Rymfire Elementary School Teacher of the Year: Judy White
White's ESE training and experience helps her impact all students in her general education classes.
| 6:00 a.m. January 2, 2023
Palm Coast Observer
Rymfire Elementary School Teacher of the Year Judy White was hired in 2006 as an Exceptional Student Education inclusion teacher. That position helped change her career path.
White moved to Palm Coast with her husband and their two children in 2005. The following year, when Rymfire Elementary School opened, Principal Paula St. Francis hired White to be a first- to fourth-grade ESE inclusion teacher. After two years, she moved to a general education classroom.
Previously, White had taught self-contained specific learning disabilities classes and varying exceptionalities classes in Pinellas County.
“It was a great experience for me to be an inclusion teacher and have the opportunity to work with so many amazing general education teachers,” she wrote in her Teacher of the Year application. “This experience motivated me to be a general education teacher who serviced ESE students.”
White taught second grade for seven years at Rymfire and is now in her seventh year teaching third grade.
Because she is a certified ESE teacher and an English-Language Learner Endorsed teacher, she often has individualized education program students and 504-plan students in her classroom.
“I am proud to say that I am a general education teacher who works purposefully to make sure I am inspiring, motivating and educating every student in my room to be the best they can be.”
— JUDY WHITE
“I am proud to say that I am a general education teacher who works purposefully to make sure I am inspiring, motivating, and educating every student in my room to be the best they can be,” she wrote.
In the 2021-22 school year, 94% of her students met typical growth on the iReady English Language Arts diagnostic assessment which was 19 percentage points above the district average for third grade teachers.
All of her ELL students and students classified with disabilities met typical growth in English Language Arts, Rymfire Principal Travis Lee wrote in his Teacher of the Year recommendation for White.
“This is a testament to her ability to impact all subgroups of students positively,” Lee wrote.
Rymfire Assistant Principal Jamie Pedro wrote that White “welcomes students at the door and continues building their capacity in her crafted morning meetings, a quick 10-minute relationship building activity where students share how they feel and/or resolve peer conflicts.”
“Mrs. White truly personifies what an exceptional teacher should be on any campus in our school, district and state.”
— TRAVIS LEE, Rymfire Elementary School principal
White has made countless contributions to Rymfire Elementary and to the school district, Lee wrote. She is a 2022 mentor teacher, helping new teachers transition into the school. She also taught other teachers on her grade level how to use Schoology to provide questions read individually to each child at their own pace.
She has led professional learning for the school’s faculty, integrating technology into instruction. And she has created videos for the district’s technology department to use in their teacher training.
She has also been a Future Problem Solvers coach for the past eight years. Her Community Problem Solvers groups have provided books and learning games for teachers and students. Her 2015-2016 Community Problem Solvers group, “A Playground for Everyone,” helped get a sidewalk paved along the playgrounds, allowing wheelchairs access to the playground areas for the first time.
Her 2021-2022 group, Team BEST (Butterfly Environmental Sustainability Team) created a butterfly garden at the school, providing milkweed, which is necessary for butterflies' survival. The team “learned the butterfly population has decreased by 80% in the past 20 years, so they passed out milkweed seeds to the Rymfire community,” White wrote.
Team BEST won state competition and finished second in international competition.
“Mrs. White truly personifies what an exceptional teacher should be on any campus in our school, district and state,” Lee wrote.
“During my career at Rymfire,” White wrote, “I have been blessed to work with some of the most incredible students, educators, coaches and administrators. I am lucky to have had the chance to learn from all of them.”