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LAKE WALES – Eight Lake Wales Charter Schools staff were recognized as “Shining Stars” during a board meeting at Edward W. Bok Academy South on Sept. 23.

“These folks have done some amazing work,” Lake Wales Charter Schools Superintendent Dr. Jesse Jackson said. “We are so glad to be able to recognize them.”

Emily Sharpless was named as a Shining Star of Bok Academy South, a teacher who has worked hard on the school agricultural program and Future Farmers of America club.

“We appreciate her, she is doing an amazing job,” Bok Academy South Principal Dr. Damien Moses said.

Brandi Hanrahan is a senior fifth grade teacher at Dale R Fair Babson Park Elementary. Principal Elizabeth Tyler said Hanrahan helped raise math test scores last year and that she has been a leader, helping teachers with less experience improve skills.

Kim Griffiths of Hillcrest Elementary has been a big part of school grade improvements over the past few years, according to her principal.

“She is inspiring.” Principal Jennifer Barrow said. “I don't have the words to describe this amazing woman and I couldn't do this job without her.”

Esmeralda Garcia is a new kindergarten teacher at Janie Howard Wilson Elementary who started out as a substitute teacher last year.

“She is a natural born teacher,” Principal Dr. Linda Ray said.

Emily Little of Polk Avenue Elementary was described as a mentor to colleagues and a woman with a positive attitude who has great rapport with her students.

“We are proud of the work she is doing,” Principal Gail Quam said. “She is an amazing shining star and we are blessed to have her on our staff.”

Tammy Farrow of Edward W. Bok Academy North is an assistant to principal Donna Drisdom.

“Tammy has a heart of gold and she is very passionate about her students. I love her,” Drisdom said. “Tammy, I couldn't do it without you.”

Marvin Pavy is a math teacher at Lake Wales High School who recently volunteered to coach football at Bok Academy.

“Marvin is incredible,” Principal Donna Dunson said. “He does so many things and with such grace and a gentle nature.”

Recently retired as Director of Nursing since 2004, Paula Alford was credited for multiple home visits over the years and helping Lake Wales Charter Schools hire their first social worker.


Contact Charles A. Baker III at


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