(WSVN) - There is no shortage of incredible educators in Broward County, and this year one is no exception.

Five finalists were chosen for Broward County Public Schools 2023 Teacher of the Year.

As the district prepares to crown the winner at 6 p.m. on Friday, the finalists said they are grateful for the recognition.

Dr. Danielle Bradley said it was a surreal moment for her when she was told she was a finalist for the title. She teaches honors English, gifted classes and college-level courses at Coral Glades High School.

“It’s definitely been such an amazing experience to be recognized not only by my peers and colleagues at the school level, but [I] never would have imagined having received that recognition across the county,” she said.

Lashaundra Williams teaches social science, U.S. history and AP psychology to ninth through 12th graders at Hallandale High School.

She said when it comes to teaching history, her goal is to relate to her students.

“It’s really about connecting the past to the present,” she said. “We know there’s a lot of things going on in our society, and I just want to build people that’s gonna be able to go out there, be contributing citizens to society, make a positive impact. If they do not know about history, they can’t connect with it, then I’m not doing my job.”

Haley Shurack teaches pre-K students who are deaf and hard of hearing at Tropical Elementary School.

“We work really hard on getting them to speak and interact and to listen and to understand what they’re hearing,” said Shurack, “and by the time they leave, they’re speaking in sentences, they’re able to tell me the things that they want and need, and I think it just boosts their self-esteem and their confidence to be able to have those human connections with everybody.”

Jennifer Wilson teaches sixth-grade language arts at Tequesta Trace Middle School and is a fourth-generation school teacher.

“I’m no different than so many of my colleagues,” said Wilson. “I teach at a wonderful school and our administration is so supportive. There are so many wonderful teachers here, and so I’m really just a product of the supportive environments that I’ve had to develop me as a teacher.”

Otto Jesus Rodriguez is an 11th-grade science teacher at South Broward High School.

He is the sponsor of the school’s Latinos in Action program, which empowers Latino youth to attend college and be role models.

I’m very proud to be representing the Broward community, all the Broward students, teachers, clerk, cafeteria, security,” said Rodriguez, “so it means so much to me because I’m representing. I’m not representing any ethnicity or culture, I’m representing everybody.”

The winner will be announced during the 2023 Caliber Award Ceremony in Fort Lauderdale.

Copyright 2024 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Join our Newsletter for the latest news right to your inbox