INDIAN RIVER COUNTY - The School District of Indian River County held its annual “Stars of the Year” Gala on Jan. 14 at the Vero Beach High School Performing Arts Center.

At the conclusion of the program, Superintendent Mark Rendell and Board Chair Laura Zorc announced the winners of Teacher of the Year and Employee of the Year.

Dr. Nicole Mosblech from Vero Beach High School was named Teacher of the Year. Daisy Rios of Fellsmere Elementary School won Employee of the Year.

Dr. Mosblech won $5,000, and Ms. Rios won $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-Chair 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.”

Dr. Mosblech was hired at the Vero Beach High School Freshman Learning Center to teach science very soon after moving to Sebastian in 2005. She took a five-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 1,500 years.

After receiving her Ph.D., Dr. Mosblech returned to VBHS in 2012. Dr. Mosblech been teaching environmental science there ever since, helping students become “global citizens” who learn how to be better stewards of our planet.

Dr. Mosblech teaches AP and Honors-level Environmental Science (11-12th grade), and Honors Chemistry (10th grade). She is also the sponsor for the VBHS Green Team and the Q+ Acceptance Club at the high school.

“Being chosen as the Teacher of the Year is an experience that I can’t easily put into words,” said Dr. Mosblech. “The amount of support, enthusiasm, encouragement, and love I’ve received is overwhelming. 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.”

Daisy Rios, the 2019 SDIRC Employee of the Year, was born in Texas and raised in Fellsmere. Ms. Rios’ parents were migrant workers, so she attended different schools between Texas and Florida.

Ms. Rios’ family settled in Fellsmere in 2000. Ms. Rios earned her Associates degree from Hillsborough Community College in Tampa.

Ms. Rios has been working as a secretary at Fellsmere Elementary, where she was once a student, for four years. She has been a coach for Girls on the Run, a teacher assistant in Moonshot Academy.

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

Principal Ramon Echeverria of Fellsmere Elementary School said “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.”

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