School District Awards

  • Employee Spotlight: Barry SchultzBarry is kept busy at school working in a varying exceptionality classroom which is an important part of an inclusion classroom. He has a great selection of hobbies that allows him to catch his breath after his week such as doing home improvement projects, swimming, and watching sports. He says he loves “yelling for the Kansas City Chiefs and Kansas Jayhawks!” How about his other favorite things? Barry tells us that he loves quality time with his family, coaching sports, driving his truck while listening to 80’s music, ordering “important stuff” on Amazon (hehehe…), and enjoying a quiet beverage while relaxing by his swimming pool. Does Barry have a favorite food? He says he enjoys a nicely grilled steak along-side some fresh Keys pinks! Lastly, we asked Barry why he likes working for MCSD and he tells us, “The students, parents, school staff and administrators are all great. Plus there is no snow or ice in the Keys!”

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  • Unke named Prinpal of the YearCongratulations to Sugarloaf School Principal Brett Unke who has been selected as Principal of the Year for the Monroe County School District! Superintendent Theresa Axford, his wife Joyce, staff and students surprised Mr. Unke with the announcement this morning. His ability to create a positive culture and make everyone feel important, his focus on using data to drive instruction, and the intense oversight he has given throughout the construction process are just a few of the reasons for his selection.
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  • Ward named asst principal of the yearDebra Ward from Key Largo School has been named as the Monroe County School District Assistant Principal of the Year. Ward served as a teacher at KLS and is in second year as an AP. Her work coaching teachers, strong leadership particularly with elementary curriculum implementation and her extreme Tornado Pride supported her selection.

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  • Employee SpotlightStephanie is kept busy at work as a paraprofessional, so when she’s ready to take some down time she told us her top 5 favorite things are: time with her husband and twin sons, her pets, a cold brew coffee, scary movies, and shoes! Ladies, we’ve gotta love having the shoe gene! <smile> She shared with is that her hobbies include baking, running, golf, and a good read. How about favorite food? “Tacos!” Lastly, we asked Stephanie what she likes about working for MCSD and she told us, “Our administrators at MHS are very supportive, and our front office staff ROCK! I am very blessed to work with a wonderful TEAM of teachers and paras.”

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  • SpotlightNot only is Thomas a math master, he’s a Bee Keeper! His hobbies keep him busy maintaining 2 bee hives at home, collecting delicious fresh honey! He also grows a variety of fruits that the bees love to pollinate and support. We asked him what his favorite things are, aside from his wonderful hobbies. Thomas tells us that his number one favorite thing is spending time with his family. Next on his list is scuba diving for lobster. He also loves his tropical fish aquarium and hunting for Megladon shark teeth! In addition to his list of favorites, he loves traveling, and cooking & eating delicious foods! So what is his favorite food… “all seafood and sushi”. Lastly, we asked him why he liked working for MCSD and Thomas said, “I love that I can save the families in our community thousands of dollars in college tuition by offering the dual enrollment classes that I teach.”

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  • Employee Spotlight Craig BrogliCraig shared with us that he just loves cooking! It’s his favorite thing to do, along with spending time with his daughter. We asked him what was his favorite dish to cook and he said that he loves trying different dishes from all over the world. Although, his favorite foods to eat are Italian, Indian, Spanish and Cuban foods. Mmm mmm! After a full day at work Craig likes to relax by working out with resistance bands, surfing the internet and watching a good movie. Lastly, we asked him why he likes working for MCSD and he said, “I like working with the people and managing the daily challenges.”

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  • Employee Spotlight: Alexander DavisAlexander is passionate for a variety of things, so we asked him to tell us his top 5 favorites. He tells us that number one favorite is his family! He also loves computers and tinkering with them, his pet turtles, history, and “helping others.” He certainly does a wonderful job of helping others at Poinciana Elementary every day! Alexander’s favorite food is… wait for it… Garbage Plates. Say what?? He says it’s a Rochester NY local favorite - your choice of cheeseburger, hamburger, white or red hots* (aka hot dogs) Italian sausage, chicken, or grilled cheese, served on top of any combination of home fries, french fries, baked beans, and/or macaroni salad, then is usually topped with a Rochester-style meat hot sauce and traditionally served with a side of buttered bread (in case you were still hungry!). Wowza, what a meal! So what about his hobbies? He says that on his days off he can usually be found spending time with his family and his animals, or maybe at a desk gaming and dabbling in electronics. Lastly, we asked Alexander why he likes working for MCSD and he said, “ Being able to educate our students is endlessly rewarding, and everyone that I work with is super friendly!”

