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FUTURES Foundation Names 2021 First Year Teacher Award Recipients

  • FUTURES Foundation Names 2021 First Year Teacher Award Recipients
  • FUTURES Foundation Names 2021 First Year Teacher Award Recipients
  • FUTURES Foundation Names 2021 First Year Teacher Award Recipients

FUTURES Foundation for Volusia County Schools announced its 2021 First Year Teacher Award recipients during its annual recognition event April 6 at Jackie Robinson Ballpark.  Brian Levine, a third-grade teacher at Citrus Grove Elementary School in DeLand, received the Elementary level First Year Teacher Award while Shane Story, an ESE Support Facilitation teacher at David C. Hinson Sr. Middle School in Ormond Beach, received the Secondary level First Year Teacher Award. This year’s reception was co-sponsored by FUTURES Foundation and Volusia United Educators (VUE).

Mr. Levine and Mr. Story were selected for their awards from 45 nominees who were chosen to represent their schools. To be considered for the recognition, nominees must have earned a Baccalaureate degree, started a full-time teaching career on or after Jan. 1, 2020, performed outstandingly based on standards established by the Volusia County Schools and been nominated by their school principal.

In recommending Mr. Levine for this award, Citrus Grove Elementary Principal Jennifer Williams stated, “Brian Levine hit the ground running. He believes in making learning fun, but more importantly making his classroom a safe and welcoming place for each and every one of his students.”

An Elementary Education graduate of Stetson University, on his first day Mr. Levine introduced himself as former pirate Captain Levine and enlisted his students to join his new crew, “one which can change the world.” He continued, “I set high expectations for each of his new crewmates on the very first day and helped them meet those expectations through a myriad of wacky learning adventures.” In order to share more of his passion for learning, he is part of several extracurricular clubs including the DaVinci Club where “I can pour my love for literature and technological expertise into fostering life-long readers.”

In nominating Mr. Story for the secondary level award, David C. Hinson Sr. Middle School Principal William Dunnigan stated, “Mr. Story is the consummate professional, always making the needs of our students with disabilities his top priority. He is constantly setting a positive example for the faculty on how to support students with disabilities, while maintaining high expectations for the students’ growth and achievement.”

An Exceptional Student Education (ESE) graduate from Daytona State College, Mr. Story is working on his Master of Education at the University of Central Florida majoring in ESE with Certification in Autism Spectrum Disorder.  Prior to becoming a teacher, Mr. Story earned various leadership achievement awards while serving in the Human Intelligence Division in the U.S. Army Reserve. ”Through discussion, collaboration and reflection, my students and I plan together for their successes,” Mr. Story stated. “High academic expectations are most effectively achieved when the student takes onus of their own expectations.”

“FUTURES Foundation is honored to sponsor this annual awards program and celebration for these amazing new teachers,” said Robert E. Ludlow, Jr., President of FUTURES Foundation. “This year the pandemic brought even a greater challenge for brand new teachers and each of these 45 nominees stepped up to the plate for an outstanding first year. We are proud to recognize their efforts and host this annual recognition program. We appreciate the Volusia United Educators in joining us in sponsoring the reception.”

As each nominee was recognized on the field, Christy Mahaney, Coordinator of Volusia County Schools Recruitment and Retention, provided insights into each nominee’s enthusiasm and dedication to their students. Nominees heard from district leaders including a special motivational speech by 2022 Volusia County Teacher of the Year Frank Garaitonandia from Citrus Grove Elementary School. Two additional special guests included Danielle Gregory and Nicole Rose-Peadick, the 2020 Elementary and Secondary First Year Teachers Award recipients, respectively, who also gave their congratulatory comments to the nominees and presented the 2021 awards to Mr. Levine and Mr. Story.

FUTURES Foundation is a nonprofit, direct support organization founded in 1985 to support Volusia County Schools. Its mission is to engage business and civic leaders to promote and achieve educational excellence for Volusia County Public Schools. The Foundation’s 29-member board of directors consists of area business and civic leaders who direct and raise funds to facilitate a variety of programs in the school district. Through business and individual donations, FUTURES Foundation presents programs such as the First Year Teacher Awards.  For additional information about FUTURES, please contact Executive Director Cynthia Ramirez at 386.255.6475, ext. 50730, or, or visit its website at

This year’s 28 Elementary First Year Teacher nominees include: 

Marlena McNeil - Blue Lake Elementary

Lori Moulton - Champion Elementary

Carmen Mele - Chisholm Elementary

Brian Levine - Citrus Grove Elementary

Paula Ramirez - Coronado Beach Elementary

Gina Calbeto - DeBary Elementary

Kennedy Lawrence - Discovery Elementary

Katie Zinzi -Edith I. Starke Elementary

Brittney VanPatten - Enterprise Elementary

Judith Gonzalez - Forest Lake Elementary

Brianna Cupp - Freedom Elementary

Angela Williams - Friendship Elementary

Bryan Rush - Manatee Cove Elementary

Jasmin Felix - Louise S. McInnis Elementary

Amy Smith - Orange City Elementary

Brooke Turulski - Palm Terrace Elementary

Courtney LaCates - Pathways Elementary

Mayra Galvan - Pierson Elementary

Savannah Fischer - Port Orange Elementary

Ciana Desimini- South Daytona Elementary

Kelsey Maldonado - Spirit Elementary

Kila Ortiz - Sugar Mill Elementary

Foley M. Flood - Sunrise Elementary

Kayla Manchette - Timbercrest Elementary

Benjamin Corn - Tomoka Elementary 

Sheanna James - Turie T. Small Elementary

Christina Morgan - Westside Elementary

Michelle Hudimac - Woodward Elementary


This year’s 17 Secondary First Year Teacher nominees include:

Chelsea Chaya Ward - Atlantic High

Bree'shawn S. Watson - Campbell Middle

Shane Story - David C. Hinson Middle

Shelby Radford - DeLand High

Keith L. Strickland - DeLand Middle

Isabella Glessner - Deltona High

Kelvin Kerrutt - Galaxy Middle

Sheldon Martin - Heritage Middle

Emily Weiss - Holly Hill School K-8

Karina Victoria Nunez - Mainland High

Crystal McCaddon - New Smyrna Beach High

Megan Paytas - Pine Ridge High

Heather Picos - River Springs Middle

Christy Transier - Seabreeze High

Kimberly George - Spruce Creek High

Dayana Hughes - University High

Amy Graydon - Volusia Online Learning


Photo 1: Pictured left to right are Brian Levine of Citrus Grove Elementary and Shane Story of David C. Hinson Sr. Middle School

Photo 2: Brian Levine, FUTURES 2021 Elementary First Year Teacher Award recipient

Photo 3: Shane Story, FUTURES 2021 Secondary First Year Teacher Award recipient


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