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Evening of Excellence honors educators
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The 2013 Pinellas County Educator of the Year Joanne Wright shows off her award after the Feb. 25 Evening of Excellence at Ruth Eckerd Hall.
CLEARWATER – Joanne Wright, a teacher at Safety Harbor Middle School, was named the 2013 Outstanding Educator Feb. 25 at the Evening of Excellence at Ruth Eckerd Hall.

The Pinellas Education Foundation and Pinellas County Schools presented the event.

Wright traveled to school via Ambassador Limousine Tuesday morning. As part of her award, she will receive a $2,000 scholarship from NOVA University, an iPad Mini from American income Life and a $2,000 cash prize from the Pinellas Education Foundation among other gifts donated from business partners.

The Outstanding Educator People’s Choice/Fan Favorite Award also went to Joanne Wright. Students, parents and the community selected their fan favorite on the foundation’s website. As a reward, she will be hosted by the Tampa Bay Rays in a private suite at an upcoming home game, receive a customized Rays jersey, and throw out the first pitch. In addition, she will receive $500 from the Pinellas Education Foundation.                   

All finalists will be hosted in a suite by the Tampa Bay Lightning for an upcoming hockey game, receive a subscription to the Tampa Bay Times and a one-night stay at the TradeWinds in St. Pete Beach. In addition, all finalists receive a $1,000 cash prize from the Pinellas Education Foundation and a $1,000 scholarship from NOVA University.

The business partners of the year also were honored during the evening. The winners are Our Savior Lutheran Church and School, Ford PAS and Horace Mann Insurance.

Carol Martin was inducted into the Hall of Honor. Martin has been a strong proponent of education and giving back to the community. In addition to the programs of the Pinellas Education Foundation, Martin has supported many organizations, such as the Boys and Girls Club, the Ryan Wells Foundation, Shriners, the Citizen’s Alliance for Progress of Tarpon Springs, the Shepard Center of Tarpon Springs, the Combat Wounded Veteran Challenge, Tarpon Springs High School and Metropolitan Ministries.

The winner of the Superintendent’s Unsung Hero Award was Paul Norcross, who is the husband of Barbara Norcross of Lake St. George Elementary in Palm Harbor.

The annual event pays tribute to the Best Educators and the Best Business Partners who create ever-expanding opportunities for Pinellas County’s children.

Title sponsors include Bright House Networks, Ditek and Humana. Additional details and profile pages of each finalist may be found at www.pinellaseducation.org.
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