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By LISA STATHAM POSTERARO
Sadie Tillis Elementary School is in Duval County. Williston High School graduate (Class of 1987) Pamela White Penny has taught there for 10 years. Now she has been named Teacher of the Year for 2011-12 by her peers. Penny is the daughter of Sammie and Ruthena (Edwards) White, long-time employees of the School Board of Levy County and now retired. She is married to Larry Penny of Raleigh. They and their two sons, Jalen and Jared, attend Potter’s House Church in Jacksonville.
Upon receiving the news from principal Kimberly Dennis, Penny said, “I was ecstatic…very surprised…humbled…I was really shocked.” The 10+ year veteran teacher, who used her scholarship and student loans as well as her earnings from working at Winn-Dixie to attend college, graduated from Central Florida College, then the University of Florida in 1997 with a degree in elementary education.
Currently, Penny is peer mentoring a fellow 4th grade teacher as well as co-teaching with her. For the past four years, the School Board of Duval County has recognized Penny as one of the “top 25 percent of the district teachers” because of her students’ FCAT scores. “I do what I do to impact my kids’ lives and don’t look for accolades,” Penny said.