Mariner High School Art Teacher Samantha Hower Selected as Lee County Teacher of the Year

Mariner High School Art Teacher Samantha Hower Selected as Lee County Teacher of the Year
Posted on 12/18/2019
Mariner High School Art Teacher Samantha Hower

We are excited to announce that Mariner High School Art Teacher Samantha Hower is the District’s 2019 Teacher of the Year. Hower will now be nominated for Florida Teacher of the Year. The Florida Department of Education will announce the winner in the spring.

Samantha Hower is improving student success through art. When she started as the Visual Arts Teacher at Mariner High School she opened her Advanced Placement classes to all students and for the last two years has had the highest AP 2D Studio Art scores in the District. “According to my students,” Hower says, “Most of them come in not considering themselves high achieving learners, let alone artists, and all of them can leave feeling proud of their growth.”

Thanks to Hower’s leadership, the STEM Academy at Mariner is now the STEAM Academy. She added an art curriculum to the science, technology, engineering and math already being taught. Students in the new academy are just finishing their first semester. “Our projected impact for students will be to increase college and career readiness,” Hower says, “With skills and experiences above and beyond their peers.” Hower also started the school’s first National Art Honor Society and supports nearby elementary and middle school art programs.

Hower’s impact isn’t felt just in the classroom. She is a leader on campus, serving as Department Chair, TALC Representative and PLC Facilitator. At the District level, Hower is part of the Teacher Evaluation Committee and Career Ladder Committee. “She is excellent in these positions that require precise planning, strong public speaking skills, and poise,” says Mariner High School Assistant Principal Angel McNeely. “She involves herself in this capacity to meet parents and community partners, engage with students on a deeper level beyond the school day, and foster a love for the arts in the community.” For Hower, she says it’s about giving students a unified and collaborative effort with their best interests in mind.

The Lee County Teacher of the Year receives a prize package worth $3,400 provided by businesses around the county.  Thank you to our Teacher of the Year Sponsors:


Business Name



Mark Loren Design

Custom Pin


Eager Beaver Car Wash

Wash Book


Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre

Tickets for Dinner and a Show for Two to "Something Rotten"


Dave and Buster's

$25 "Be Our Guest" Gift Certificate



(2) Unlimited Wristbands


Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall

(2) Tickets to "Black Violin"


Suncoast Credit Union

$1,000 Gift Card


Miracle Baseball

Gift Basket and Voucher for 4 Box Seats


South Seas Resort

Gift certificate for 3 Day/2 Night Stay


Fred's Award World

Name Tag


Norman Love Confections

25 Piece Box of Chocolates


Ruth Messmer Florist