Jake Van Hise, Unified Elementary ProTeach alumni ‘13, was recognized as a finalist for Hillsborough County Public Schools’ Teacher of the Year. With over 200 applicants seeking the honor, Van Hise was among the top five.

Teachers at each Hillsborough County public school were invited to vote and select their school’s Teacher of the Year in fall 2018. Van Hise, a fourth-grade teacher with nearly six years of teaching experience, was given the honor at Gorrie Elementary School.

Following, Van Hise applied to be considered for Hillsborough County’s Teacher of the Year Award, the district’s highest teaching honor. After multiple rounds of consideration, which included detailed essays of his teaching philosophy and methods, a recorded classroom lecture to demonstrate his teaching abilities and an interview with the superintendent and panel of judges, an annual banquet was held on Jan. 24 to announce the winner.

Dakeyan Graham, an instrumental music teacher at King High School was selected for the honor. Though he did not win, Van Hise shared he felt honored to not only be chosen by his own school, but to also be chosen a finalist for the entire county — especially because so many teachers are striving to positively impact the lives of their students and deserve to be celebrated for their efforts. “I wish that every teacher could be getting the same recognition,” he said.

Van Hise said the Unified ProTeach program, where he had the opportunity to spend his final year interning in a third-grade classroom, was essential to his preparedness to teach on his own  and led to his success that transcends into this honor. “Without that experience, I wouldn’t have been as successful as I was,” he said.

Jake Van Hise