Harns Marsh Middle School Teacher Chosen as Lee County Teacher of the Year

Harns Marsh Middle School Teacher Chosen as Lee County Teacher of the Year
Posted on 12/13/2021
Harns Marsh Middle School Teacher Chosen as Lee County Teacher of the Year

The School District of Lee County is excited to announce that Allison Kerner is the 2021 Teacher of the Year. Kerner is a Peer Collaborative Teacher at Harns Marsh Middle School. She spends half her day teaching English Language Arts and the other half is devoted to coaching and mentoring her fellow teachers. 

Harns Marsh Middle School Principal Alex Dworzanski says Kerner is an “absolute rockstar” in the classroom. She took on the challenge of the lowest performing ELA 8th graders this year and has already seen every one of them improve their Iready reading proficiency score by one level. Confidence is what she teaches most.

“For one shy, soft-spoken 12-year-old this meant finding the courage to stand in front of a room full of people and deliver a 5-minute speech without any notes,” Dworzanksi wrote in his nomination letter. “For an academically challenged student who had already been held back three times, this meant finding the motivation to keep picking himself up until he earned all As, Bs and Cs on his report card.”

Kerner says she was inspired to teach while a student at Mirror Lakes Elementary because of the way her teachers supported her and her family after the sudden loss of her sister. She went on to graduate from Riverdale High School and then earn the first college degree in her family from the University of South Florida.

Kerner started teaching at Harns Marsh Middle in 2016. After just two years she was appointed ELA Department Chair. The increases in proficiency under her leadership improved Harns Marsh Middle School’s grade from a C to a B. The ELA department saw 7% more growth in the first quarter.

“I have aspired to become the kind of teacher I leaned on as a student,” Kerner says. “I absolutely believe, given the chance, any student can blow us away, rise to the challenge, learn and succeed. Thanks to those teachers who took time to listen and encourage me, I now get to step into the role of helping and encouraging students, and other educators, around me.”

Kerner will now be nominated for Florida Teacher of the Year. The Florida Department of Education will announce the winner in the spring. As Lee County Teacher of the Year she wins a prize package valued at more than $2,000.

  • Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall 2 Tickets To "Ultimate Queen" concert on 12/20/21
  • Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre 2 Tickets for Dinner and Show to "Rock of Ages"
  • Dunkin' Donuts $100 Gift Card
  • Edison & Ford Winter Estates Museum Tickets and Book
  • Fred's Award World Custom Name Tag
  • Hertz $1,000 Travel Package
  • Mark Loren Design Custom Item
  • Ruth Messmer Florist Floral Bouquet
  • Snyderman Shoes Gift Certificate
  • Suncoast Credit Union Foundation Gift Card

Teacher of the Year candidates are nominated by their school principals. Applications are reviewed by a team of District administrators and former Teachers of the Year. Semi-Finalists are then interviewed and as many as three Finalists have a second interview.

In June, Kerner was honored as the District’s second APPLES Mentor of the Year. APPLES mentors provide support to new and beginning teachers by observing them in class, helping them write instructional plans, and providing feedback so they can be the best teachers possible.