Flagler Palm Coast High School Teacher of the Year Carrie Schell knows that each student has a story.
"Mrs. Schell consistently and tirelessly works to not only better her own craft but the craft of those around her."
— BOBBY BOSSARDET, principal, Flagler Palm Coast High School
"While some students immediately open up, others need time and trust to tell their stories," she wrote in her Teacher of the Year application. "With time, I listen to them, show kindness and grace, display discipline yet fairness, and compassion and encouragement so that each student begins to feel they are valued."
Schell, a biology teacher, has taught in Florida for 24 years and at FPC for eight; she also taught for 10 years at Florida Virtual School.
Local parent and 2021 Indian Trails Middle School Teacher of the Year Beth Blumengarten's three children have all taken Schell's International Baccalaureate biology class. Blumengarten believes Schell was instrumental in Blumengarten's eldest child's decision to enter the medical field.
"In all of her courses, she treats her students with the same high level of respect and caring. She offers unconditional support and stays after school with students on most days."
— JACKIE MCKEOWN, FPC IB diploma and AP coordinator
"Going beyond the classroom, Carrie takes building relationships to another level with her students," Blumengarten wrote in a letter of recommendation for Schell's Teacher of the Year application. "She is able to connect with them and treats each one as her own each and every day. Now that our oldest is in college, she has continued to support him. She will ask our family about him and when seeing him as he visits, she still connects to make sure he is moving academically in the right direction."
Schell teaches the rigorous IB program biology classes, but also works with students who need remedial instruction.
"She has taught remedial courses and summer school all the way up through Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate level courses," wrote Jackie McKeown, FPC's IB diploma and AP coordinator. "In all of her courses, she treats her students with the same high level of respect and caring. She offers unconditional support and stays after school with students on most days."
With a group of other teachers, Schell worked over the summers to build common unit remediation folders in Schoology. She also tutors biology students — from any classroom, not just hers — after school each week.
"This allows me an opportunity to reach more students than just those in my classroom," she wrote.
"Mrs. Schell is well known not just for her hands-on approach to teaching but for her willingness to meet students where they are and ensure they are meeting their full potential," FPC Principal Bobby Bossardet wrote in a letter supporting Schell's Teacher of the Year application. "She has been able to connect with students who struggle with academics as well as students who strive for academic excellence."
Schell has also mentored a new biology teacher each year after her first year at FPC, and hosted a college intern.
In 2020, as teachers struggled to shift to remote instruction, Schell taught a Zoom professional development class on strategies for remote teaching, sharing what she'd learned in her 10 years as a Florida Virtual School teacher, McKeown wrote.
"At a time when many teachers were feeling overwhelmed, Carrie provided straightforward, practical and useful information," McKeown wrote. "To this day, it was probably one of the most useful trainings I have attended.