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First Lady Ann Scott, DJJ Secretary Wansley Walters and Eckerd Honor 2012-2013 Juvenile Justice Teacher of the Year


March 27, 2014


Heather DiGiacomo

(850) 717-2711

Brooksville, Fla. – Today, First Lady Ann Scott, the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice Secretary Wansley Walters and Eckerd honored Edie Flores as the 2012-2013 Juvenile Justice Teacher of the Year, during a ceremony at the Challenge Juvenile Residential Facility (CJRF).

“Education has always been a passion of mine and it’s an incredible honor to recognize Ms. Flores today,” said First Lady Ann Scott. “Teachers play a significant role in the lives of our youth and we are fortunate that in Florida our teachers are ranked the most effective in the nation.”   

Ms. Flores, a teacher with Eckerd, works with youth placed at CJRF by the Department of Juvenile Justice. With a background in elementary and special education, Edie is well versed in working with diverse learners and differentiated instruction and therefore always plans engaging lessons to meet the unique needs of each student. 

One of her co-teachers stated, “She’s creative, innovative, energetic, self-directed, enthusiastic, motivating, inspirational, well received by the kids, well-liked by the staff and very supportive of the counseling and support staff.” Ms. Flores’ concern for her students goes beyond the classroom as she places a great value in developing positive relationships with her students.  She can often be seen lending an ear to troubled youth when they are in crisis, which often means working well into the evening hours.  

Ms. Flores consistently lives by and promotes the following saying, “What did I do today to make kids want come to my class and stay in my class?” And, as a leader, shares her motto with the other teachers and counselors on staff and encourages them to provide the same positive and engaging instructional culture. Keith Philipson, Director of Educational Services for Eckerd, shared “Edie is a team player and valued member of the education staff.  Edie role models excellent teaching skills and upholds the Eckerd experiential educational and thematic approach to teaching troubled youth.  She truly exemplifies what a classroom teacher should be.” 

“One of the greatest gifts I can give my students is the desire to want to come back to class every day,” said Edie Flores. “If they walk through the doors the next day feeling like they belong and can thrive academically in my classroom then I have done my job as a teacher.”

Ms. Flores also works diligently with the local school systems as an advocate for CJRF youth to ensure a successful transition as these students return to their local school system. She often works directly with the receiving schools, students, parents and agency workers in order to facilitate a smooth and successful transition and ensure that the students’ needs come first.

“Ms. Flores’ dedication inside and outside the classroom will impact the lives of these boys for many years to come,” said Secretary Walters. “We know education is a key factor in keeping at-risk youth from being involved in the juvenile justice system and inspirational teachers like Edie can make all the difference.”

DJJ partnered with the Florida Department of Education (DOE) to select the finalists for the 2012-2013 Juvenile Justice Teacher of the Year Award. Ms. Flores was chosen as the 2012-2013 Juvenile Justice Teacher of the Year from among three finalists out of the many juvenile justice educators throughout the state of Florida. Ms. Flores received an award plaque and a $700 award from the Florida Association of Alternative School Educators (FAASE). Today’s ceremony was sponsored by Pearson. All three teachers will also be recognized at the Florida Juvenile Justice Association’s Annual Conference in May.

The Challenge Juvenile Residential Facility is a youth residential treatment facility for court-ordered youth, provided by Eckerd under contract through the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice. Eckerd’s juvenile justice residential facility in Brooksville, Florida is a 60-bed residential facility that provides evidence-based treatment for youth who exhibit mental health, behavioral health and substance abuse issues.