Boca Educator Named Teacher Of The Year!

Michelle Gunning is joined by her Principal Rachel Capitano on her right and Superintendent Wayne Gent on her left and her family.

Michelle Gunning is joined by her Principal Rachel Capitano on her right and Superintendent Wayne Gent on her left and her family.

BOCA RATON, FL ( — Congratulations to Sandpiper Shores Elementary School Teacher Michelle Gunning — she is the Macy’s/Florida Department of Education (FLDOE) Teacher of the Year for the School District of Palm Beach County.  Mrs. Gunning, media specialist at Sandpiper Shores Elementary School, is a resident of Boca Raton, Florida.

From the Palm Beach County School District:

This year is busy at Sandpiper Shores for Michelle Gunning as she continues to collaborate to develop lessons with classroom teachers, to manage the student morning news show, and to organize the “Horse Tales Literacy Project” with all first-grade teachers and students.  Mrs. Gunning also initiated the Reading Counts program and incentives.


Rachel Capitano, Sandpiper Shores Principal said, “In six short months, Mrs. Gunning updated the technology in the library and the library collection by organizing three fundraisers for new books.  She managed the fall and spring book fairs, increasing profit by more than 20%.  Michelle enjoys keeping students engaged at the fairs by dressing up as Harry Potter, Greg from Diary of a Wimpy Kid, and other fun characters such as Pinkalicious.”


With an increased library, Mrs. Gunning sponsored 52 Battle of the Books teams and sponsors Book Club, Lego Club, Nook Book Club and the Comic Book Club.   She initiated a Reading Buddy Program with West Boca High School and a Pen Pal Program with Waters Edge Elementary.


Bonnie Fox, Mrs. Gunning’s former principal, said, “Many of Michelle’s greatest contributions came as a result of her talents as a writing coach.”  Ms. Fox concluded that, “Mrs. Gunning taught most of the eighth grade students and most definitely was personally responsible for an increase in scores for all levels of students at Odyssey Middle School.”


Mrs. Gunning’s career includes 12 years of teaching students at the high school level, middle school level and elementary level.  Mrs. Gunning believes that as a teacher, her role is “to inspire a love of learning and a love for our fellow man.”


As Teacher of the Year, Mrs. Gunning will receive a cash award of $1000 through funds contributed through District business partnerships.  The Macy’s Foundation also presents each District Teacher of the Year a cash award of $1000, of which $250 goes to the teacher’s school.  As Palm Beach County’s Teacher of the Year, Mrs. Gunning represents the District in the Florida Department of Education-Macy’s Teacher of the Year Roundtable.  The Roundtable affords Teachers of the Year the opportunity to network with colleagues, share ideas, and provide input on educational issues of state and national importance.

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