Robert W. Hughes
Teacher of the Year Program

Since 1992, The Education Foundation has helped Alachua County Public Schools in recognizing and empowering its teachers through the annual Teacher of the Year program. Mr. Robert Hughes founded the Teacher of the Year program in 1992 when he was the Superintendent of Schools. This program celebrates 40 leading teachers (one from each public school) across the district. All 40 are given a $500 award for their hard work and one is named the Alachua County Teacher of the Year. The Teacher of the Year then goes on to represent Alachua County at the Macy’s Florida Teacher of the Year program.


teachers recognized annually


awarded to the teacher honorees each year

About the Program

Teachers are initially nominated by their peers. Once a teacher is chosen as their school’s Teacher of the Year, they have to submit a resume and teaching philosophy. Then, a committee of past Teacher of the Year recipients decides the finalists for elementary, middle, and high school and the new Teacher of the Year.

2021 Alachua County Teacher of the Year – Nicole Harris

  • This program [Teacher of the Year], just being able to see what our colleagues are doing is very inspirational. I do want to say this time that we find ourselves in globally with education – it’s our moment. It’s our moment to think in new ways, to rethink high school and middle school and elementary school. This is a moment that can push us forward,” Harris said. “I want to thank the teachers on the front line that are being creative every day. You guys are innovating in ways that you’ve always innovated, the world is just now watching. Every single person who was nominated and those that weren’t nominated could have stood up here. I stand on the shoulders of giants. That’s a cliché but I mean it.

    Nicole Harris, Gainesville High School Nicole Harris, Gainesville High School

Congratulations to Nicole Harris from Gainesville High School! The 2021 Alachua County Public Schools Teacher of the Year.

Watch the full program on the SBAC’s YouTube Channel. Congratulations to all of the finalists and nominees!

Our team was able to award the nominees from each of the 40 public schools with $500 and a “goodie bag” to celebrate their achievement thanks to our presenting sponsors Florida Credit Union, Cox and SWI Photographers, and our additional sponsors who donated items for our teachers to enjoy.

Check out our Facebook page for more event photos!

As an organization that supports teachers with classroom grants for innovative ideas, The Education Foundation also seeks to recognize and empower teachers for their hard work and dedication to our students. Teachers invest in the lives of students across Alachua County on a daily basis. They are the backbone of our public school system. We trust them with our children and believe in their abilities to guide our students into a stronger tomorrow.

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