Imagine Salutes Our 2024 National Teacher of the Year Winner and Finalists

Noteworthy Imagine Schools in the news, Imagine Schools National Updates, Noteworthy

Imagine Schools is proud to honor Samantha Karras, from Diane Thorne’s group, a Third Grade Math and Science teacher at Imagine South Lake in Florida, as our 2024 National Teacher of the Year. With nine years of dedication at Imagine South Lake, Samantha’s multifaceted roles, from Lead Planner to Peer Coach, showcase her exemplary leadership, innovation, and unwavering commitment to student success. Her inclusive approach ensures every child’s needs are met, fostering a warm and supportive environment.

Notably, Samantha’s dedication to school development led her to introduce innovative initiatives like Rock Your School, a school-wide event where teachers created theme-based learning days that sparked curiosity and pushed some teachers out of their comfort zones. Her passion for creativity has reignited a love for learning at Imagine South Lake, bringing fun back into the classrooms and fostering a vibrant learning environment.

Jason Bryant, Imagine Schools co-CEO, made the surprise announcement with her colleagues and the regional team present to celebrate this special occasion.
Congratulations to you, Samantha!

Outstanding Teachers

We also want to celebrate our National Teacher of the Year Runner-Up and each of the Group Finalists for their outstanding service to our students and organization.

Megan King, Imagine Schools 2024 National Teacher of the Year Runne Great Western Academy in Ohio. Megan is praised by both parents and colleagues for her unwavering dedication and exceptional contributions to the school community. She fosters trust and confidence in her students, nurturing their academic and personal growth, while maintaining strong communication with parents to ensure a supportive learning environment. As a team lead, Megan demonstrates leadership and collaboration, assisting colleagues and tailoring engaging, culturally diverse lessons to meet the needs of all students. Her exemplary classroom management reflects the school’s shared values of Integrity and Justice, fostering strong relationships and respect among students. Megan’s professionalism, work ethic, and commitment to student success, make her a stand-out educator in the Heartland Region and a deserving Runner-Up for Teacher of the Year.

Brian Boardman-Rackley, Imagine Schools 2024 Region Winner: from Monte Lange’s group, teaches Fourth Grade at Imagine Rosefield in Arizona. Mr. Boardman’s tireless efforts yield remarkable academic growth, strong relationships, and contributions to school culture. His influence extends beyond academics, instilling leadership qualities evident in sports, school, and clubs. Colleagues commend his collaborative spirit and commitment to creating a positive learning environment, evident in his active participation in school-wide initiatives, including directing engaging plays showcasing student talents. With his unwavering dedication and effective teaching methods, Mr. Boardman stands as an exemplary educator at Imagine Rosefield, making significant contributions to his school community.

Paul McFarland, Imagine Schools 2024 Region Winner: from Shawn Toler’s group, has been a K-8 Music teacher at Imagine Foundations at Leeland in Maryland for 12 years. Throughout his tenure, Paul has shown a strong commitment to cross-curricular learning by seamlessly integrating literacy themes into his music classes, demonstrating his dedication to providing a well-rounded education. Embracing the spirit of Imagine Fun, he pioneered a successful piano program that offers all K-8 scholars access to pianos/keyboards, headphones, piano method books, and various materials―all free of charge. By offering piano instruction, traditionally reserved for families who can afford private lessons, Paul has significantly expanded equitable access to music education. His initiative has opened new doors to musical expression and personal growth for countless future scholars at Imagine Leeland.

Stefanie Shaw, Imagine Schools 2024 Region Winner: from Rod Sasse’s group, teaches K-5 STEM, 6-8 Leadership, and 6-8 STEAM/Engineering at Imagine Broward in South Florida. With over a decade of service, Ms. Shaw has demonstrated a remarkable ability to understand and meet the individual needs of her students, fostering a love for learning in Math, Science, and Leadership. She places a strong emphasis on the power of play, believing it fosters creativity, builds trust, strengthens relationships, cultivates community, and nurtures growth. Her impact extends beyond the classroom, as she spearheaded the creation of a STEM program and transformed the media center into an innovative STEM Lab. Her hands-on approach and creative teaching methods inspire curiosity and lifelong learning in her students. Through her commitment to excellence, integrity, and collaboration, Ms. Shaw embodies the shared values of Imagine Schools and serves as a beacon of inspiration and positive change.

Kevin Glascock, Imagine Schools 2024 Region Winner: from Brad Uchaz’s group, is a high school Science and Automotive teacher at Imagine Prep Superstition. He’s also the head varsity wrestling coach. Since the beginning of his teaching career 15 years ago, Kevin has been an advocate of inquiry-based learning. He believes strongly that academic growth should not be viewed as a goal or destination, but as a means of creating lifelong learners. Every day in his classroom and on the mat, he aims to provide his students and players with the necessary tools and confidence to spearhead the multitude of challenges that they will face after graduation. Mr. G, as he’s affectionately known, transcends the role of a teacher; he’s a dedicated mentor, guiding newer teachers with advice on how to develop engaging and demanding lessons. Humble and committed, Mr. G’s influence has shaped Imagine Prep Superstition’s educational environment, making him an invaluable asset to his school and community.