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Harns Marsh does it again: Another Teacher of the Year

Teach of year.jpg
Lee County School District
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Special to WGCU
Harns Marsh Middle School teacher Steven McGinley was announced Friday as the Lee County Teacher of the Year for 2023.

Harns Marsh Middle School has done it again ... another one of the school's staff — Steven McGinley — has been named Teacher of the Year.

McGinley's selection now gives the Lehigh Acres-sited school three Teachers of the Year on staff. Along with McGinley's award for 2023, Allison Kerner was the 2022 Teacher of the Year and Samantha Hower was the 2019 Teacher of the Year. In November, the District honored Harns Marsh Middle School Assistant Principal Dr. Joseph Restino as the 2023 Assistant Principal of the Year.

Superintendent Dr. Christopher Bernier, Board members and District staff surprised McGinley Friday morning during a school staff meeting with his award.

“When I think of the person qualified to represent this District, the teacher of the year can’t happen alone,” Steven McGinley said to his fellow teachers just after being presented his award. “It has to happen in the school with the teachers here, with the students here, and with community involvement. I learn so much from you every day. I learn so much from our kids every day. I am honored to be recognized as Lee County’s 2022-2023 Teacher of the Year.”

McGinley is a Peer Collaborative Teacher at Harns Marsh Middle. Half the day he teaches Civics and the other half of the day is devoted to mentoring and coaching his fellow teachers.

“With his influence, Harns Marsh Middle School has not only had some of the highest learning gains among all Lee County middle schools, but has also truly prepared our students for a productive high school experience and beyond,” says Harns Marsh Middle School Principal Alex Dworzanski. “This growth speaks to our mantra, ‘it doesn’t matter where our students start, but where they finish.’”

McGinley started teaching in the District eight years ago. He believes, “every student deserves a great teacher, and every teacher deserves the resources and support to be great.” He says it is a duty to provide today’s generation with the same quality of education as he received as a student, and to help raise up quality educators. McGinley is also a product of the School District of Lee County, having attended Allen Park Elementary, Fort Myers Middle, and Fort Myers High School.

The Lee County Teacher of the Year program recognizes certified personnel for the significant contributions they make to their school and The School District of Lee County. The program honors one representative as Lee County’s Teacher of the Year. The nominees are individuals who have demonstrated exceptional skill and dedication in the performance of their jobs thereby earning the respect and admiration of students, teachers, administrators, coworkers, parents and the community.

A selection committee composed of community members, former principals, teacher representatives and District administrative staff review applications and identify, interview and select the finalists for the Teacher of the Year.

The District will forward McGinley’s application to the state for consideration as 2023 Florida Teacher of the Year. He will be formally recognized by the School Board at a meeting in February.

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