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  • Employee Spotlight: Amy HHarrelson, ESE TeacherAmy is kept busy at school in her specialty role, working with ESE students from kindergarten through 8th grade. So what hobbies does she enjoy in order to let down after a busy week? She says that she enjoys lots of outdoor activities – paddle boarding, playing soccer, hiking, camping, and hitting the ski slopes in the winter. Another hobby she enjoys is baking desserts, yum! How about Amy’s ‘top 5 favorite things’? Her number 1 favorite is her 8 year old son, Owen. Amy also loves “traveling to faraway places”, furry animals of any sort <smile>, spending summers with family in upstate NY, and like a true Keys gal she loves boating and lounging on tubes in the beautiful ocean waters of the Keys! So Amy enjoys baking desserts, but what about her favorite foods? She loves a delicious and hearty homemade mac and cheese, anything Mexican, and all things Thai food – mmm mmm! Lastly we asked Amy why she likes working for MCSD. She tells us, “I love seeing the amazing educators that I work with go above and beyond for our students each and every day! They are true professionals in every sense of the word. It is so wonderful to see the strong relationships that are built between staff and students.”

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  • Kay Mackenzie, School Counselor, Coral Shores High SchoolKay plays a vital role in supporting our students’ success and she tells us that she just loves the smile on a student’s face as they leave her office. Three cheers to our School Counselors! We asked Kay about her hobbies and what she enjoys doing when she’s off school campus. She shared with us that she likes to stay active with tennis and bicycling around the Keys, but a little relaxation time by the pool and reading a good book. What tops her list of favorite things? The excitement of seniors graduating each May! Floyd, her dog. Also, traveling to visit family and friends at her mountain home town in Montana. We asked her about her favorite foods, and what does she love to eat? “Mexican and Asian dishes are the best!” Mmm mmmm… Lastly, we asked Kay why she likes working for MCSD and she said, “Our district is a small, but close community of schools, parents, and students who come together for both crises and successes.  This comradery gives our communities a sense of family atmosphere.”

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  • Debra Hollis, Bookkeeper - Key Largo SchoolDebra loves a great new adventure! After a busy week in the school’s office she loves to unwind with her hobbies – cooking a delicious meal, reading an awesome book, riding her bicycle, and relaxing at the beach. As a happy home chef, we asked her about her favorite foods and she said that she loves “seafood… of course!” She also tells us that she does love some good Mexican La Comida! Mmm, mmm! What about some of her favorite things? Number one on her list is: “Terrific Lady Day with my daughter – shopping, lunch!” We love it! Any other favorites? Like any Keys gal Debra loves to go out on the boat and living in Key Largo. She also enjoys traveling and good music – “especially Bruce Springsteen!” Lastly, we asked Debra what she likes about working for MCSD and she said, “I love the people I work with and the support KLS receives from the Key Largo community.”

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  • Employee Spotlight: Patti BourcierAs a Marathon High School alumni, Patti proudly wears her Dolphin Pride! She stays busy managing the school’s front office, so what hobbies does she enjoy doing in her downtime? She tells us that she loves to work in her yard and garden. Does she have a list of favorite things? Number one – spending time with her family. Patti also loves to relax by the pool, and traveling is her passion. We asked her about her favorite foods and she says that she loves good Italian food (Bellissimo!) and like a true Keys gal, she loves fresh seafood. When we asked Patti what she likes most about working for MCSD she said, “I love seeing students grow and thrive as they go through their school years, and working with the great team at MHS.”

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  • Taylor GandolfoTaylor is a MCSD alumni who has a career with the District. We are so very proud to have her as part of our team. We asked Taylor about her top 5 favorite things and she tells us that her number one love is Finn, her Golden Retriever. She is also a big Yankees fan. Some of her other favorite things include being on the boat (like any true Keys girl), chilling in the pool, relaxing in front of Bravo TV Channel, and spending time with her family and friends. How about her favorite eats? Taylor says she loves “sushi”, and there’s definitely some great, fresh local sushi options. Her number one hobby is relaxing with a great book. Lastly, we asked Taylor what she likes about working for MCSD and she tells us, “I enjoy being… a part of the school district that I started in and graduated from.”

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  • Employee Spotlight: Jocelyn Cabrera, Project SpecialistJocelyn has a hectic role in the Facilities Planning department where they are responsible for all the wonderful new construction within our schools and for our athletics programs. We asked her what hobbies she enjoys in order to let down from her busy work week and like a true Keys gal she says, “going out on the boat!” How about her top 5 favorites list? Number one – being a mom. She also loves spending time with her family, traveling, boating, and getting together with friends. We also asked her to tell us about her favorite food and she responded, “does Reese’s count?” Hahaha… Yes they do, but you have to share them with your family and friends! Lastly we asked why she likes working for MCSD and Jocelyn tells us, “… it has allowed me to witness the amazing work and relationships between teachers, students, and all staff.”

