PCPS Announces District 7 Finalists for Teacher and School-Related Employee of the Year
Posted on 09/19/2023
Headshot photo of District 4 finalists, TOY - Elizabeth Ashmore and SRE - Laura Kovachy

Lucky number seven! Congratulations to our District 7 finalists for the 2023-24 Polk County Teacher and School-Related Employee of the Year:

– Elizabeth Ashmore, Teacher of the Year finalist, third-grade teacher, Padgett Elementary

– Laura Kovachy, School-Related Employee of the Year finalist, discipline secretary and substitute coordinator, Lake Gibson Middle

Brief profiles of these two finalists can be found below.

PCPS is recognizing 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:

Elizabeth Ashmore, Padgett Elementary, TOY

Elizabeth Ashmore used to count her degrees and certifications among her most significant accomplishments. But as a PCPS educator, she takes even more pride in how she uses that knowledge to benefit her students and school. Ashmore has deep connections to Padgett Elementary: Her mother and sister both served there as teachers. It’s no surprise that she contributes so much to the school.

Ashmore serves as a teacher ambassador, providing support and mentorship to new educators at Padgett. In addition, administrators say she takes special care to consider the unique needs of each student, and celebrate their progress. About eight years ago she created a program called Level Up that helps encourage positive behavior, and ease testing pressure. Ashmore also helps organize parent nights and other events at Padgett. When it comes to doing the little things that make a big difference, that’s where she excels.

Elizabeth Ashmore being surprised with confetti

Group photo with Elizabeth Ashmore along with school staff, district staff and representatives

Laura Kovachy, Lake Gibson Middle, SRE

Laura Kovachy feels at home swimming with the Sharks at Lake Gibson Middle. Working as the secretary in the discipline office, she enjoys making connections with students, helping them with problems, and seeing them thrive in school. She has a gift for communicating with parents and assisting them when discipline issues occur.

Kovachy also partnered with a social worker at LGMS to establish a dedicated space with clothing and other items for students in need. In addition, she plays an essential role at the school by coordinating with substitute teachers for classes that need coverage. Kovachy said she regularly seeks out opportunities to perform community outreach, and she is a devoted leader for her church’s youth group. LGMS is fortunate to have her.

Laura Kovachy being suprised students and staff

Group photo of Laura Kovachy with school staff, district staff and representatives

Category: For Schools,News