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Booker Middle School Teacher Receives a 2018 Penguin Random House Foundation Grant

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Joanna Fox

SARASOTA COUNTY, December 4, 2018 – Booker Middle School is proud to announce that Joanna Fox has been selected as the recipient of the Penguin Random House Foundation‘s 2018 Maya Angelou Teacher Award for Poetry, one of the organization’s annual “Teacher Awards for Literacy”.

These awards aim to recognize the nation’s most dynamic and resourceful teachers who use creativity to inspire and successfully instill a love of reading in their students. The competition is open to both full and part-time teachers in public schools across the United States. The winners are awarded grants to help further their innovative reading programs and to help disseminate them to other teachers around the country. Fox, who was awarded a $10,000 grant for her Dragon Fly Café program, was recently honored at the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) Annual Convention in Houston, Texas.

“These awards celebrate the creativity, innovation and passion to further the work these teachers do each day,” commented NCTE President Jocelyn Chadwick. “Their students benefit, their schools benefit and we in the profession benefit whenever a light is shined on the brilliance of teachers.”

“We are so proud of Joanna,” said Dr. LaShawn Frost, principal of Booker Middle School. “She is a visionary educator committed to the academic, civic and emotional success of all her students. I am thrilled that teachers across the country will benefit from Ms. Fox’s creativity and passion for student achievement.”

“I am very honored to receive this distinctive award,” said Joanna Fox, creative writing teacher. “I want all my students to feel inspired and valued, not only in the classroom but also in everyday life. Exposure to poetry, and other forms of the written word, enables young people to connect with others beyond their own individual experiences. It is exciting to think that the Dragon Fly Café could bring joy and understanding to even more students ahead.”   

About Penguin Random House

Penguin Random House, the world’s largest trade book publisher, is dedicated to its mission of nourishing a universal passion for reading by connecting authors and their writing with readers everywhere. The company, which employs more than 10,000 people globally, was formed on July 1, 2013, by Bertelsmann and Pearson, who own 75 percent and 25 percent, respectively. With nearly 275 independent imprints and brands on five continents, Penguin Random House comprises adult and children’s fiction and nonfiction print and digital English- and Spanish language trade book publishing businesses in more than 20 countries worldwide. With over 15,000 new titles, and close to 800 million print, audio and eBooks sold annually, Penguin Random House’s publishing lists include more than 60 Nobel Prize laureates and hundreds of the world’s most widely read authors.   

About Sarasota County Schools

Sarasota County Schools is committed to providing unrivaled academic, emotional and civic growth to every student, every day. As one of the leading employers on the Suncoast, Sarasota County Schools boasts 53 schools that expertly cater to the diverse needs of over 43,000 students. We are one of two Florida school districts to consistently earn an A-grade every year since 2004. Our passionate educators empower students to take charge of their academic and personal success, a practice we believe fosters lifelong growth and achievement. We actively maintain the district’s tradition of excellence and ensure that tradition extends to all students. Our commitment to our students extends beyond graduation to make sure they not only graduate on time, but do so college and career ready. Want to take your student’s education to the next level? Connect with us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, or visit


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