Kelly Ambrose grew up helping to decorate her mother's classrooms over the summer.
She loved helping her mother with her students along the way as well. It's due to that influence in her life that she decided to pursue a career in education.
"I knew from an early age that I wanted to be a teacher and make a difference in the lives of my students," Ambrose said.
The Ormond Beach Middle School Teacher of the Year is in her 24th year of teaching, and currently teaches sixth grade science. She has taught at both elementary and middle school grade levels in Georgia, Virginia and Florida, but said teaching middle school is her "absolute favorite."
Ambrose's favorite things about teaching are seeing her students love science, get excited about her class and learn that hard work really does pay off.
"I love building relationships with my students and having them come back to visit and talk is a very special part of being a teacher," she said. "I believe in these kids with all my heart, and hope to teach them to believe in themselves. If they do that and stay positive and kind, great things are bound to happen."
Education is a field that runs deep in both sides of Ambrose's family. Her sister is also a teacher, and Ambrose is married to a college professor whose mother and sister are teachers as well.
When not teaching, Ambrose loves spending time with her family and supporting her daughters in their equestrian and theatre passions. She is an honors graduate from Birmingham-Southern College where she was an All-American scholarship tennis player. Ambrose is also an active runner who just completed her first half-marathon and triathlon.
"Sports has always been a huge part of my life and has taught me valuable lessons of hard work, determination and to never give up," Ambrose said. "I hope my students see these traits in my teaching."