Councilwoman Patricia Fairclough approached the podium on the night of the February City Council meeting to honor Desiree Chase, a teacher at Medical Academy for Science and Technology (MAST Academy), for winning the Miami-Dade County Public Schools Rookie Teacher of the Year award. There are about 20,000 teachers in the county, so it's a very competitive and selective process. The finalists are first selected by school and then by area. In order to be eligible to win, candidates must be within their first five years of teaching.
Coming from a family of educators, Ms. Chase believes that every lesson in a school year should be connected to one another. This allows for the students to develop critical studying skills needed for a successful college career. A graduate from the University of Florida, Ms. Chase is a member of the Education Committee, a proud Homestead resident and has been an example of academic excellence at MAST. One of her biggest achievements is developing one of the first high school level physical therapy program in Miami-Dade County. Ms. Chase acts as a professional development liaison and has partnered with Florida International University to bring guest speakers to her teaching curriculum. Councilwoman Fairclough expressed her deep admiration for Ms. Chase as a leader in Homestead, praising her skills as an outstanding teacher and her love for community involvement.
Councilwoman Patricia Fairclough, a past recipient of the Teacher of the Year award, alongside Councilman Elvis Maldonado and members of the Education Committee presented Ms. Chase with a Certificate of Appreciation, a Spa Package Certificate, and a Gift Card to Portofino Coal Fired Pizza. The Councilwoman’s remarks emphasized the critical importance of teachers in society. “It’s very important that all our community stakeholders take part in recognizing our teachers for the magic that happens in their classrooms every day. We are lucky to have you as a resident of Homestead and member of the education committee. Congratulations!”
Ms. Chase took the opportunity to thank the City of Homestead and closed the presentation on a personal note: “Something we say in my family about education, is that we do this for outcome, not income.” She said with pride, “Days like this, surrounded by such wonderful leaders of our community and receiving such an honor, makes it so much more worth it.”