SDIRC Names Teacher and Employee of the Year




Contact: Cristen Maddux

Telephone: 772-564-5527




January 18, 2019

Vero Beach, FL, January 18, 2019- The School District of Indian River County (SDIRC) held their annual “Stars of the Year” Gala on Monday, January, 14, at the Vero Beach High School Performing Arts Center.

At the conclusion of the program, our five Teacher of the Year finalists and five Employee of the Year finalists were brought up on stage, honored with bouquets and boutonnieres, and anxiously awaited the announcement of the winner of the 2020 Teacher of the Year and 2019 Employee of the Year. Superintendent Dr. Mark Rendell, and Board Chairman, Laura Zorc opened each envelope to announce the names of Dr. Nicole Mosblech, Teacher of the Year from Vero Beach High School, and Daisy Rios, Employee of the Year from Fellsmere Elementary School. Presenting Sponsor MIDFLORIDA Credit Union’s Lisa Thomas, Area Manager, and Carrie Anderson, Local Branch Manager, took the stage to hand our teacher of the year winner a check for $5,000 and our employee of the year winner a check for $2,500.

“The Teacher and Employee of the Year Gala was such a wonderful way to recognize the outstanding work of the staff members in the School District of Indian River County,” said School Board Vice-Chairman, Tiffany Justice. “This event provided a fun and exciting opportunity to get to know our employees on an even deeper level, to stand shoulder to shoulder and acknowledge the awesome impact they are having on the students in our district. Congratulations, to Daisy Rios and Nicole Mosblech, and thank you to ALL of our teachers and employees for their hard work and dedication to unfolding the full potential of every student in our schools.”

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   Dr. Nicole Mosblech, 2020 SDIRC Teacher of the Year

Nicole first got into education teaching English in South Korea, through a Fulbright Scholarship. This was in 2003-2004 after graduating with her Bachelor's Degree from the University of Scranton. When she returned to the States, she realized how much she loved the education field, and moved to Sebastian with her future husband in January 2005. Nicole was hired at the Vero Beach High School (VBHS) Freshman Learning Center to teach science very soon after moving to Sebastian. She took a 5-year hiatus from 2007-2012 to pursue a doctorate in ecology at Florida Institute of Technology, where she studied how climate and plant communities changed in the Andean forests of Peru and Ecuador over the last 1,500 years. Nicole knew she wanted to return to teaching at the high school level after receiving her Ph.D., and was lucky enough to return to the VBHS family in the fall of 2012. Dr. Mosblech been teaching there ever since, getting her dream job of teaching environmental science and helping students to become “global citizens” who learn how to be better stewards of our planet. Nicole teaches AP and Honors-level Environmental Science (11-12th grade), as well as Honors Chemistry (10th grade). She is also the sponsor for the VBHS Green Team and the Q+ Acceptance Club at the high school. Nicole’s husband, Eric, is a Spanish teacher, also at VBHS, and at home, they have two sons, Kieran (6) and Lucas (2).

Dr. Nicole Mosblech, Teacher of the Year, said, “Being chosen as the Teacher of the Year is an experience that I can’t easily put into words, but I’ll try! The amount of support, enthusiasm, encouragement, and love I’ve received is overwhelming and absolutely a reflection of why I earned this award. Every day, I’m inspired by the people with whom I share my time—my amazing colleagues and students. My motivation each day is to be a positive influence on those individuals, whether it’s sharing knowledge, sharing frustrations, or sharing kind words and laughter, and to be a positive influence for the community as a whole, improving sustainability and reducing environmental impacts. I consider myself extremely fortunate, and I am humbled, to be chosen as a representative of my VBHS and SDIRC families.”

Shawn O’Keefe, Principal at Vero Beach High School, added, “Vero Beach High School is so proud that our own Dr. Nicki Mosblech was selected from the five finalists to be Indian River County’s Teacher of the Year 2020. Her academic contributions to her students in her environmental science and chemistry classes is second to none, and she is very active in our community with environmental initiatives and getting students involved in those efforts. She is representative of so many outstanding teachers in our school district who share her zeal for education. Dr. Mosblech is so deserving of this honor and will represent our school district and community very well at the State level competition.”

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    Daisy Rios 2019 SDIRC Employee of the Year

Daisy Rios was born in Texas, but raised in Fellsmere. Her parents were migrant workers, so Daisy had the opportunity to attend different schools between Texas and Florida. Her family decided to call Fellsmere home in 2000. Daisy earned her Associates degree from Hillsborough Community College in Tampa where she lived for a few years. She has been married to her husband for ten years and they have a seven-year old son, Esteban. Daisy has been working as a secretary at Fellsmere Elementary for almost four years now. She has participated as a coach for Girls on the Run, a teacher assistant in Moonshot Academy, and has had the privilege to give back to her community, as she once was a student, herself, at Fellsmere Elementary.

Daisy Rios, Employee of the Year, said, “I am both overjoyed and humbled to be the SDIRC Employee of the Year! I am so proud to be able to represent our incredible school, our community, and my fellow, amazing colleagues at Fellsmere Elementary.”

Ramon Echeverria, Principal of Fellsmere Elementary School, stated, “Last night, Mrs. Daisy Rios was selected as the Indian River School District Employee of the Year! Obviously, Fellsmere Elementary is proud of this brilliant accomplishment! Mrs. Rios is the epitome of service and integrity at all levels and with everyone she encounters. She is a true role model for our students at Fellsmere and we are blessed to have her presence on our staff.

The theme of this year’s Gala was, “You’re out of this world,” and the festivities included an audience who was ready to GLOW! MIDFLORIDA Credit Union was our Presenting Sponsor this year, providing over $12,000 of support to our event, including teacher and employee of the year prize money. Prior to our event on Monday evening, teachers and employees of the year, and a significant other, were treated to a private dinner party at Captain Hiram’s Tiffany Room, sponsored by Napier and Rollin Attorneys at Law.

Twenty-three Teachers of the Year and twenty-four Employees of the Year were recognized at the Gala, as they walked across the stage to shake the hands of the SDIRC Board Members and Superintendent Mark Rendell. Behind each teacher and employee was a personalized slide show displaying our “Stars of the Year” logo and a headshot of each honoree provided by Dean Stewart Photography. The energy was kept high all night with a variety of music by “DJay Barwick” of Barwick Entertainment, including a black light dance break that was enjoyed by all.

Performances during the show included the Dodgertown Elementary Music Honors, under the direction of Mr. Ti’Rhon Parks, with a Trans-Siberian Orchestra “Carol of the Bells” glow performance, and the Sebastian River High School drumline’s glowing masquerade cadence sequence, under the direction of Mr. Doug Moser.

If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Cristen Maddux at 772-564-5527 or via email at