FLVS Announces Teachers and Staff of the Year
Delivering high-quality digital learning requires a team of dedicated people. We are thrilled to recognize the following Florida Virtual School team members for their amazing contributions to student success.
Hali Van Reeth
Teacher of the Year
Hali Van Reeth was selected as the 2022 FLVS Teacher of the Year from more than 2,400 instructors. Ms. Van Reeth, an FLVS Flex Middle School Comprehensive Science Teacher, recognizes that the learning needs are different for each student and strives to help each student succeed. She works with at-risk students re-shaping their perspective of school and/or helping them through challenging experiences and/or times in their lives resulting in a positive and inspiring impact on each student. Ms. Van Reeth, who has been with FLVS for more than five years, also serves as a Lead Teacher and Academic Success Coach in her subject area.
“It is a privilege to be the FLVS 2022 Teacher of the Year. I’m honored to represent not only FLVS but the dedicated and caring teachers I work with every day!” said Ms. Van Reeth. “Last year, the world was faced with the outbreak of COVID-19. Students and families were challenged with becoming teachers and helping their children learn from home. FLVS was there, and is still here, doing what we know best: providing high-quality, flexible, individualized education to thousands of students and families seeking alternatives to traditional school. I couldn’t imagine a more humbling honor than representing our teachers demonstrating what an amazing educational organization FLVS is as we continue to serve the individualized needs of our students and families. We are all teachers of the year!”
Support Person of the Year
Mei-Ling Hickey has been a member of the FLVS team for more than 13 years and currently serves as a Training Specialist for our Florida franchise partners (Florida school districts that utilize FLVS courses and technology for online instruction). While Ms. Hickey’s official duties are limited to the needs of these FLVS franchise partners, she gladly stepped up and took on more responsibility when brick-and-mortar schools had to close their physical doors due to COVID-19 in March 2020. She assisted in the re-development of the franchise teacher training program to accommodate thousands of instructors across the state who needed to quickly master the skills required to reach their students online. After the course was launched for mass use, Ms. Hickey then led the live lessons, working with every enrolled teacher in an effort to support virtual education throughout the state.
“It’s a true honor and blessing to be recognized as FLVS Support Person of the Year! During the challenging year of 2020, a time of uncertainty for us all, I had the privilege of sharing who we are and what we do to support student success. Training thousands of teachers across the state of Florida provided me the opportunity to share tools, best practices, tips, and strategies to help teachers feel confident as they entered the virtual world of serving, teaching, and supporting student learning,” said Ms. Hickey. “This endeavor taught me so much, the teachers inspired me, and I am grateful to my incredible FLVS teammates for making it all possible. I love being part of our FLVS family and culture, and I dedicate this honor to each of my FLVS colleagues!”
Principal of the Year
Dominique Baroco, a nine-year veteran of FLVS, is the Principal/Instructional Leader who oversees the Chinese and French teams for FLVS Flex. She is a servant leader, an energetic champion of individual student success, and a pioneer of creative learning opportunities. Ms. Baroco has seamlessly led her team in helping students find their pathways to success by implementing a collaborative intervention process involving each individual student, parent, classroom teacher, and lead teacher.
“I am honored and humbled to be recognized as the Principal of the Year for Florida Virtual School. I have tremendous respect and gratitude for the teachers and mentors who have shaped me over the years, and the generous hearts and adept minds of all my colleagues, especially our teachers, inspire me in our shared mission,” said Ms. Baroco. “Alongside such admirable educators, it remains a daily privilege to speak to students, hear their stories and support their growth. When I look around at all those committed to providing a transformative education and personalizing it to every student, I see a bright future for our children, their learning and their possibilities.”
Assistant Principal of the Year
Keith Mercer joined FLVS in 2016 as a member of the pilot team for the FLVS Full Time Middle School. He and his team spent that first year managing the learning curve of this brand-new project, tracking results, and creating methods for improvement going forward. Mr. Mercer led his team to develop new live interactive lesson opportunities for students to keep them engaged and to help them learn and retain new material. His focus on cultivating learning in the classroom played an integral role in the “A” earned by the FLVS Full Time Middle School for the 2019-20 school year.
“I am incredibly honored to represent Florida Virtual School as the 2021 Assistant Principal of the Year. It is a privilege to serve our amazing staff, students and their families each day,” said Mr. Mercer. “I am so thankful to be surrounded by the most dedicated and hardworking educators in Florida.”
The Florida Department of Education celebrates thousands of outstanding professional educators and support personnel in Florida and the contributions they make to schools and districts. Learn more about the Teacher of Year program and related initiatives through the Florida Department of Education.