SARASOTA, FL. - A Suncoast teacher has been named as one of the finalists for the state's Teacher of the Year.
The State Department of Education recognizes and honors teachers who've demonstrated a superior capacity to inspire learning.
According to her students, Katrin Rudge, a teacher at Riverview High School, does just that.
Rudge is one of five finalists in the state competing for the teacher of the year title, and while she says the news came as a surprise, her students say they can't think of any teacher more deserving.
Rudge teaches Marine Science at Riverview and has been for the last 13 years. She created the Aquadome portion of the school's Stars to Starfish Planetarium program, working with Mote Marine Laboratory to develop the program.
Her students describe her as caring, wonderful at her job, and they say she's always willing to go the extra mile. “I wasn't expecting this at all…and then to be a finalist among 180,000. I know there are phenomenal teachers, so I don't want to put that aside. I feel like it's such an honor for me and I'm hoping to inspire others to do programs such as this one.”
Governor Scott said, "Congratulations to Katrin Rudge for being a Teacher of the Year finalist. Florida's teachers are the backbone of our education system and are on the frontlines every day preparing Florida's students for college or a career. That is why we worked with the Legislature to ensure that every Florida teacher can get pay raise. Thank you to Katrin, and all Florida teachers for making a difference in our student's lives.”
Just as a finalist, Rudge wins $5,000 and Riverview High School receives $1,000 from Macy's, which sponsors the Teacher of the Year program.
The winner will be announced in July.