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FUTURES Foundation Names 2024 First Year Teacher Award Recipients

  • FUTURES Foundation Names 2024 First Year Teacher Award Recipients
  • FUTURES Foundation Names 2024 First Year Teacher Award Recipients
  • FUTURES Foundation Names 2024 First Year Teacher Award Recipients

FUTURES Foundation for Volusia County Schools announced its 2024 First Year Teacher Award recipients during its annual recognition celebration May 2 at Deltona High School. Sean Hyacinth, a fifth-grade math and science teacher at Palm Terrace Elementary School in Daytona Beach, received the Elementary level First Year Teacher Award while Karilis Sanchez, eleventh and twelfth grade math teacher at Pine Ridge High School in Deltona, received the Secondary level First Year Teacher Award. This year’s reception was co-sponsored by FUTURES Foundation and Volusia United Educators (VUE).

Mr. Hyacinth and Ms. Sanchez were selected for their awards from 51 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. 3, 2023, performed outstandingly based on standards established by the Volusia County Schools and been nominated by their school principal.

In recommending Mr. Hyacinth for this award, Palm Terrace Elementary Principal Karen Troutman stated, “Mr. Hyacinth works tirelessly to find engaging ways to motivate his learners by providing hands-on learning experiences to practice real world math such as adding decimals through the use of a shopping ad to complete a grocery list to leading multiplication math battles following a ‘Wild N Out’ theme. He is what Volusia County looks to recruit each year- an employee that is dedicated, student-centered, and a problem solver - an employee that we most commonly refer to as ‘irreplaceable’.”

Currently pursuing his master’s degree in educational leadership, he states, “Beyond teaching academics, I focus on students’ development in their relationships, identity, emotional skills, and overall well-being by educating the whole child. When students are supported in all areas of their development, they are more likely to develop a growth mindset, resilience, and strong interpersonal skills. By teaching the whole child, I hope to prepare them to thrive in a global society where adaptability, empathy, and innovation are highly valued.”

In nominating Ms. Sanchez for the secondary level award, Pine Ridge High School Principal William Ryser stated, “A graduate of Pine Ridge High herself, Ms. Sanchez nurtures a family atmosphere in her classroom and develops meaningful relationships with students. Ms. Sanchez’s students adore her and their gratitude to her for guiding them through the Algebra content that they have historically struggled through is palpable. As a native Spanish speaker, Ms. Sanchez demonstrates excellent communication, caring, flexibility, and connects with all her students. School-wide, requests for schedule changes for Ms. Sanchez have exceeded capacity.”

A math teacher who intentionally and successfully seeks ways to connect mathematics to the current world, she states “My classroom really is a training ground for teaching humans how to ‘human’ even though it’s labeled as a ‘high school math class’. It’s no secret that many students in today’s classrooms seem to doubt themselves and seek validation before and after every minor decision. Through high expectations, teamwork with their group mates on analytical riddles (that they think are unrelated to math) and in-class math practice, students are learning to persevere, build confidence, use their resources and creatively network with others to achieve a common goal.” 

“FUTURES Foundation is honored to sponsor this annual awards program and celebration for these exceptional new teachers,” said Eric Fraine, Board President-Elect of FUTURES Foundation. “We are proud to recognize their efforts and host this annual recognition program. We value Volusia United Educators’ continuing support in sponsoring the event’s reception year after year.”

As each nominee was recognized onstage, Nicole Strocchia and Valerie Marcus, teacher leaders from DeBary Elementary School, provided insights into each nominee’s enthusiasm and dedication to their students. Nominees heard from district leaders and other special guests including the 2025 Volusia Schools Teacher of the Year Emily Fagerstrom from Champion Elementary. Brittany Levkulich & Victoria Flinn, the 2023 Elementary and Secondary First Year Teachers Award recipients, respectively, also shared messages with the audience and presented the 2024 awards to Mr. Hyacinth and Ms. Sanchez.

FUTURES Foundation is a nonprofit 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 30-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 Shimene Shepard at 386.255.6475, ext. 50730, or, or visit its website at

This year’s 32  Elementary First Year Teacher nominees  include:  

  • Savannah Manser – Beachside Elementary School
  • Taylor Dickey – Champion Elementary School
  • Brittany Buchman – Chisholm Elementary School
  • Mercedes Davis – Citrus Grove Elementary School
  • Meaghan O’Dwyer – Coronado Beach Elementary School
  • Kinda Elborno – Cypress Creek Elementary School
  • Julie Griffin – Debary Elementary School
  • Ericka Baca – Deltona Lakes Elementary School
  • Jessica Fuentes-De Jesus – Discovery Elementary School
  • Ashley Ehlinger – Enterprise Elementary School
  • Nicolle Cabret – Forest Lake Elementary School
  • Emily Sedgwick – Freedom Elementary School
  • Katherine Buley – Friendship Elementary School
  • Lindsey Dean – George W. Marks Elementary School
  • Ashtyn Pascoe – Holly Hill K-8
  • Brittany Sizemore – Horizon Elementary School
  • Carla Dixon – Manatee Cove Elementary School
  • Amanda Turner – Louise S. McInnis Elementary School
  • Cheyenne Shephard – Orange City Elementary School
  • Samantha Murray – Osteen Elementary School
  • Sean Hyacinth – Palm Terrace Elementary School
  • Austin Kovacs – Pine Trail Elementary School
  • Austin Kraus – Port Orange Elementary School
  • Danielle Hardy – Pride Elementary School
  • Emma Barcena – Spirit Elementary School
  • Jana Macugova – Sugar Mill Elementary School
  • Madelynn Perone – Sunrise Elementary School
  • Sydney Swanson – Sweetwater Elementary
  • Daisy Cordine – Timbercrest Elementary School
  • Rebecca Moore – Tomoka Elementary School
  • Ashley Diegel – Volusia Pines Elementary School
  • Nicole Snyder – Woodward Ave Elementary School


This year’s 19  Secondary First Year Teacher nominees include: 

  • Janette Hankins – Atlantic High School
  • Janelle Roshia – Creekside Middle School
  • Christina Lambert – Deland High School
  • Stacey Norman – Deland Middle School
  • Cortney Torres – Deltona High School
  • Sandra Castro – Deltona Middle School
  • Keri O’Connell – Galaxy Middle School
  • Maggie Claiborne – Heritage Middle School
  • Juan Ramirez – David C. Hinson Sr. Middle School
  • Atiya Bottom-Towns – Mainland High School
  • Colton Cameron – New Smyrna Beach High School
  • Krystal Blackwell – New Smyrna Beach Middle School
  • Lisa Rademacher – Ormond Beach Middle School
  • Karilis Sanchez – Pine Ridge High School
  • Anna Ariani – Seabreeze High School
  • Lluzbeira Moran – Silver Sands Middle School
  • Dylan Molitor – Spruce Creek High School
  • Alaina Cianchetti – T. Dewitt Taylor Middle/High School
  • Joshua Skula – University High School

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