2023 Teachers of the Year Winners

Whether exceptional teachers are born or made is not the question. What matters is that by the time they make it into the classroom, they are filled with the passion, drive, education and genuine love of teaching and children that students need to succeed.

This critical need for exceptional teachers is why The Early Learning Coalition of North Florida (ELC) is proud to present its winner of the ninth annual Preschool Teacher of the Year Award. The six countywide preschool teacher recognition acknowledges the creativity and hard work of those who teach children at the most fundamental time in their lives.  

The 2023 Preschool Teachers of the Year Awards go to: Debra Tubb in the category of preschool teacher of the year, and Alison Phillips, in the infant/toddler winner category. Tubb is a VPK teacher at Deerwood Academy in St. Johns, Florida and Phillips is an infant teacher at Island View Baptist Preschool in Orange Park, Florida.

Both were honored by a surprise visit from ELC on January 10th with balloons and flowers. They will be recognized at ELC’s Early Educators Conference on February 3, 2024, at the Thrasher-Horne Center in Orange Park. Each will be awarded a $500 cash prize sponsored by Kaplan Early Learning, Inc. and the Clay Electric Foundation. 

“Teaching is a special calling, and the Early Learning Coalition of North Florida is excited to be able to recognize preschool teachers who represent the best in the six counties we serve,” says Dawn Bell, ELC’s CEO. “There’s no better job than guiding children down a path of success. Great teachers like these have an incredible impact on our future.” 

The Early Learning Coalition of North Florida is the leading voice in six counties for parents of children ages birth through five years. ELC works with many other local agencies to ensure that all families have access to quality, affordable child care. Their mission is achieved by leading projects that increase the quality and availability of child care professionals, and advocate child care policies that positively impact the lives of children and families.

Learn more about the Early Learning Coalition of North Florida and how to assist in ensuring quality child care for all families.


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