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Evening of Excellence honors the best
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ST. PETERSBURG – The 2014 Outstanding Educator of the Year and Business Partners of the Year were all announced at the Evening of Excellence at Mahaffey Theater Feb. 18.

Presented by the Pinellas Education Foundation and Pinellas County Schools, the event also featured entertainment, the induction of Robert McIntyre into the Hall of Honor and a special dessert reception celebrating the best in education.

The winner for the 2014 Outstanding Educator is Kevin Ford from Tarpon Springs High School.

Ford, a band director, is credited with envisioning and founding the nationally recognized Leadership Conservatory for the Arts at Tarpon Springs High School, which integrates curriculum in academics, instrumental music, technology, and leadership skills. A former Outstanding Educator of the Year finalist, Ford was the Tarpon Springs Community Teacher of the Year in

1996 and 1997 and was the Tarpon Springs Teacher of the Year in 1997. He was an honorary director for the 2005 and 2008 Bands of America Tournament of Roses Honor Band. This year, his marching band performed at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City.

“One needs only to spend time in the classroom with Kevin Ford to understand that the awards and recognitions are the result of extraordinary teaching,” said Jeanne Reynolds in a press release. Reynolds, a performing arts specialist, nominated Ford for the honor.

The city of Tarpon Springs dedicated a day in Ford’s honor for his contributions to the school and the youth of Tarpon Springs. A 20-year veteran of the district, Ford holds a bachelor’s degree in music education, and is a member of the Music Educators National Conference, the Florida Bandmasters Association and Phi Kappa Psi Honor Society.

The Outstanding Educator People’s Choice/Fan Favorite Award – an award category voted on by students, parents and the community who selected their fan favorite on the foundation website – is Stephanie Martanovic from Safety Harbor Middle School.

The Business Partners of the Year also were announced and honored during the evening. Winners for the Business Partner of the Year are:

• Elementary: Nielsen

• Secondary: Franklin Templeton

• District: Kiwanis Club of St. Petersburg

Robert McIntyre was inducted into the Hall of Honor.

McIntyre has been a strong proponent of education and giving back to the community. He is a past chairman of the Pinellas Education Foundation and during his service as a board member, McIntyre and his company, Ditek, have been involved multiple foundation initiatives and programs. He has sponsored the foundation’s “Yes I Can,” PRIDE Awards, Evening of Excellence, Ties and Tennis Shoes Gala and 5K and many others. In addition to the programs of the foundation, McIntyre has generously supported many organizations such as the Gold Shield

Foundation, which raises funds in order to guarantee education for the children and spouses of police and fire fighters, killed in the line of duty. He has also sponsored little league baseball for the past 25 years.

Title sponsors for the celebration are Ditek and Humana. The Tampa Bay Rays are the sponsors for the Outstanding Educator People’s Choice/Fan Favorite Award.
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