Florida Voices: Lilliemarie Gore, Alachua County Teacher of the Year


This is Florida Voices, a series of ordinary Floridians with extraordinary stories.
Find more in our weekly podcast, The Point.
Do you know someone whose story should be told? Email news@wuft.org.

Lilliemarie Gore, 35, is the teacher every parent hopes their child has one day.

On Thursday night, she was announced as Alachua County’s teacher of the year.

Teaching the minds of Idylwild Elementary School’s fourth graders, she knows her mission extends far beyond the walls of her classroom.

Despite overcrowded and underfunded educational facilities, Gore expects nothing but excellence from her students. “I want to teach them how to be people, how to be great citizens,” Gore said. In addition to her daily teaching schedule, Gore also directs the 21st Century Learning program after school to give extra help to students interested in math, robotics, and writing.

Gore’s real mission, far beyond teaching the math and science lessons, is to make every student feel loved, capable, and confident.

“I just teach them how to love,” Gore said, “how to go through life with a positive attitude, and how to treat each other great. Not just treating people nice, but treating them great — going above and beyond.”

Acutely aware of her role in shaping students’ mindsets, Gore never misses an opportunity to reward positive behavior and hard work.
“I have to build that confidence. Then, when they succeed they get hungry, they want more, and more,” Gore said.
After her lesson, Gore takes a moment to plan at her desk while the students work independently to finish their daily activities.
“Everything that goes on in my world, I share with them. I tell them how it made me feel, how I handled it. So I lead by example.”
“I’m not gonna let you fail, but when you come into this classroom, you are going to be a problem solver, you are going to be a thinker.”

Find more Florida Voices in our weekly podcast, The Point. Know someone whose story should be told? Email news@wuft.org.

About Jessica Kate Holmer

Jessica is a reporter who can be reached by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news@wuft.org.

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