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  • Employee Spotlight: Christina Gonzalez, Bookkeeper, Marathon Middle and High SchoolChristina plays a vital role in the school’s front office, so after crunching numbers all day, what hobbies does she enjoy to relax? She says, “exercising!” When we asked her about her list of favorite things, we had to smile and laugh… Number one on her list is “working!” Christina went on to share that she also loves relaxing with a good book, tending to her garden, meditation for grounding, and time with her kids – which can be loud and energetic. With so many delightful selections of foods and restaurants in the Keys, we asked her what her favorite is and she said, “Thai food.” Aroy Mak Mak (very, very delicious)! Lastly, we asked her what she likes most about working for Monroe County. Christina says, “I love working here, I love the camaraderie!”

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  • Employee SpotlightGeorgette is one of MCSD’s Lunch Super Heroes! One would imagine she loves to get out of the kitchen when not working, but when we asked her about her hobbies she said, “Cooking! And traveling.”  How about her list of favorite things? Georgette tells us that her top five favorite things are going to church and serving the Lord, spending time with her family, helping others, dancing, and dining out – well deserved! She shared with us that her favorite foods are sushi and good, hearty Soul food… mmm, mmm! Lastly, we asked Georgette why she likes working for MCSD and she responded, “I love working with kids and making sure they receive a healthy meal. I also love having the weekends and holidays off!”

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  • Employee Spotlight: Kerry MalcoskyKerry is a busy 6th grade science teacher who loves to spend time with her four-legged BFF, Lily! She tells us that her list of favorite things also includes traveling and exploring, spending time with her family, riding her bicycle around beautiful Key West, and she also loves to cook. We asked Kerry about her hobbies and she tells us that traveling is her passion. Since she likes to cook, we asked what her favorite food is… good ol’ fashioned “pizza!” Lastly, we asked Kerry to tell us what she likes about working for MCSD. She responded, “The wonderful people I get to work with.”

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    Employee spotlight Jessica CatonEmployee Spotlight: Jessica Caton, Teacher, Gerald Adams Elementary School.

    As an elementary school teacher, Jessica is kept busy! We asked her if she enjoys any hobbies after a hectic week and she tells us that she “loves baking sugar-free treats and sharing them!” Mmm… that sounds like a delicious hobby! So, if she loves good foods what’s her favorite? Good ol’ mozzarella sticks! What about some her top 5 favorite things? She says that she loves to spend time with her family; support and attend community events; she loves to listen to contemporary Christian music; watching sunsets (and the Keys is the best place for that); and lastly she tells us that she loves “all things math!” We asked Jessica what she likes about working for MCSD and she responded, “ I love working with amazing educators that go above and beyond for our students, and seeing how far our students can excel in life!”

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  • Employee Spotlight: Eddie Diaz

    Employee Spotlight, April 22, 2022: Eddie Diaz, Maintenance Technician

    Eddie has been a part of the MCSD family for over 2 decades! A true Keys guy, he loves boating, diving, fishing, and spending time with his family and friends. When we asked about his hobbies, Eddie told us about how he loves to work on his boats – especially high performing boats. Well he certainly keeps busy and active, so what is his favorite food that keeps his energy up? Steak and seafood… good ol’ surf n turf! With so many years’ of service, we asked why he likes working for MCSD. Eddie says, “… each day brings a different task in maintaining the schools and facilities.”

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  • Spotlight: Kelly QuallsSpotlight April 8 2022: Kelly Qualls, Data Entry Registrar at Switlik School

    Kelly tells us her top five favorite things are: spending time with her children; traveling and exploring; chilling at the beach; relaxing with a great movie; and listening to good music.

    Her hobbies include a good bicycle ride and working in her garden. And, since those hobbies will work up an appetite, we asked her about her favorite foods.  Like a true Keys girl she loves fresh seafood and fruit, but she says that a good steak goes down well too!

    Finally, we asked Kelly why she likes her job, working for the Monroe County School District. She said, “I have the privilege of meeting all the new students and families from around the world.. I enjoy seeing and chatting with the students on our campus on a daily basis.”

