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FPC's Jim Gambone, Food and Nutritional Services' Judy Gallo named Flagler County's Teacher, Employee of the Year - FlagSpin

FPC’s Jim Gambone, Food and Nutritional Services’ Judy Gallo named Flagler County’s Teacher, Employee of the Year

You might think after being honored as Flagler County’s Teacher of the Year, Flagler Palm Coast math teacher Jim Gambone would go home and celebrate.

But that is not what Gambone had in mind.

“I do tutoring every night,” he said following Flagler Schools’ Teacher and Employee of the Year Gala on Thursday, Jan. 20 at Flagler Auditorium. “Actually, I’m late right now. I have to get back and do so some tutoring.”

The theme for the gala was “A Year of Heroes.” Gambone and Employee of the Year Judy Gallo of Food and Nutritional Services were appropriately given Superman capes to wear after Superintendent Cathy Mittelstadt announced their selections from among the district’s nominees.

Mittelstadt said the past two-plus years have been challenging for educators. “You have risen to the challenge when facing all that has been swirling around us. That is why we chose the “Year of Heroes” theme,” she wrote in the gala program’s introduction.

Gambone and Gallo will now represent Flagler County for statewide honors.

The gala honored the 11 Teacher of the Year nominees and 17 Employee of the Year nominees as well Principal of the Year Cara Cronk of Buddy Taylor Middle School and Assistant Principal of the Year Amy Neuenfeldt of Indian Trails Middle School. Cronk and Neuenfeldt’s selections were announced earlier in the school year.

Gambone is a product of Flagler County. He attended Bunnell Elementary School, Belle Terre Middle School (before it was renamed for Buddy Taylor, the school’s first principal) and FPC, where he graduated in 1990. Gambone returned to FPC as a teacher in 2000.

Since then, in addition to being a math teacher, he has coached football and basketball and taught driver’s education. He started the girls flag football program at the school and is still the team’s coach.

His online math tutoring program attracts up to 50 students or more a night.

“Jim Gambone has a way of connecting with students,” Mittelstadt said. “He seeks out those who may be struggling in math and is able to get them to succeed. He’s got the ability to get those kids to see that they are learning skills that will serve them well long after they graduate.”

Gambone said he was surprised to win the honor.

“I’ve been here for 21 years and I never for one day thought I’d win Teacher of the Year,” he said. “So for me to win it for the whole county is amazing. It’s truly an amazing thing, the feeling to get that respect from everyone else. I really enjoyed that.”

Before opening the envelope and reading Gambone’s name, Mittelstadt said the Teacher of the Year winner will have “big shoes to fill” replacing 2021-22 Teacher of the Year Khady Harmon, a chemistry and French teacher at Matanzas High. Gambone agreed.

“I’ve been here for 21 years and I never for one day thought I’d win Teacher of the Year.”


“I was reading the story of the previous Teacher of the Year, and it was incredible,” he said. “I don’t think I could top that, but I’ll do my best. I’ll definitely represent Flagler County as best I can.”

Gallo said she was also surprised to be named the district’s Employee of Year.

“First, I was elected to be the employee from my department, and that was very exciting for me,” she said. “And then the thought that I would be the overall Employee of the Year, it’s kind of odd, because I feel like I’m just doing my job. It is nice to be honored for that, but it’s just what I do.”

Gallo is an area manager for Food and Nutritional Services. She has worked in the department for 18 years.

“I started at the low level washing dishes,” she said. “I still wash dishes today.”

She said the pandemic has posed the most difficult challenges during her tenure. The department’s employees continued to make meals for families for pickup during remote learning in 2020. Now they are dealing with supply-chain issues, Gallo said.

“But we’re going to make sure that we get our kids fed,” she added.  “And all my staff do a wonderful job to accomplish that.”

“When you read what her peers say about her, it is jaw-dropping,” Mittelstadt said. “She doesn’t just go the extra mile for fellow employees or students, she’ll go any distance to help meet their needs.”

All of the nominees were recognized. School bus driver James Egan, who died in a motorcycle crash Oct. 5, was the Employee of the Year nominee for Transportation. Two of his family members took his place on stage.

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Travis Burnett

Travis Burnett

A pioneer in the flag football community, Travis helped co-found the Flag Football World Championship Tour, FlagSpin and USA Flag. Featuring 15+ years of content creation for the sport of flag football, creating and managing the largest flag football tournaments on the planet, coaching experience at the youth and adult level as well as an active player with National and World Championship level experience.

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