CRESTVIEW — Sarah Downs, Antioch Elementary School’s literacy coach, has been named the Okaloosa County school district’s elementary school Literacy Coach of the Year.


CRESTVIEW —   Sarah Downs, Antioch Elementary School’s literacy coach, has been named the Okaloosa County school district’s elementary school Literacy Coach of the Year. 



Superintendent Mary Beth Jackson presented the award during an April 26 literacy coach meeting.  



Downs trains Antioch teachers on new techniques for teaching the district’s evolving curriculum. She has prepared teachers for Common Core State Standards, a new form of computer-based testing, which the state is implementing. Common Core replaces the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test for the 2014-15 school year.



"Her knowledge, experience and passion more than qualify her for this honor. She has made great contributions to both the literacy coach cadre and Antioch Elementary School," Ann Flanagan, a reading specialist for the school district, said in an email.



Downs has worked in Okaloosa County since 2006, spending the last three years at Antioch.



"I can't imagine being anywhere else," she said. "They have made me feel like family."



Karen Ott, of Lewis School in Valparaiso, earned the secondary Literacy Coach the Year award.



Fellow literacy coaches working in the school district vote for the Literacy Coach of the Year.



Each county nominates one elementary and one secondary level coach for the state Literacy Coach of the Year award, presented by the Just Read, Florida initiative.  



Downs said the award reflects all the district literacy coaches’ efforts.



"We work really well together and support each other's ideas for how we present new information to teachers and improve student achievement across the district," she said. "I feel like we are all really hard workers and we are trying to do the best we can for Okaloosa County."



Contact News Bulletin Staff Writer Matthew Brown at 850-682-6524 or matthewb@crestviewbulletin.com. Follow him on Twitter @cnbMatthew.