Lee County Schools names “Mr. T” teacher of the year

CREATED Feb. 13, 2014

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FORT MYERS, Fla. – Lee County Schools Superintendent Nancy Graham surprised a deserving elementary school teacher at Rayma C. Page with the county’s top honor for teachers today.

Jason Thomashefsky – he’s the man with the crazy name and the man of the hour.

If a last name like that isn’t enough to get you to remember him, his creative teaching style sure is.

‘Mr. T’ is what the kids call him; it’s a lot easier for them to say.

That’s not all the kids had to say about him, though.

Diego Garcia, a fifth grader at Rayma C. Page Elementary school, is learning how to play the trumpet in Mr. T’s class.

Garcia describes the teacher as “a kind person, very funny.”

Garcia isn’t the only one that thinks Mr. T’s pretty cool; his classmate Donald Anderson also had nothing but good stuff to say.

“Always is funny. Kind, courteous…he’s the best,” said Anderson.

That kindness and creativity earned Mr. T quite the surprise today during class.

Lee County Superintendent of Schools Nancy Graham presented the award to the third-year teacher, he didn’t have a clue it was coming.

Mr. T teaches music to grades K through 5 at Rayma C. Page.

“I’m extremely engaging,” said Mr. T, ”I don’t let my kids sit around and do nothing. It’s a hand on approach to everything.”

That’s what makes Mr. To so popular, something he’s not shy to admit.

“If you announced this right now, you would hear a roar of applause,” said Mr. T.

That’s exactly what happened next.

Susan Caputo, principal of Rayma C. Page Elementary school, made the building-wide announcement after Mr. T received the award.

She also just happens to be Mr. T’s biggest fan!

“He’s the role model for them,” said Mrs. Caputo, “Passion – that’s what he has.”

That passion earned Mr. T the County’s top honor for teachers, something he doesn’t take lightly.

“I am very passionate about what I do,” said Mr. T, “this is such an honor and very humbling.”

Superintendent Graham says Mr. T was handpicked from about 40 other nominated teachers.

Five other teachers were also recognized today as finalists for the Lee County Schools Teacher of the Year award.