PCPS Announces District 1 Finalists for Teacher and School-Related Employee of the Year
Posted on 09/08/2023
Headshot photo of District 1 finalists, TOY - Christina Wainwright and SRE - Teri Whitehead-Richardson

PCPS award season has begun!

Earlier today, the PCPS surprise patrol visited two schools to announce our District 1 finalists for the 2023-24 Polk County Teacher and School-Related Employee of the Year. Congratulations to:

– Christina Wainwright, Teacher of the Year finalist, reading coach, Medulla Elementary

– Teri Whitehead-Richardson, School-Related Employee of the Year finalist, guidance secretary, Lakeland High

Brief profiles of these two finalists can be found below.

In the coming weeks PCPS will recognize finalists from all seven districts, and the overall winners will be announced at the Inspire Awards on Nov. 9 at the RP Funding Center in Lakeland. The Polk Education Foundation and PCPS’ Department of Public Relations & Strategic Partnerships collaborate to present this annual event.

During the event, finalists will be recognized with video tributes and receive sponsored gifts. The Teacher of the Year and School-Related Employee of the Year will receive a cash prize generously donated by Platinum sponsor MIDFLORIDA Credit Union.

Finalist profiles:

Christina Wainwright, Medulla Elementary, TOY

As a reading coach, Christina Wainwright is an integral member of the team at Medulla Elementary. She works closely with teachers to make sure that students are seeing meaningful progress in school. Administrators love her energy, and the way she comes up with fun activities to keep students and staff engaged.

Furthermore, Wainwright’s positive attitude seems to be infectious. Students brighten up and smile when she’s around, and colleagues appreciate her knowledge, patience and understanding. She also has a knack for connecting with parents, and has built relationships with community partners that result in helpful donations for the school. To sum it all up, her presence brings joy to the Medulla campus.

Christina Wainwright is surprised by her school, Medulla Elementary.

Christina Wainwright poses for a picture with Medulla Elementary staff and district staff with a banner

Teri Whitehead-Richardson, Lakeland High, SRE

Teri Whitehead-Richardson plays a big role keeping her school organized and running smoothly. But beyond administrative tasks, she has a direct impact on the lives of Lakeland High students. Years ago she started keeping snacks in her desk drawer for hungry students. Over time, it grew into a full-fledged supply closet that provides clothing and other items for students in need.

Whitehead-Richardson takes special pride in assisting students who are experiencing homelessness. She also works with student aides in the guidance office, helping to teach them valuable workplace and social skills before they graduate. Administrators say she contributes to the welcoming and supportive environment at LHS, and she is considered an essential member of the team.

Teri Whitehead-Richardson holding flowers while emotional at the surprise from her students and coworkers.

Teri Whitehead-Richardson poses for a picture with Lakeland High staff and district staff with a banner

Category: For Schools,News