What impact do you hope to make through your new role as Florida’s TOY?

DS: I hope to live up to the moniker of Christa McAuliffe Ambassador for Education; the name itself is synonymous with honor and courage. I really want to bring back the passion of educators and get down to the “Why?” of teaching. I wish to show people about the passion of the profession and not the politics, which is becoming a hot topic nowadays. Despite that, I want to encourage people to become educators, the innate teachers and the “always wanted to be a teacher” teachers.

I want to talk to our men and women in uniform who have served our country in the highest form, who have come home looking for work, to serve again – this time, educating our youth. I want to work to ensure the hiring process for our military veterans is user-friendly thus encouraging more to join this noble profession.

I wish to educate more teachers on effective ways to teach English to our children coming from other countries while empowering them to maintain and share their cultures. I want people to hear me speak about education then smile and laugh and remember their teachers who left an impact in their lives so as not to forget the importance of educators.

Dorina with colleagues

I want to promote cultural competence and raise awareness of the understanding and acceptance of the fascinating, beautiful, and engaging cultures that make up our communities. I  deeply want communities to come together and understand that it truly “takes a village to raise a child” thus creating more partners in education.

Just the same, I look forward to bringing students and teachers into the community by their commitment to running a 5k with me in each county of Florida. As per the FLDOE,  I will be wearing a red cape that is “bedazzled” with an apple and the words “Teachers are the Real Super Heroes” as we run in unity promoting community service and education.

Finally, I hope that the acronym that I have created for this year’s theme “Believe” is embedded in each educator’s heart. B.E.L.I.E.V.E.  = “Be the Educator who Lives to Inspire and Empower Via Excellence”!

This title automatically qualifies you to be a contender for National Teacher of the Year. Can we expect to see you in the Rose Garden with President Obama later this year?

DS: Well, yes! All 2014 Teachers of the Year in each state are received by the President and First Lady, with Vice President Joe Biden and his inspiring wife and fellow educator, Dr. Jill Biden in the Rose Garden. Florida has had four National Finalists in the past four years and are looking for me to be the fifth (no pressure, really). As far as becoming the National Teacher of the Year… of course it would be an honor beyond belief… one that would render more than falling off a bench at Sea World. Like I tell my students every day, “Dream big and shoot for the moon! If you miss, you will still land among the stars, and SHINE! Shine on, everyone!”

Did You Know?

Along with the responsibilities and prestige that come with Dorina’s Teacher of the Year title, there are some great perks. In addition to receiving a $10,000 grant funded by the Macy’s Foundation, she will soon get to enjoy an all-expense paid trip for four to New York City to attend the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade this November. We think she deserves her very own parade float… just maybe a step-up from the one she rode on as her high school’s Homecoming Queen in 1989!

Dorina HS Homecoming Queen 1989

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