelsey Maldonado - Spirit Elementary
  • Kila Ortiz - Sugar Mill Elementary
  • Foley M. Flood - Sunrise Elementary
  • Kayla Manchette - Timbercrest Elementary
  • Benjamin Corn - Tomoka Elementary
  • Sheanna James - Turie T. Small Elementary
  • Christina Morgan - Westside Elementary
  • Michelle Hudimac - Woodward Avenue Elementary

This year’s 17 Secondary First Year Teacher nominees include:

  • Chelsea Chaya Ward - Atlantic High
  • Bree'shawn S. Watson - Campbell Middle
  • Shane Story - David C. Hinson Sr. Middle
  • Shelby Radford - DeLand High
  • Keith L. Strickland - DeLand Middle
  • Isabella Glessner - Deltona High
  • Kelvin Kerrutt - Galaxy Middle
  • Sheldon Martin - Heritage Middle
  • Emily Weiss - Holly Hill School
  • Karina Victoria Nunez - Mainland High
  • Crystal McCaddon - New Smyrna Beach High
  • Megan Paytas - Pine Ridge High
  • Heather Picos - River Springs Middle
  • Christy Transier - Seabreeze High
  • Kimberly George - Spruce Creek High
  • Dayana Hughes - University High
  • Amy Graydon - Volusia Online Learning