TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Today, Governor Rick Scott recognized six educators who formerly served in various branches of the military with the Governor’s Shine Award for their service to our country and their contributions to Florida’s students. The Governor’s Shine Award is presented to Floridians who have positively impacted children through education.
Governor Scott said, “It is an honor to thank these teachers who went from serving their country to serving Florida students in the classroom. A great education system is key to creating a highly-skilled workforce and driving our economy forward. These teachers have gone above and beyond the call of duty by preparing our students today for the jobs of tomorrow, and I thank them for their continued service to Florida families.”
Shine Award Recipients:
Thomas Caggiano, U.S. Navy, Duval County, Sandalwood High School – Thomas Caggiano served in the United States Navy from June 1982 through February 1994. Following his time in the Navy, Caggiano taught at Ribault Middle School and Twin Lakes Academy Middle for seven years. He later transferred to Sandalwood High School in 2002. There, he teaches AP Stats and AP Calculus with an average passing rate close to 80 percent. He has also taught pre-calculus, trigonometry and analytical geometry.
Steven Cooper, U.S. Navy, Clay County, Oakleaf High School – Lt. Commander Steven Cooper served as a naval aviator in the United States Navy for 20 years before retiring in June 2010. He piloted H-60 helicopters while deploying aboard USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70), USS Nimitz (CVN-68), USS Enterprise (CVN-65), and USS Ogden (LPD-5), and completed his career flying in Air Operations management positions in Manama, Bahrain and Naples, Italy. Cooper’s teaching career began in August 2010 when he was selected to establish the Academy of Aerospace Technology at Oakleaf High School in Orange Park. This highly successful STEM education program is the most popular grade 9-12 career education academy in the Clay County school system. Cooper continues to fly airplanes for fun and spends much of his off-campus time promoting aviation education in the community.
Sheryl D. Dumont, U.S. Army, Hillsborough County, Jefferson High School –Sheryl Dumont, Ed.S., served in the United States Army for 26 years before retiring as a Sergeant Major in August 2004. Sheryl began her teaching career in 2006 as a 7th grade English Language Arts teacher. She has since earned her English as a Second Language endorsement, two Leadership endorsements and currently serves as assistant principal of student services at LaVilla School of the Arts in Jacksonville. Dumont is driven by her desire to help teachers and students succeed in the most positive educational environments possible.
Kenneth Johansen, U.S. Navy, Bay County, New Horizons Learning Center – During his 20-year military career, Kenneth Johansen was a Naval Aviator who flew SH-3, RH53 and MH53 helicopters, and was a flight instructor in the T34C aircraft. He made major deployments aboard the aircraft carrier USS Franklin D. Roosevelt to the Mediterranean and aboard the helicopter carriers USS Tripoli to WESTPAC and USS Guadalcanal to the Persian Gulf. In addition, he was the Naval Air Systems command, Navy Program Manager for the production of the MH53E and the Staff Mine Warfare Officer for 7th Fleet based aboard the USS Blue Ridge home ported in Yokosuka, Japan. He retired in 1994 from the Naval Coastal Systems Station in Panama City as a commander. Johansen is currently the media specialist at New Horizons Learning Center, a middle/high school combination school (center based ESE [Exceptional Student Education] center school for students with severe behavioral and emotional behaviors). He has taught a total of 18 years.
James Moretz, U.S. Navy, Escambia County, Northview High School – James A. Moretz is a U.S. Navy veteran and native Floridian who teaches at Northview High in northern Escambia County. Soon after graduating from Wakulla County High School in 1981, Moretz joined the Navy where he served continuously for nearly 23 years. In 2004, Lt. Commander Moretz retired from active naval service and last served at Naval Air Station Pensacola. After his naval career, Moretz worked for the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office and the Escambia County School District as a school resource deputy for eight years. While working full-time, he used the GI Bill to attend college, where he earned two associate degrees from Pensacola State College and a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from the University of West Florida in 2012. Moretz later attained certification to teach social sciences for grades 6-12. He is now in his third year of teaching United States government and economics.
Dan Schmidt, U.S. Army, Santa Rosa County, Milton High School – Dan Schmidt is a veteran of Operation Desert Storm, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom and has received numerous decorations, including three Bronze Stars and the Combat Infantrymen Badge. He is currently serving in the Florida Army National Guard as the Battalion Commander of 2-116 Field Artillery. Schmidt started his teaching career in 1993 as a middle school math teacher in Port Sulphur, La., and has been teaching secondary mathematics in Santa Rosa County for the past 16 years. His passion for student success can be seen by his ability to coordinate, plan and execute after school Algebra I and Geometry End of Course review sessions within his high school. He is a leader both in and out of the classroom as evident through his development of an Energy Academy on Milton High School’s campus that brings together business, industry, the community and education to offer unique educational and career opportunities to students.