Teacher of the Year and Employee of the Year

Congratulations Are In Order!

Each year, the staff of NLE selects one teacher of the year and one non-instructional employee of the year. Although we have many highly qualified and equally deserving staff members, this year, we honor Mrs. Heather Patrias and Mrs. Gladys Rivera. Please extend a word of congratulations to them next time you see them around school.

img_2313Heather Patrias (Teacher of the Year)

It is with great pride that we announce Mrs. Patrias as our Teacher of the Year for the 2016-17 school year. Mrs. Patrias has been an asset to the school community since she started here. As an art teacher and specialist, she communicates and interacts will the entire student population. Due to the fact that she is frequently having her students participate in various art shows and projects across the county, communication with parents, students, and staff is important to her. She frequently represents NLE at the Blooming Arts Festival, the Tag Art Show, the Lakeland Electric Calendar Contest, and the Original Arts Works fundraiser project at the school. Her students have had their work displayed on the City of Lakeland Recycling truck, and Mrs. Patrias organized the media coverage for the event. On this year’s Lakeland Electric Calendar, three of the twelve months were allocated to her students’ artwork. Mrs. Patrias always presents herself in a calm and organized manner. She is clear, concise, and firm in her student expectations. Mrs. Patrias stays informed regarding the educational trends in art that lead to high quality student work. Our staff has voted, and we cannot imagine a more deserving individual for the Teacher of the Year for 2016-17. Join us by congratulating our  Teacher of the Year as she represents so many quality employees here and across the Polk County School District.


img_2211_edited-1Gladys Rivera (Employee of the Year)

It is with great pleasure that our nominating committee recommends Mrs. Rivera as our Non-Instructional Employee of the Year for the 2016-17 school year.  Mrs. Rivera is one of our front office secretaries. She is an extremely organized professional who is able to maintain a busy schedule and also act as our volunteer coordinator. She is excellent at arranging fundraiser activities, organizing classroom volunteers, and screening all visitors and correspondence. Mrs. Rivera offers a unique skill set that makes her a very valuable asset to our school. Her cheerful and professional attitude helps everyone in the office to feel a bit more positive, and that is something every office can use. Her ability to communicate in Spanish is an asset to our Hispanic families, as she is their primary contact at the school. Her familiarity to them helps them feel at ease and comfortable at school. Here are some of the things that her fellow colleagues have said about our nominee:

  • “Our nominee’s face is like a ray of sunshine to greet the staff and parents on a regular basis. She is kind, caring and attentive to the needs of the person with whom she is dealing with.”
  • “Our nominee is a wonderful “first face” for our school. She is the first person that parents and students come in contact with when they walk into the office and no matter how busy she is, she always puts on a smile and gives each person her undivided attention. She is invaluable since she is bilingual and is a patient and friendly bridge between our non-English speaking families and the school. No one is more deserving of this honor.”

Our staff has voted, and we cannot imagine a more deserving individual for the Non-Instructional Employee of the Year for 2015-16. Join us by congratulating our School-Related Employee of the Year as she represents so many quality employees here and across the Polk County School District.