BCPS Teacher of the Year Finalists Announced

December 9, 2020 

Broward County Public Schools (BCPS) announces the 2021 Caliber Awards Teacher of the Year finalists. The five finalists are recognized for their exemplary service in education and dedication to their students. A distinguished panel of educators, business and community members selected the finalists from a field of 225 teachers named Teacher of the Year for their respective schools.  

This year, four elementary school teachers and one combination 6-12 school teacher are vying for the coveted Teacher of the Year award. The 2021 Caliber Awards Teacher of the Year will be named at the Caliber Awards Ceremony, which recognizes the District’s outstanding teachers, principals, assistant principals and school-related employees.  

Congratulations to the 2021 Caliber Awards Teacher of the Year finalists: 

Alicia Gaines-Holligan is a 10-year veteran educator, who has committed the last five years teaching fifth grade at Park Lakes Elementary School. “My students inspire me as an educator,” said Holligan. “My goal is to ignite the fire that inspires by modeling for my students how to be kind, caring, empathetic and passionate about what they believe.”  

Park Lakes Elementary School Principal Rhonda Parris says, “Mrs. Holligan is a born leader who understands the importance of education. She takes educating students to a different level and shows it in everything she does. She has been a pillar of faith and dedication, and we are fortunate to have her at Park Lakes Elementary School.”  

Marc Horowitz is an instructional coach at Flamingo Elementary School. With the goal of making a difference in the lives of young people, Horowitz embarked on his journey to become an educator 23 years ago. Inspired to be a champion for students, Horowitz said, “I am determined to lead by example and ensure my students receive my unwavering dedication and support.” 

“The respect and dignity that Mr. Horowitz demonstrates toward others, coupled with the genuine care he has for those whom he serves, is modeled daily,” said Flamingo Elementary School Principal Philip Bullock. “He is clearly one of the best educators I have had the pleasure of knowing in my career.” 

Sheldon McLean teaches band, music and performing arts at Dillard 6-12 School, where he has taught the last seven of nine years.  McLean believes, “The development of the next generation is equally as salient as economic trade, technological advancement, health and medical discoveries, and every other industry that sustains and advances in life.” 

“Mr. McLean’s approach to his career is like his approach to life: strive for success, be humble, open-minded and serve others,” said Dillard 6-12 Principal Casandra Robinson. “He leads by example.” 

Monika Moorman, a 23-year veteran educator who has taught first through fifth grades, spent the last three years teaching fourth grade at Central Park Elementary School. Moorman says she teaches to leave an imprint on the world to make a better place. “I wake up every morning thinking about ways I can be a more effective educator than I was the day before.”  

Central Park Elementary School Principal Cherise Coleman says, “Mrs. Moorman is an exceptionally skilled educator who takes great pride in seeing her students succeed both in and out of the classroom. She transcends education in the classroom.”   

Allison Unger-Fink has spent her three years as an educator, teaching fourth grade at Hawkes Bluff Elementary School. “Technology is more important now than ever,” Fink said. “However, the greatest tool a teacher can lead with is the heart. Whether in a brick-and-mortar classroom or through a computer screen, students know when teachers care.”   

Hawkes Bluff Elementary School Principal Melinda Cunningham said, “Fink’s enthusiasm, love and passion for teaching is astounding. She inspires her students, as well as all who meet her, to reach beyond what they think is possible. She goes above and beyond to demonstrate to her students that they are all capable of learning and achieving excellence.” 

The Caliber Awards presenting sponsor is BrightStar Credit Union. Supporting Caliber Awards sponsors include Aetna, Broward Principals’ and Assistants’ Association (BPAA), Broward Teachers Union, Herff Jones, JetBlue, Nova Southeastern University – Abraham S. Fischler College of Education and School of Criminal Justice, and Sunshine After School Child Care, Inc. 

For more information about the 2021 Caliber Awards, visit browardschools.com/caliber-awards



“Committed to educating all students to reach their highest potential.”   

Broward County Public Schools (BCPS) is the sixth-largest school district in the nation and the second largest in the state of Florida. The District is Florida’s first fully accredited school system since 1962 and has nearly 261,000 pre-K-12th grade students and approximately 110,000 adult students in 241 schools, centers, and technical colleges, and 92 charter schools. BCPS serves a diverse student population, representing 170 different countries and 147 different languages. To connect with BCPS, visit browardschools.com, follow on Twitter @browardschools and Facebook at facebook.com/browardschools, and download the free BCPS mobile app.