Tarpon Springs band director Teacher of the Year finalist - WFLA News Channel 8

Tarpon Springs band director Teacher of the Year finalist

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Tarpon Springs High School Band Director Kevin Ford is one of five finalists in the statewide "Teacher of the Year" award program. Pinellas Co. Schools photo Tarpon Springs High School Band Director Kevin Ford is one of five finalists in the statewide "Teacher of the Year" award program. Pinellas Co. Schools photo
Tarpon Springs High School Band Director Kevin Ford is one of five finalists in the statewide "Teacher of the Year" award program. Pinellas Co. Schools photo Tarpon Springs High School Band Director Kevin Ford is one of five finalists in the statewide "Teacher of the Year" award program. Pinellas Co. Schools photo
Tarpon Springs High School Band Director Kevin Ford is one of five finalists in the statewide "Teacher of the Year" award program. Pinellas Co. Schools photo Tarpon Springs High School Band Director Kevin Ford is one of five finalists in the statewide "Teacher of the Year" award program. Pinellas Co. Schools photo
TARPON SPRINGS, FL (WFLA) -

Imagine being surprised with a $5,000 check. It happened to Tarpon Springs High School Band Director Kevin Ford.

Ford is in elite company. He is one of five finalists in the statewide "Teacher of the Year" award program. Florida Department of Education officials surprised Ford on Monday morning at school. They gave him a $5,000 check and told him that he's a finalist.

“Mr. Ford is the epitome of a master teacher. The creative and energetic learning environment he provides for his students instills a passion in them to be successful,” said Superintendent Michael A. Grego in a news release.

“We are thrilled that the Florida Department of Education has recognized Mr. Ford’s unsurpassed dedication to excellence in education with this prestigious honor.”

Ford is a 20-year veteran of Pinellas County Schools. He is also the founder of the nationally recognized Leadership Conservatory for the Arts at Tarpon Springs High School. The conservatory integrates curriculum in academics, instrumental music, technology and music skills.

Ford has garnered numerous local, state and national honors throughout his career. He was a finalist in the district’s Outstanding Educator of the Year recognition program in 1998, was named the Tarpon Springs Community Teacher of the Year in 1996 and 1997, and was the Tarpon Springs High School Teacher of the Year in 1997.

Under Ford's leadership, in 2009, the Tarpon Springs High School Marching Band was honored with the prestigious John Philip Sousan Sudler Shield Award, which is an international award that recognizes marching bands of world class excellence. In November, the marching band performed in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City.

In 2012, the city of Tarpon Springs declared Sept. 22, 2012 as Kevin Ford Day for his contributions to the school and the youth of the city.

The Florida Teacher of the Year award winner will be announced in July.

Copyright 2014 WFLA. All rights reserved.

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