Lee Ann Spillane

A National Board Certified Teacher, Lee Ann Spillane teaches English at Cypress Creek High School in Florida. "I love the everyday epiphanies of the classroom," Lee Ann says about her teaching life. "It is the rare student that strikes a poker face in class when understanding dawns—I love the expression, the wonder, the buildup of curiosity, the magic of being in the classroom. I love the moments of community when students come together over a topic or shared piece of writing, when they burst into spontaneous applause after someone reads a piece of writing, or secretly look up so that they don't cry—teenagers amaze me. I love being someone they can count on."

Lee Ann became a teacher as a compromise with her father, who wanted her to major in business. "I tried it, but my passion was art," she explains. When she was about to quit school and move home, her Dad "talked her down," and she turned to teaching. "I never did get that art degree, but I have found the art in teaching." During college, she also worked for a season as a wrangler at a ranch in Colorado, taking care of cabins, cooking for tourists, and wrangling llamas. "I've often thought in the years since that teaching freshmen is a lot like wrangling llamas."

As a doctoral student at the University of Central Florida, Lee Ann met Dr. Janet Allen, who became her advisor and mentor. "I credit Janet for much of what I learned about adolescent literacy. She taught me to read professional books and showed me the value of reading alongside my students. "

In addition to teaching English, Lee Ann is an avid technology mentor, providing one-on-one technology help or tech-infused workshops to teachers in her district and beyond. She often presents at local, state, and national conferences and seeks out learning opportunities that help her refine her own instructional practices.