Keyword for this page: Awards


The Polk County School Board has many events and programs celebrating the accomplishments and hard work of our staff, community partners and students from both the present and the past. The following recognition events are coordinated by the Department of Public Relations & Strategic Partnerships.

32nd Annual Hall of FameHall of Fame

The Polk County Schools Hall of Fame was created in 1985 to recognize former students of Polk County Public Schools who have gone on to distinguish themselves in their careers or communities. Since its inception, the Hall of Fame has inducted over 100 former students. Hall of Fame members have made significant professional contributions in the arts, business, clergy, education, entertainment, government, law, military, medicine, sports or other fields.

2015 Inductees

Congratulations to Otis Birdsong, Hollis Hooks, Deric Milligan and Benjamin Stevenson!

2015 Hall of Fame Inductees

The 2015 Hall of Fame sponsors were: AT&T, Polk Education Foundation and Publix Super Markets Charities.

Complete list of inductees with biographies »

Teacher and School-Related Employee of the YearTeacher and School-Related Employee of the Year

Jessica Solano, a third grade teacher at Highlands Grove Elementary, and Maria Gomez, an English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) paraprofessional at Bartow Senior High, took home the top prize during Polk County Public Schools’ 2016 Teacher of the Year, and School-Related Employee of the Year event.

The ceremony was held at The Lakeland Center. The winners, along with 12 finalists, received cash awards and other prizes from event sponsors.

Solano and Gomez were chosen from over 200 candidates who were nominated by individual schools throughout the Polk County School District. Judges included community members from local organizations and businesses, as well as past winners and finalists. Judges reviewed the applications without knowledge of applicant names or schools. Judging criteria included leadership and professional development activities, community and school involvement, and teaching style.

Both winners will move on to compete for the state Teacher of the Year and School-Related Employee of the Year titles.

Since the Teacher of the Year program began in 1968, Polk is proud to have twelve teachers become finalists for Florida's Teacher of the Year. Three of them won the title and one became a U.S. finalist.

Learn more and view 2016 honorees »


Volunteer of the Year Awards LogoOutstanding School Volunteer of the Year Program

The gift of time is precious, and volunteers are truly generous when it comes to investing this valuable resource in our schools and with our students.

This award ceremony acknowledges the crucial role school volunteers play in students’ lives and how they enrich our schools with their selfless dedication.

This event is made possible through the sponsorship of The Ledger and MIDFLORIDA Credit Union.

Learn more and view 2015 honorees »


About-Face Awards LogoAbout-Face Awards

The About-Face Award recognizes secondary students who have made a significant turn around in their behavior, academic achievement and attendance in school. One student from each middle and high school in the district receive the award annually at the awards program. Students are nominated by their school and receive a medallion for their success.

This event is made possible through the sponsorship of TECO Energy.

Learn more and view 2016 honorees »

Superintendent's Scholars Awards LogoSuperintendent's Scholars Awards

The top high school seniors from Polk County Public Schools take center stage at the annual Superintendent’s Scholars Awards.

The ceremony recognizes seniors for their outstanding educational achievements; Superintendent’s Scholars include graduating seniors who have earned a 3.8 GPA or higher by their seventh semester.

Each student has an opportunity to introduce themselves, announce their college or career plans, and receive a medallion as a symbol of their accomplishment to be worn at graduation.

Learn more »