Robert W. Hughes
Teacher of the Year Program

We are excited to announce the 32nd Annual Robert W. Hughes Teacher of the Year Program, to be held on the evening of January 25, 2024. This uplifting event has created a time-honored tradition of bringing our community together to recognize the contributions of our amazing Alachua County Public School teachers.

During the evening, we will be recognizing one outstanding teacher from each school in the district. Our goal every year is to provide each teacher honoree with a $500 award and a “goodie bag” to celebrate their achievement. We hope that you will consider supporting this fantastic event.  Your tax-deductible contribution will show our teachers that their efforts in the classroom are appreciated! Please fill out the contribution form by clicking the “Become A Sponsor” button below.


teachers recognized annually


awarded to the teacher honorees each year

About the 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 39 leading teachers (one from each public school) across the district. All 39 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 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.

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.

2023 Alachua County Teacher of the Year Finalists

  • “Being a Teacher is one of the most fulfilling and rewarding careers I could ever imagine. It is my way of giving back by molding and shaping each generation to learn more, think bigger than ever, and give their best no matter how hard they believe the task will be, and eventually they will believe that they can achieve anything.”

    Lilliemarie Gore, Sidney Lainer Center Lilliemarie Gore, Sidney Lainer Center
  • “It is my strong belief that being involved with students, coworkers, and parents shape an unbeatable bond that will lead to success of all students. When students feel cared for, respected, and know their expectations (in and out of the classroom), they can shape their future as lifelong learners.”

    Richard Thomas, Kanapaha Middle School Richard Thomas, Kanapaha Middle School
  • “I believe strongly in personal power and having a positive outlook, especially when it concerns one’s own dreams and potential for making them happen. I believe education is a major tool in that process – a huge advantage when it comes to dreaming big and having realistic expectations that dreams can be made real.”

    Karen Kearney, Buchholz High School Karen Kearney, Buchholz High School

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