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Sumter County School Related Employees of the Year 2021

2680 West County Road 476
Bushnell, Florida  33513

Press Release


From:  Lisa Whitman, Sr. Director, H.R.


Subject:  Sumter County School Related Employees of the Year 2021


Sumter’s School Related Employee of the Year, Ms. Kristi Brown (Lake Panasoffkee Elementary School) and the other finalists, Mr. Thomas Kline (Wildwood Elementary School), and Ms. Juventina Ochoa (Sumter PREP Academy), were recognized recently by the Sumter County School Board at an awards presentation ceremony.  Individual well-wishes were given by Superintendent Rick Shirley and by each school board member.  "We are so honored to have such quality staff within our school district. They don't just do their jobs well, they also perform their duties with great care and compassion for our students,” said Superintendent Richard A. Shirley. 


The Superintendent made a personal visit to each school to present a certificate of recognition to all of the nominees.  Congratulations go to the following Sumter District nominees:


Joseph Powers – Webster Elementary School

Shannon Woodard – South Sumter High School

Becky Knight – South Sumter Middle School

Kathy Morrot – Wildwood Middle High School

Sonya Mitchell – Bushnell Elementary School

Crystal Stewart – District Office/SPC

Joe Cimino – Transportation

Francisco Maldonado - Facilities


The process for selecting the School Related Employee of the Year begins at the school or site level where nominees are selected by their peers. The school or site winners are then asked to submit a portfolio that includes a history of trainings, recognitions, contributions to their school and community, and letters of recommendation. The portfolios are reviewed by a committee of district administrators and three finalists are chosen. 


Several weeks later, the three finalists were interviewed by a committee consisting of business and community leaders, not employed by the Sumter County School District.  From these interview sessions, a district winner was chosen. This year, Ms. Kristi Brown of Lake Panasoffkee Elementary School, received this prestigious honor.  Ms. Brown will now move into the next phase of the program- the state competition.


The Florida School-Related Employee of the Year Program recognizes outstanding education support personnel for their contributions to their schools and communities. The program honors one state representative and four finalists who have demonstrated exceptional skill and dedication in the performance of their jobs, thereby earning them the respect and admiration of students, teachers, administrators and parents.        


Sumter District Schools are proud to recognize these individuals because they have made it a priority to positively impact the lives of students in Sumter County and they have achieved the respect and admiration of their peers and co-workers. Congratulations to each honoree! 


top three


Left to Right:

Juventina Ochoa, Kristi Brown (winner), Thomas Kline