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  • Tiffany Roan, Employee SpotlightSpotlight, March 25, 2022: Tiffany Roan, Reading Interventionist – Sugarloaf School

    We asked Tiffany about her top 5 favorite things and she tells us: her family and her dog, Tyko; "all things Harry Potter"; traveling; visiting EPCOT at Disney World; and a relaxing brunch in Key West! So she must have a favorite Key West food... "the Monte Cristo Sandwich at Azure!" How about hobbies? She tells us that she relaxes with reading, knitting, growing orchids, and like a true Keys gal - getting out of the boat! Lastly, we asked Tiffany what she likes about working for MCSD and she says, "Who wouldn't want to do the best job in the world, in the most beautiful place in the world!"


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  • Galleguillos is Employee SpotlightSpotlight, March 11, 2022:  VPK Daycare Teacher, Poinciana Elementary School: Gladys Galleguillos

    After running after little ones at work all day, Gladys enjoys relaxing with her hobbies of writing and reading her Bible. Some of her other favorite ways to relax is spending time outdoors with nature, also spending time with her family and going to church, she loves to stay active through walking and riding her bicycle, and getting creative through art and music. Gladys supports her healthy lifestyle with her favorite foods - a delicious tuna salad, fresh fruit, and a nice cold glass of milk. We asked Gladys what she likes about working for MCSD, and she told us, "I love working with the children, and I am very happy to work with such a great staff that treat me like family."

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  • February 25th Employee Spotlight: Lou GillespieSpotlight, February 25th: Self-Contained Exceptional Student Education (ESE) Teacher at Sugarloaf School

    How does Lou, a.k.a "Ms. G", let down after a hectic week in the classroom? With her top five favorites: her boys (Lake & Xander), adventures in nature, listening to music, roller skating, and yoga. What about hobbies? She tells us that she enjoys a variety of hobbies - boxing, paddle boarding, personal training, and writing poetry and children's books! She sure stays healthy and active, so what is Lou's favorite food? She tells us that she loves Thai food! Lastly, we asked her what she likes about working for MCSD. "I love having the opportunity to work with such a diverse group of students and staff. I truly believe that we are "one human family", and I enjoy seeing that unity being manifested in my classroom and school community."
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  • District Names Employees of the year for 2021-2022

    Executive Director of Operations and Planning Pat Lefere and Superintendent Theresa Axford recognize Patricia Nicholas as the District Support Related Employee of the Year.

    School Related Employee of the Year: Patti Nicholas

    Administrative Aide to Superintendent

    The Monroe County School District is pleased to announce the 2021-2022 District School Related Employee of the Year is Patricia Nicholas, the Administrative Aide to the Superintendent.  Nicholas has worked for the district for over 25 years and handles a myriad of duties in her role as Administrative Assistant, always with a smile and a positive attitude.  In addition to serving the executive offices, she participates in the Sunshine Club, organizes Muffins with the Superintendent, handles the office at City Hall and does the little things that make a big difference.

    Superintendent Theresa Axford shared her thoughts on Nicholas’ recognition, “Patti treats everyone she meets like they are special.  I don’t think there is ever a time when she doesn’t go out of her way to satisfy a person’s needs no matter what they might be.  She has a ready smile and a laugh that’s contagious.  Patti’s an expert at calming the waters when someone is upset and with supporting them with the right answers and help.  She is master at scheduling and keeps everyone in the Superintendent’s office on the right page.  We would be lost without her.  She truly deserves this honor.

    2021-2022 School Related Employees of the Year:

    School Related Employees of the Year were named in several categories, each excelling in their positions while going above and beyond to support the district.  Please congratulate the following outstanding individuals:

    Clerical/Office Group

    Patti Nicholas, Administrative Aide to Superintendent – District Administration

    Food Services Group

    Lisa Gideon – Cook, Coral Shores High School      

    Information Technology (IT) Group

    Linda Signorelli – Technician, Stanley Switlik School  

    Maintenance Group

    Marco Chavez – HVAC Mechanic, Lower Keys Maintenance

    Teacher Support Group

    Herbert James – Permanent Substitute Teacher/Coach, Coral Shores High School               

    Transportation Group

    Angie Davis – Area Coordinator, Upper Keys Transportation

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  • Susan Bazin, Employee SpotlightFebruary 11, 2022 Spotlight, February 11th, 2022: SUSAN BAZIN, Band Director and Music Teacher – Key Largo School

    Susan's list of favorite things includes: sharing her musical talents with students and vice-versa. She says, "Teaching music also means teaching responsibility, manners, leadership, confidence, and camaraderie... Lifelong skills we all need to be successful." She also loves playing flute in the orchestra, Sunday mornings on the boat watching the sunrise, also her husband and cat (Grrtroode). She stays active with great hobbies such as kayaking, biking and camping. How about a favorite food? "Pickles", which is also her clown name! Lastly we asked Susan why she likes working for MCSD and she says, "My job gives me the opportunity to reach a lot of students and inspire them to accomplish great things... Allowing me to inspire children in the first stages of their musical discovery is a remarkable privilege."



