Leena Hall-Young named 2020 Florida Blue Duval County Teacher of the Year

Press release below courtesy of Jacksonville Public Education Fund.

Jan. 17, 2020 — Congratulations to Leena Hall-Young who was named the 2020 Florida Blue Duval County Teacher of the Year tonight at the 29th Annual EDDY Awards, hosted by the Jacksonville Public Education Fund (JPEF).

Hall-Young, a 10th-grade language arts teacher at Raines High School, was selected through a community-led process from 182 teachers nominated by public schools in Duval County.

Hall-Young helped her students improve their reading proficiency by 29 percent. She serves as department chair, helping to create professional learning communities among the teachers at Raines, and supporting first-year teachers. She has also participated in Duval County’s Innovative Educator Program.

“My sole purpose is to be a facilitator in releasing the human potential in every child,” said Hall-Young.

Hall-Young, strongly feels that leadership is demonstrated through the interaction between instructor and student.

“Students deserve a safe environment and a teacher must begin building a positive relationship with his or her students on a regular basis with emphasis on trust and respect,” said Hall-Young.

Hall-Young demonstrates this method through her leadership by establishing a rapport in a climate of courtesy and respect.

“By feeling safe in my classroom this breaks down the walls of uncertainty and helps them to believe in themselves. All students CAN and WILL learn,” said Hall-Young.

Through her success, the students at Raines High School that come in contact with her now have a strong foothold that will propel them into competitive learning and will allow them a chance to rise and surpass their future competitors in the workforce and secondary education career paths.

“Ms. Hall-Young is a vibrant and superbly-talented educator who has dedicated her professional career to unleashing the full potential in every student in her classroom,” said Superintendent Dr. Diana Greene. “Not only has she increased her students’ reading proficiency by double digits as a tenth-grade language arts teacher, but she has also fostered a dynamic professional learning environment for her fellow educators at Raines High School. We are so blessed to have phenomenal educators like Ms. Hall-Young serving our students, and I join the community in celebrating her as our 2020 Florida Blue Teacher of the Year.”

“Mrs. Hall-Young embodies the excellence and dedication of Duval County’s most amazing educators,” said JPEF President, Rachael Tutwiler Fortune. “Her hard work and commitment to her students in the classroom and as a teacher leader in our school district is commendable. I hope all of Jacksonville will join me in congratulating and thanking Mrs. Hall-Young for helping to ensure a bright future for our students and our city,” said JPEF President, Rachael Tutwiler Fortune.

Hall was among five outstanding finalists for Teacher of the Year honored and celebrated during the EDDY Awards. The finalists  include:

  • Leslie White/Leadership Academies at Eugene Butler Middle School
  • Michael Ham/Mathew Gilbert Middle School
  • Carol Thomas/Dinsmore Elementary
  • Leena Hall/Raines High School
  • Renee McNulty/Jean Ribault High School

As the 2020 Florida Blue Duval County Teacher of the Year, Hall-Young will go on to compete for the statewide title.

In addition to the headlining award, the EDDY Awards also recognized 10 teachers in the Florida Blue Spotlight: Alexis Carrington from Arlington Middle School, Khalifa Dieye at Westside High School, Garold Harris at Frank H. Peterson High School, Lynn Linton from Greenland Pines Elementary, Ashley Rogan at River City Science Academy Innovation, Latonya Smith From Rutledge H. Pearson Elementary, Marilyn Smith. from R. L. Brown Gifted and Talented Academy, Jessica Sotomayor at Alfred I. Dupont Middle School, George Teuber from Andrew Jackson High School Of Advanced Technology; and Lindsay Volk From John Stockton Elementary.

The Florida Blue Spotlight teachers, who were selected for demonstrating excellence in the classroom, will receive $500 classroom grants.

The EDDY Awards Teacher of the Year program is an initiative of JPEF to celebrate, elevate and empower Duval County teachers. JPEF’s partnership with Deutsche Bank for the annual EDDYs experience includes, a kick-off welcome orientation, Jacksonville Jaguars game day experience, rigorous professional development programming and networking for all school-level teachers of the year throughout the entire year.

In addition to a cash prize and a classroom grant provided by READUSA all will join the JPEF Board of Directors as an ex-officio member for the next year, as is tradition with every Florida Blue Duval County Teacher of the Year.  Hall-Young and the other four finalists will also participate in a 2-week summer fellowship with JPEF this summer 2020 to develop their leadership skills and connect them with leading educators and decision makers. JPEF is thankful to all the Finalist Sponsors and all supporters of the EDDYs: Deutsche Bank, The Rotary Clubs of Jacksonville, VyStar Credit Union, Wells Fargo, and Jenkins Auto Group.  Our Semi-Finalist Sponsors – Publix Charities, Chartwells and Leonards. Media Sponsor – Channel 4, The Local Station, School Sponsors – Community First Credit Union, ABM Services, ESS, Hyatt Regency, PRI Productions, The Jacksonville Jaguars Foundation, Wicked Barley, Axalta, and READ USA. And to all of the Table Sponsors who made the EDDY Awards possible, we are gateful for their investment In our teachers.

Contact Warren Buck, Director of Teacher Leadership, at (404) 660-7394 or Warren@jaxpef.org for more information or additional photos and video.

About the Jacksonville Public Education Fund

The Jacksonville Public Education Fund is an independent nonprofit organization that works to close the opportunity gap for Duval County students by developing great leaders in and around our public schools – including principals, teachers and parents. For more information, visit www.jaxpef.org or call (904) 356-7757.