Creekside High School educator Alicia “Ali” Pressel has been named INK’s (Investing in Kids) 2020-21 Teacher of the Year. A special recognition program was held Jan. 27.
During the event, St. Johns County Superintendent of Schools Tim Forson congratulated Pressel and all finalists. The ceremony was held at school district headquarters, 40 Orange St. in St. Augustine. A virtual production of the event ran online.
Pressel has been teaching at Creekside since 2008. She teaches four levels within the St. Johns County Career Academies program, the Academy of Environmental Sciences and Advanced Placement Environmental Science.
She sponsors the Environmental Club and the Geospatial Mapping Club at Creekside and works with community business partners to bring grant opportunities, internships and job shadow experiences to her students to promote career readiness.
She is a regular speaker on project-based learning and STEM initiatives at national conferences. In addition to serving on the Teacher Advisory Council with the National Geographic Society, Pressel was recently named a 2020 National Geographic Emerging Explorer for her work integrating mapping software and “place-based learning” within the environmental science career academy program at Creekside.
Pressel resides in Jacksonville.
“I am honored and humbled to receive such an amazing distinction. We have an exceptional group of educators in St. Johns County and it is a privilege to collaborate with them each day,” said Pressel. “The school year has been challenging in many ways. Yet, it has provided us with a unique opportunity to reflect on our teaching practices and think about our relationships with our students. And it reminds us that what matters most is to help students truly engage in their own learning experiences.”
Pressel won a new vehicle from Beaver Toyota St. Augustine, a laptop computer from Staples in St. Augustine and more. She will have the opportunity to apply for the overall Florida Teacher of the Year program.
Finalists included R.J. Murray Middle School sixth-grade science teacher Allison Birbal and Durbin Creek Elementary School library media specialist Andrea M. O'Brien.
In addition, Valley Ridge Academy educator Lauren Woods was named Rookie Teacher of the Year.