A Seabreeze teacher was also recognized.
Jason Kester, culinary arts teacher at Mainland High School, was named Volusia County Schools' Teacher of the Year for 2018 at the awards banquet at Hilton Daytona Beach Oceanfront Resort on Jan. 13.
Kester earned his bachelor’s degree from Purdue University and began at Mainland High in 2008. He is the founder and director of the Academy of Hospitality and Culinary Arts at Mainland. In addition, he is a teacher mentor for two first-year faculty members, serves as a teacher leader with a team of nine other teachers and is a program assistant for the high school culinary program at the county level.
Three teachers were named recipients of an award that represents the school district’s three guiding principles.
Lynne Seeber, AVID coordinator and elective teacher at Seabreeze High, won for the guiding principle of Mutual Respect and Positive Relationships with all Stakeholders. Every Friday, she holds Seeber’s Circle where students share about their lives and greet one another with “hugs, handshakes and high fives.” When her students walk into her classroom, they walk into her heart and they are loved, according to a press release from Nancy Wait, school spokeswoman.
Heather Williams, academic coach at Cypress Creek Elementary won for the guiding principle dedication to Increased Student Achievement and Melanie Jenkins, honors biology and marine science teacher at Deltona High, won for the guiding principle of commitment to Finding Solutions to Problems.
Prior to becoming a teacher, Kester worked as a restaurant operator and he considers the two jobs very similar, Wait said. He believes building relationships with students, families, teachers and administrators is a priority and stated in his Teacher of the Year application that “one positive, professional, adult relationship can make all the difference in a student’s future.”
Kester believes it is important to remember that failure is a necessary part of the learning process and students shouldn’t be punished for failure that results in learning, Wait said. He states, “In order to grow, one needs to be challenged.”
Described as one who leads by example with courage, integrity and energy, Kester succeeds Robin Diedrichs, a fourth grade teacher from Citrus Grove Elementary School, who was Volusia County's 2017 Teacher of the Year.