East Lake High School Art Teacher Eileen Iacobucci was stunned as her name was announced from the stage at Mahaffey Theater on Wednesday evening during the annual Evening of Excellence hosted by the Pinellas Education Foundation. Iacobucci was one of 10 finalists and 131 teachers, all of whom had been named Teacher of the Year by their respective schools. Hundreds attended the event in person and online, rising from their velvet and virtual seats for a standing ovation as this year’s winner was announced by Pinellas County Schools Superintendent, Dr. Michael Grego.
“And now, the moment we’ve all been waiting for … As the curtain opens, let’s give another round of applause to ALL of tonight’s finalists! They truly represent the best in education,” Grego said.
When Grego called her name, Iacobucci slowly made her way to the podium on stage. She was clearly touched by the response of her colleagues and students, acknowledging both those in the theater and those who were tuning in through the livestream.
“Oh, my gosh! Wow! Wow,” Iacobucci gushed. “Thank you so much for this incredible honor. Thank you to Pinellas County Schools. Thank you to the Pinellas Education Foundation and to my principal, Ms. Carmela Haley, and the faculty and staff at East Lake High School, and most importantly, to my students, who make the job I love so fulfilling.”
“I went into this career 37 years ago,” Iacobucci added, “knowing that this was something that I would always love doing … I believe that every child is deserving of a visual arts education. Art is the language we all speak. It’s critical thinking, problem-solving, and inclusiveness. It transcends all disciplines … It’s acceptance, it’s risk-taking and it’s timeless. With art, there’s always more to discover. The possibilities are endless … Most importantly, art gives our students’ stories a voice.” (Read more)