- October 24, 2019
The four Stellar winners honored during an Orange County Public Schools gala at Rosen Shingle Creek Feb. 10 were chosen from among the best teachers, support personnel, principals and assistant principals in Orange County’s public schools. One of the four is Robert Strength, principal of Prairie Lake Elementary.
They were recognized in a ceremony that also celebrated more than 450 honorees and 16 finalists from across 210 schools and other departments.
“Hats off to all of the honorees, finalists and our four amazing districtwide winners,” said Superintendent Maria F. Vazquez. “It’s exciting to see more men have entered the education profession, where many are excelling and serving as great role models for all of our students.”
Strenth is known for championing his staff and students and serving everyone he encounters. He points to his upbringing as shaping him into the educator he is today. Strenth and his mother, who didn’t finish high school, moved frequently. He grew up without a hometown or extended family and struggled with academics.
Strenth decided to become a changemaker after he graduated from high school. He said he pursued an education career because he wanted to be the teacher he never had as a child.
Other winners were Francisco Cardoza, fifth-grade teacher at Village Park Elementary; Alex Rodriguez, bilingual paraprofessional at Vista Pointe Elementary; and John Miller, former assistant principal of Meadowbrook Middle.
The winners will represent OCPS in upcoming state-level contests, including 2024 Florida Teacher of the Year, 2024 Florida School Related Employee of the Year, the 2023 Florida Department of Education Principal Achievement Award for Outstanding Leadership and the 2023 Florida Department of Education Outstanding Assistant Principal Achievement Award.