Teacher of the year 2020: Adapting for health, finding ways to help

Heather Young
Heather Young | Venice Elementary School teacher and Sarasota County’s 2020 Teacher of the Year

Meet Heather Young, a teacher at Venice Elementary School and Sarasota County’s 2020 Teacher of the Year.

I know I’m not alone in acknowledging that 2020 has brought a sea of change, much of it unwelcome, that has made us adapt in ways we never anticipated.  

In December 2019, I experienced a highlight of my 23 years of teaching when I was named the Sarasota County 2020 Teacher of the Year. The announcement was made at a joyful celebration, provided by the Education Foundation of Sarasota County, honoring teachers from schools around the district.

It looked like 2020 was going to be a great year.  

But here I am, feeling frustrated, stopped temporarily from doing what I love – teaching. In a matter of months, I’ve gone from a professional high to a low point in morale, thanks to the life-altering pandemic and an underlying medical condition that places me at high risk.  

I have primary pulmonary hypertension. I don’t try to hide my condition, but neither do I publicize it. I never want it to be seen as an excuse for not being able to do something. 

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