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    January 28th, 2022 Spotlight: AYESHA OSBORNE, Executive Secretary – Alternative Education

    Ayesha tells us that her number one favorite thing is being involved in her children's activities. She also enjoys spending time relaxing with family. One of her hobbies includes traveling - she says that she really loves fun girls' trip off the rock! We asked Ayesha what she likes about working for MCSD, and she says she loves to "make a positive impact on the daily lives of our students."

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  • Zachary Owens, Teacher of the YearZachary Owens is District Teacher of the Year for 2022

    Zachary Owens of Coral Shores High School has been named as the Monroe County School District Teacher of the Year.  Mr. Owens teaches various math classes, is the coach for the Academic Challenge Team, girls JV soccer and tennis team, a club sponsor for National Honor Society and Chess Club and holds after school tutoring sessions.  When he’s not in the classroom or on a playing field, he may be in the local waters as he is a certified master scuba diver trainer.   

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  • December 31, 2021 Employee Spotlight: David Fappiano

    David Fappiano, Employee Spotlight

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  • December 17, 2021 Employee Spotlight: Amy Rembisz,

    Amy Rembisz, Employee Spotlight

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  • December 3, 2021 Employee Spotlight Tami Dannacker

    December 3, 2021 Employee Spotlight Tami Dannacker

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  • November 20, 2021 Employee Spotlight: Maria Martinez

    November 20, 2021 Employee Spotlight: Maria Martinez

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  • November 5, 2021 Employee Spotlight: Andrew Thiery

    November 5, 2021 Employee Spotlight: Andrew Thiery

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  • October 22, 2021 Employee Spotlight Yaumara Lama

    October 22, 2021 Employee Spotlight Yaumara Lama

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  • Principal and Asst Principal of the year, 20212021 Principal and Assistant Principal of the Year

    Denise Santiago gracefully spearheads initiatives at Horace O’Bryant School to promote a climate of positivity for all stakeholders in one of the toughest years for education. Her colleagues state she is like an educational ninja, swatting problems with solutions every day and has advice, an answer, or a solution to any problem that may arise. With pep in her step, she maintains a forward-thinking approach to utilizing data and focusing on achievement that creates an environment for continuous learning and reaching high goals. Mrs. Santiago embraces her role as the Buccaneer fearless leader. Her dedication to HOB spans nearly a lifetime and her tenacity, perseverance and deep connection to the school community are some of her greatest attributes.
    Nicole Smith is the Assistant Principal of the Year. Her colleagues state she goes above and beyond to provide strong leadership, offer solutions and be a resource to students and staff. She has developed a very positive and visible rapport with the kids, is firm when needed and possesses a soft and compassionate heart. In this challenging year, she has risen to the occasion to help the school year run successfully.
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  • Orcutt 2021 award winner


    The Monroe County School District Counselor of the Year is Mrs. Tammy Orcutt from Gerald Adams Elementary.  Her colleagues refer to Tammy as a dynamic team player who approaches every task with a smile and a ton of energy.  Her door is always open to support staff and students alike. During this time, she has provided social-emotional learning lessons, read-aloud and taught preventive strategies and coping skills to students as they navigated this unprecedented time in their lives.  She sends inspirational messages weekly to the staff and students and praises a job well done.  This is our time to praise Tammy for her unconditional love for the staff and students at Gerald Adams, she is a true gem that makes a difference every day.

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  • Doug Pryor 2021 award winner


    Doug Pryor has been selected as the Monroe County School District Manager of the Year for his integrity, professionalism and attention to details.  As Facilities Planner he has a huge responsibility to manage cost, timelines, vendors, contracts, stakeholder’s needs and wants.  He works across departments, with state regulators and outside contractors to build trusted and effective lines of communication.  He has a commitment to look for collaborative solutions and utilizes his leadership skills to bring people together to problem solve.  With Mr. Pryor at the helm, the district has completed many projects on budget and on time including Switlik School Renovation, the Maintenance and Transportations facility, Key West High School Backyard, Upper Keys Annex, Key Largo School Gym renovation and Transportation Internal Services Facility on Stock Island. He is the consummate professional and his leadership and management of these critical and highly visible projects has been flawless.  Mr. Pryor is a tremendous asset to this school district and our community and is very deserving of the recognition provided by this prestigious award.

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