Educators change the lives of millions of children every day, guiding them and making an impact that extends beyond the walls of a classroom. While we appreciate educators all year, Teachers Federal Credit Union is excited to give back through its 3rd Annual Teacher Appreciation Week Contest. 

After receiving more than 5,000 votes from across the nation, we are happy to announce the nine educators who will receive a 2023 Teacher Appreciation Week Contest Classroom Grant. 

Congratulations to our winners! Your outstanding contribution to education is an inspiration! Best wishes as you continue to make a meaningful mark on future generations.


Grades Pre-K - 5 Winners

1st Place Grades Pre-K - 5
Osvaldo Juarez Fuentes
Bay/Canaan Elementary School – Patchogue, New York

Photo of Osvaldo Juarez Fuentes

Osvaldo Juarez Fuentes is a music teacher in several elementary schools in his school district. His love for music and the arts shines through in all students he teaches. Mr. Juarez's teaching methods draw his students into his love of music.

“In my classroom, we address aspects of technology, reading, writing, vocabulary, math, science, social studies, and even foreign language in a fluent way right along with the musical content. Not only do we connect with all of these core subject areas, but I also make sure to point out these connections to students so that they can see that music is related to everything they do.”

2nd Place Grades Pre-K - 5
Samantha Rodriguez
Greenport Elementary School – Greenport, New York

Photo of Samantha Rodriquez

Samantha Rodriguez demonstrates the importance of giving students a feeling of belonging and love, to nurture their ability to learn and grow. She is committed to her students and always there to support parents who struggle to help their children.

“I believe that building relationships with students is the foundation of effective teaching, as it allows me to understand their unique learning styles, interests, and needs. By creating a positive and supportive learning environment that fosters creativity, exploration, and fun, I believe that I can help my students reach their full potential and develop a lifelong love of learning.”

3rd Place Grades Pre-K - 5
Traci Wright
Dorothy C. York Innovation Academy – Apollo Beach, Florida

Photo of Traci Wright

Traci Wright recognizes the struggles of her students and works to create a path for them to achieve success. Ms. Wright advocates for her students with a passion, coordinating meetings and creating plans for each of her students to succeed.

“I have learned that the power of my teaching hinges on my belief that all children have strengths and needs. I sincerely believe that our rapport with families can be an asset. Empowering parents with an understanding of how the system works is just as important as focusing on what makes their child a success.”

Grades 6-8 Winners

1st Place Grades 6 - 8
Sarah DeVita
East Middle School – Brentwood, New York

Photo of Sarah DeVita

As an English and ENL teacher, Sarah DeVita shows students that their words hold the power to change the world. She developed a curriculum for the English department to utilize, mentored student teachers, and continues to advocate for students and their families.

“I believe that every child offers something great and it’s my duty as an educator to help them develop and recognize their potential. Comfortability and positive affirmations are imperative to build student confidence, which then creates the leaders of our future. The relationship between the teacher and students should go beyond the classroom, connecting with families and the community, building tolerance, and displaying empathy.”

2nd Place Grades 6 - 8
Glenn Kubik
East Northport Middle School – East Northport, New York

Photo of Glenn Kubik

Glenn Kubik has made a lasting impact on students, parents, and the community. Named a hero by Pete Alonso of the New York Mets for his work in the community, he is seen at nearly every school activity and believes that he is his students’ teacher for life.

“I want to share my passion for math with students and help them see the importance of learning math concepts. My philosophy is to make learning fun and engaging, to inspire students to love mathematics the way that I love the subject, and to meet the needs of all types of learners.”

3rd Place Grades 6 - 8
Quincy Johnson
Lumberton Junior High School – Lumberton, North Carolina

Photo of Quincy Johnson

Quincy Johnson has been a teacher for 40 years in varying schools throughout Georgia and North Carolina. He believes that teaching is a lifetime commitment and that he is not only educating about academics but the skills of life. As a social studies and homeroom teacher, and basketball, volleyball, track and field, and softball coach, he is dedicated to developing well-rounded students.

“I became a teacher to help young people advance in life. Teaching is about discovering students' talents and skills and maximizing these potentials in order to prepare them for life.“

Grades 9-12 Winners

1st Place Grades 9 - 12
Christopher Toomey
Mineola High School – Garden City Park, New York

Photo of Sarah DeVita

Christopher Toomey directs the award-winning Mineola High School Marching Band and 8th-grade band, teaches college-level and AP music theory classes, and leads a Wind Ensemble he established.

“A Teacher’s mission is to teach life lessons through the subject matter. I want every learner in my class and marching band to be able to contribute positively toward a global society. That includes lessons on teamwork, goal setting, self-improvement, independence, and strategically defining roadblocks and methodically overcoming them. It is of the utmost importance to me that my class/band take these lessons and apply them effectively to any and all aspects of their life.”

2nd Place Grades 9 - 12
Meredith Long
John Adams – Ozone Park, New York

Photo of Meredith Long

Meredith Long has done extensive work with social-emotional programs and brought them to her school for a more empathetic learning experience that considers a student's entire well-being. Ms. Long has also helped coordinate donations of track shoes, gymnasium supplies, and more to schools within the NYC DOE.

“I believe that everyone is capable. Sometimes it takes finding a different path to ultimately finding success, and I’m very much invested in helping students find their route.”

3rd Place Grades 9 - 12
Tonya Floyd
Middleton High School – Tampa, Florida

Photo of Tonya Floyd

Tonya Floyd empowers diversity and works with girls that need direction and guidance, teaching them to see the good in everything. She is a STEM leader and mentor for high school students, she brings out the success in each student.

“I became a teacher to nurture and guide students to their life's pathway; to be a beacon of light for them to reach their full potential. Every student has the capacity to learn, and he/she should be afforded the opportunity to capitalize on their own skill set and participate in rigorous instruction to define their individual Why.”


Nominations can be submitted via You must be 18 years or older to submit a nomination. Checks will be made payable to the schools of the winning teachers. Please allow up to 2 weeks for a check to be made payable to the selected schools. A W-9 form must be filled out by the winner's school and be placed on file with Teachers Federal Credit Union upon receipt of funds. Not limited to any state or school district. Winners selected will have their photo taken. Winners grant Teachers Federal Credit Union the right to use any images, name, voice/video, recordings and any contest submissions in all forms of media, for all legal purposes, including but not limited to advertising, trade, or any commercial purpose through the world and in perpetuity. The contest is not applicable for Teachers employees.