TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Some of Florida's best teachers say they are hopeful and excited about the direction of the state's education system.
Gov. Rick Scott hosted Florida's first Teacher of the Year Summit at the state Capitol on Thursday.
The summit invited more than 40 district Teachers of the Year to offer their ideas for the future of education and listen to ideas from their colleagues.
Duval County Teacher of the Year Apryl Shackelford said she was "beyond excited" about this opportunity to talk with some of the best teachers in Florida.
"Excited about meeting the teachers from around the state of Florida from different districts, as well as learning the best practices that make them unique in their classroom."
Teachers expressed concerns about the scope of reform in Florida over the last decade and the intense focus on reading and math, sometimes at the expense of other subjects.
But they applauded the state's new education philosophy of preparing students for college and careers by teaching them the necessary skills for today's jobs.
Hillsborough County Teacher of the Year Cassandra Mattison said she heard some new ideas at the summit and she liked what she heard from Gov. Scott.
"I'm very, very hopeful hearing that his goals are really some of the same ones that I think we all share. We want Florida to be number one because that's not only going to make our schools great, but it's going to make our job force and our workforce competitive in a society that's changing rapidly and the way to do it is through our schools and he's supportive of that and that excites me."
Gov. Scott told teachers that Florida's students are competing for jobs today against students from all over the world in a global marketplace. He said business is changing so rapidly that the expectations for employees are much higher and Florida's students will have to perform at a higher level to succeed.
The governor said that ratchets up the pressure on teachers.
"I think your jobs are hard because the pressure is so significant and you can't even tell what's going to happen 10 years down the road. But we do know it's going to change a lot. I'm proud of our teachers. I'm proud of our principals, our superintendents. We've made a lot of progress but there's going to be a lot of things that we are going to have to continue to get better at because we're competing in a global economy and people all around the world are competing for our jobs and I want those jobs in Florida."
The 2014 Florida Teacher of the Year will be named next month in Orlando.