Lynne Stephenson knew she wanted to be a teacher early on in her life.
Lynne Stephenson wants students to be willing to fight for success and never lose sight of their goals.
"The mind is powerful," Stephenson said. "Therefore, when someone believes in you and gives you the confidence that you can accomplish what others say is impossible, your mind can overcome obstacles and accomplish 'impossible' task."
At times, she continued, test scores or state mandates can be discouraging. However, that's when perseverance becomes important.
"Endurance and grit to work through challenging task will get you where you want to be," she said.
Stephenson, a Spruce Creek High School alumna, graduated from the University of Central Florida with a bachelor's in elementary education, and later with a master's in educational leadership from Grand Canyon University in Arizona.
The Tomoka Elementary's Teacher of the Year is currently an academic coach. She has been teaching in Volusia County for eight years, six of which she spent as a classroom teacher. This is her second year at Tomoka.
Her path to becoming a teacher started with her mom, who taught for 27 years. They used to play "school" together. Later, as a high schooler, Stephenson joined a program called "Wee Hawks" that allowed students to teach early childhood education.
That, she said, solidified her interest in teaching.
"Ever since I was a child, I knew I wanted to be involved in work that makes a difference and impacts the world in a positive way," Stephenson said. "I feel that teaching is the best profession for that."
She said she feels honored to be named Tomoka's Teacher of the Year, and that she works with "incredible people every day who inspire me to be better."
Her favorite thing about being a teacher is the meaningful relationships she builds with students, their families and fellow educators.
"It is neat to see the gratification that comes when you have spent an abundant amount of time planning a lesson and the kids are fully engaged and excited about the content," Stephenson said. "Watching them grow throughout the school year and beyond is inspiring and satisfying."