School District Honors School Related Employee of the Year

School District Honors School Related Employee of the Year
Posted on 12/04/2023
School District Honors School Related Employee of the Year

The School District of Lee County is proud to announce Norah Avilez has been selected as the 2024 School Related Employee of the Year. Avilez is an ESOL instructional support staff member at Caloosa Middle School. She was recently surprised by Superintendent Dr. Christopher Bernier,
School Board members, District administrators and school staff with her award.

“I feel so honored, so genuinely honored,” Avilez said just after presented her award. “I feel overfilled with joy and I also feel real passion and fueled to keep going in this line of work. This just feels like another reminder this is where I’m meant to be.”

Avilez is a product of the School District of Lee County and started to volunteer at Caloosa Middle School at 11 years old. After graduating from North Fort Myers High School, she joined the Caloosa Middle staff as an Instructional Support Employee. Avilez is studying at Florida SouthWestern State College to fulfill a lifelong dream of becoming a teacher.

“Ms. Avilez has made a difference every day she walks in our front doors before, during and after school hours to our students, parents and her colleagues” said Caloosa Middle Principal Dr. Ann Cole. “Her cheerful and dedicated attitude is like a lighthouse shining light to all who need it.”

The School Related Employee of the year represents the thousands of dedicated staff members that work in Lee County Schools every day. They are the bus drivers, technical support staff, social workers, helping teachers, paraprofessionals, secretaries, cafeteria staff, custodians and more. School administrators, employees, students, and members of the community nominated approximately 150 deserving support personnel. A selection committee of school and district leadership reviewed nomination forms, commendations received, and continuing education and training courses completed by nominees to select the award recipient.

Avilez will be formally recognized by the School Board of Lee County for her award in January. Her nomination will be forwarded to the Florida Department of Education for state School-Related Employee of the Year competition. Her mom Beth Avilez, is the Bookkeeper at Caloosa Middle, and was chosen as the District’s School Related Employee of the Year in 2017.

The School District is also proud to recognize Jill Cornell, Senior Administrative Assistant at Bonita Springs High School, and Mary Ann Cuico, Food and Nutrition Manager at Harns Marsh Middle School, as finalists for School Related Employee of the Year.