Photo of Duval Teacher of the Year, Jim Schmitt, posing in classroom with students after learning he was a Florida Teacher of the Year finalist

Video – Mandarin High educator named Florida Teacher of the Year finalist

Video courtesy of the Jacksonville Public Education Fund. Florida K-12 Chancellor Jacob Oliva and Duval Superintendent Dr. Diana Greene made surprise announcement Tuesday morning in Jim Schmitt’s classroom to announce he was a Florida Teacher of the Year finalist.

May 4, 2021 — Duval County’s 2021 VyStar Teacher of the Year – Mandarin High School Teacher Jim Schmitt – received a surprise visit from Florida K-12 Chancellor Jacob Oliva who announced that Schmitt was chosen as one of five finalists for the 2022 Florida Teacher of Year.

Chancellor Oliva was joined by Duval School Board Member Lori Hershey, Superintendent Dr. Diana Greene, Florida Deputy Chancellor for Educator Quality Dr. Paul Burns, and State  Board of Education Member Joe York in making the announcement.

Mr. Schmitt’s wife, Deborah Schmitt, who is also a Mandarin High School teachers, was able to join in on the surprise.

Earlier this year, Schmitt was selected from five outstanding semi-finalists as Duval’s 2021 VyStar Winner of the Year.

“My congratulations to James Schmitt as one of five 2022 Florida Teacher of the Year state finalists,” said Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran.  “James’ commitment to education doesn’t stop at the classroom; he also effortlessly works with his fellow educators across the district to provide a professional learning community. His work to continually push his students to become self-learners shows a real dedication to education and we are proud to have Mr. Schmitt in our state’s education system.”

“What is most impactful about Mr. Schmitt’s classroom is the use of movement, engagement strategies and thought-provoking discussion to get all students simultaneously out of their seats and learning,” said Dr. Greene.

“Mr. Schmitt’s classroom is a space of true learning and engagement; music plays, debates ensue, student voice is encouraged, and history is not only taught, but experienced,” said Sara Bravo, Principal of Mandarin High School.

The 2022 Florida Teacher of the Year will be named on July 22 in Orlando. More information is available on the Florida Department of Education website.

Watch video above to view Chancellor Oliva making the surprise announcement to Schmitt in his classroom Tuesday morning.