Prairie Lake Elementary School teacher Sara Hudson has been honored as the Teacher of the Year for the 2023-24 Orange County Public Schools Stellar Awards.
Hudson has been a teacher for 11 years and currently is a fifth-grade English Language Arts teacher at Prairie Lake Elementary.
In her years teaching, Hudson said she has developed deep relationships with students and families that last.
“In my classroom, I say I don’t just enroll a student, I enroll their entire family,” she said. “We hung out on Wednesdays and went to the park and did relay races.”
Hudson creates a culture of high expectations and expects students to set goals. She also transforms her room into student-inspired locations, such as the jungle and an operating room.
“When you put the energy into it and you put the time into it, it can truly change the trajectory of a child’s life," she said. "And you won’t even know.”
OCPS honored 510 stellar teachers, support personnel, principals and assistant principals during a gala Friday, Feb. 2, at the Rosen Shingle Creek.
Four district-level winners were chosen from among the 16 finalists to represent the best of the best within the district at the state level. The honorees were selected from among 245 schools and departments.
Sponsors for the awards included Addition Financial and Cigna Healthcare.
“This year’s winners demonstrate the importance of relationships in our schools," OCPS Superintendent Dr. Maria F. Vasquez said. "They have all gone above and beyond to form bonds with students, families and school staff. They build community and encourage excellence. I congratulate all of our 510 honorees for making a lifetime of difference in the futures of thousands of students.”
The four winners will next represent OCPS in the 2025 state-level competitions for Florida’s Teacher of the Year, School-Related Employee of the Year, Principal Achievement Award for Outstanding Leadership and Outstanding Assistant Principal Achievement Award.
Video clips of the finalists and winners, as well as a link to the digital program, can be viewed here.