BCPS also announced its top principal, assistant principal and school-related employee at the annual event honoring more than 550 dedicated and talented nominees, semi-finalists and 16 extraordinary finalists for their exceptional leadership and hard work. More than 1,300 guests attended the event with hundreds more viewing the livestream.
Congratulations to the 2023 Caliber Awards winners for their innovative leadership and exemplary contributions to students, schools and communities.
Teacher of the Year
Tropical Elementary School
Haley Shurack teaches pre-K students who are deaf and hard of hearing at Tropical Elementary School, where she has spent the last three and a half years with BCPS out of her five years in education. Shurack believes that building trusting and positive relationships with her students and their families is a key component of effective instruction.
“The families and I accomplish so much more with the children when we work as a team,” Shurack said. “I believe all children learn best through hands-on, meaningful experiences.”
“Ms. Shurack has demonstrated success in working with children through her love and caring for her students,” Principal Robert Schneider said. “She has been a leader in innovative teaching techniques for our youngest deaf and hard-of-hearing students. Her work over the years has been marked by devotion, integrity and loyalty.”
Shurack had the unique opportunity to co-present at an international education conference in Hungary, where she documented her experiences by writing songs and playing them on the ukulele.
Principal of the Year
Piper High School
Marie Hautigan is the principal at Piper High School, where she served for the last four years of her 15 years at BCPS. Hautigan believes education opens a pathway for a student to reach his or her full potential. Education improves an individual’s quality of life and results in a more intellectual, lucrative and benevolent society.
“I’m proud to have led my community to reclaim the greatness that had previously been forgotten by our stakeholders,” Hautigan said. “My goal is for every Bengal Scholar to take at least one college-level course before he or she graduates. My initiative has significantly contributed to the improvement of the school culture and the endless pursuit of a student body focused on achieving its full potential.”
“The improvements in school culture, expectations, academic rigor and student achievement at Piper High School are indicative of the positive impacts of Principal Hautigan’s leadership,” Director Haleh Darbar said. “She is relentless in her pursuit of building community and inclusiveness among her students.”
Known for sometimes using unconventional methods to communicate with her students, Hautigan isn’t shy when it comes to creating those special bonds. From performing with the school’s cheerleaders and step team, to showing her moves with the girls’ dance team and school band, she has used these opportunities to communicate with students how impressed she is with their talents and abilities. She also demonstrates the importance of trying your best, especially on things outside your comfort zone.
Assistant Principal of the Year
South Broward High School
Timothy Winburn is an assistant principal at South Broward High School, where he has served for the last 10 years out of his 18 years at BCPS. Winburn believes connecting with students on an individual basis and taking a true interest in who they are and what they aspire to be, is essential in guiding them on their path to their future.
“The tradition, history, family and community involvement run deep at South Broward High School,” Winburn said. “I instantly fell in love with the social community and became entrenched with the idea of how I could keep the amazing family feel, while trying to bring our facility and education into the 21st century.”
“Mr. Winburn is not only a consummate professional, but also an amazing person. I have rarely encountered a person who epitomizes the very essence of true caliber and who so naturally embodies the elements of a leader,” Principal Patricia Brown said. “Mr. Winburn continually focuses on how he can optimize all departments he oversees to ensure South Broward’s students receive the most of each.”
Even before becoming a South Broward Bulldog, Winburn and his wife have always loved bulldogs. They are happy and proud owners of their own bulldog mascot, Stella, a nine-year-old English bulldog.
School-Related Employee of the Year
Atlantic Technical College and High School
Nicole Willis has served as a career advisor at Atlantic Technical College and High School since joining BCPS 16 years ago. Willis is well-known for serving her students, alumni, school and community in several capacities that go well beyond the requirements of her role.
“A passion for advising, flexibility and patience are essential in recognizing there is not one set way to work with students,” Willis said. “Each student has a unique personality and life experiences. It is important to know them well enough to communicate in a way that is effective to provide the advisement they need.”
“Nicole sees a need and she fills the gap. She engages her colleagues in delivering much-needed support services to students, so they have the resources they need to successfully complete their Career and Technical Education program and obtain employment,” Director/Principal Neeta Randle said. “She has a passion for the work we do at the technical college.”
Willis prides herself on being creative, and describes herself as an extroverted introvert, who enjoys knitting and has a passion for creating memorable experiences for her students.
Caliber Award Sponsors
The Caliber Awards presenting sponsor is BrightStar Credit Union. Platinum sponsors are Aetna, COMCAST and Nova Southeastern University – Abraham S. Fischler College of Education and School of Criminal Justice; Gold sponsor are Broward Education Foundation and Broward Teachers Union; Silver sponsors are Broward Principals’ and Assistants’ Association, Camp Wannado, InspereX, JetBlue and PNC Bank; and Bronze sponsors are Bank of America, Deborah Bethune – Coldwell Banker Realty, Grand Canyon University, Morgan Stanley, Royal Caribbean International, Sunshine Child Programs and United Way of Broward County. Special thanks to Dr. Karlton Johnson, Publix and Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.
ABOUT BROWARD COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS
“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. BCPS is Florida’s first fully accredited school system since 1962, serving more than 256,000 students and approximately 110,000 adult learners in 240 schools, centers and technical colleges, and 90 charter schools. BCPS supports a diverse student population representing 170 different countries and speaking 147 languages. To connect with BCPS, visit browardschools.com, follow us on Twitter @browardschools, on Facebook at facebook.com/browardschools, and download the free BCPS mobile app.