March 17, 2008
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Contact: Public Affairs Office
Sharanne Heaton has been chosen Florida Department of Corrections Teacher of the Year statewide. Heaton, a Special Education Teacher from Holmes Correctional Institution (CI) in Bonifay, began her career with the Department of Corrections in 1998 as a literacy educator at Liberty CI. Since that time, she has served as both an academic and special education teacher at Holmes CI, a transition specialist at Washington CI, and a classification officer at Bay Correctional Facility. Throughout the years, her corrections career has provided her with a wide range of experiences and perspectives that make Heaton not just a knowledgeable team player, but an advocate of teaching in corrections.
“As an educator with the Department of Corrections, I enjoy the luxury of being able to teach without the headaches of FCATs, report cards, and PTA meetings. As a Special Education teacher, I have the additional bonus of being able to teach in the classroom and of being a resource to the other classroom teachers,” said Heaton.
Special Education teachers provide educational services at 24 prisons statewide to inmates under the age of 22, depending upon their exceptionalities.
Regardless of her position or the prison where she works, Heaton's professionalism and dedication to the mission of the Department is recognized by both her colleagues and her students. Whether she is developing new instructional approaches or materials, mentoring new teachers, or pursuing her own personal educational goals, her focus is clearly concentrated in the classroom. To this end, more than 30% of the recent GED graduates at Holmes CI were Heaton's special education students. Success of this magnitude in our education departments throughout the state is exceptional and indicative of Heaton’s enthusiasm and commitment to learning.
Holmes C.I. Education Supervisor Mary Bowers is one of Heaton’s many fans. “We are very proud of Ms. Heaton here at Holmes C.I. She does an exceptional job providing educational opportunities to special education inmates. One of the great things about Ms. Heaton is that she will go the extra mile to make sure that everything is done correctly,” said Bowers.
For many years, the Department of Education has included the Department of Corrections' teachers in the process of selecting Florida's Teacher of the Year. This opportunity allows for correctional teachers to be recognized by the state of Florida for their contributions. While the contributions made by all the institutions' educators are greatly appreciated by the Department of Corrections, only one teacher has the honor of representing our agency each year during the Teacher of the Year award ceremonies.
Congratulations to Heaton and Holmes CI on this recognition. We wish her good luck as she now enters the competition for state of Florida’s Teacher of the Year.