Purpose-Driven Rosarian Academy Teacher, Mildred Acosta, Wins Palm Beach Illustrated’s Educator of the Year Award

Purpose-Driven Rosarian Academy Teacher, Mildred Acosta, Wins Palm Beach Illustrated’s Educator of the Year Award

Rosarian Academy Fourth Grade Teacher Mildred Acosta’s passion for educating elementary students took her from West Palm Beach to Kenya in the summer of 2022 and then onto the stage at The Ben on Thursday night to accept the 2023 Educator of the Year Award from Palm Beach Illustrated. Mrs. Acosta earned this award after being named one of six finalists in Palm Beach Illustrated’s annual competition. From July 15-31, an online vote was held, and Mrs. Acosta was announced as the winner during Palm Beach Illustrated’s two-hour event on September 7. 

“It is an honor to have received The Educator of the Year award,” Mrs. Acosta said, “I’m thankful to the Rosarian Academy community for all their support and encouragement. I feel blessed every morning knowing I will be doing a job I love. I aspire to continue making a difference in my students’ lives.”  

In her more than a decade of experience, Mrs. Acosta has focused on meeting each of her students’ needs while also instilling values such as kindness, service, and respect that will serve as their foundation for the rest of their lives. In the classroom, this has translated to customizing her lesson plans to be meaningful for her students, often incorporating their interests or hobbies to help engage them in the material. In this way, Mrs. Acosta allows a child’s unique passions to enhance their ability to achieve.

Purpose-Driven Rosarian Academy Teacher, Mildred Acosta, Wins Palm Beach Illustrated’s Educator of the Year Award
(from left to right) – Rosarian Academy Second Grade Teacher, Claudia Paiz; Director of Lower School and Early Childhood, Keller Lanahan; Mildred Acosta; Fourth Grade Teacher Katherine Murphy; and Head of School, Dr. Linda Trethewey

On a personal level, Mrs. Acosta has seen how her passion for education and the environment has made a lasting impact. In the summer of 2022, accompanied by her son, Rosarian 8th Grade student, Santino Merchan, Mrs. Acosta embarked on a “dream” trip to Kenya to collaborate with educators at the Kijana Global Innovation School on how to achieve greater outcomes for their students. Partnering with the founding organization of the school, the Kijana Educational Empowerment Initiative, Mrs. Acosta modeled phonics lessons for its educators and guided them in how to differentiate instruction and implement hands-on activities for their students. She also taught lessons with environmental themes, including an environmental awareness lesson centered around Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax.

Mrs. Acosta’s passion for the environment continues at Rosarian Academy today. She has been involved with incorporating gardening into her students’ science curriculum dating back several years. Now, the program has grown and partnered with Fresh Rx to teach organic, sustainable gardening techniques to students in Grades 1-6. Additionally, through the gardening program, age-appropriate science lessons, ranging from nutrition and the life cycle of plants to barometric pressure readings, the effects of weather patterns on plants, and nitrogen testing the soil are incorporated into the science curriculum. 

Among those in attendance at The Ben Thursday night were Rosarian Academy Head of School, Dr. Linda Trethewey, and Director of the Lower School and Early Childhood, Keller Lanahan. 

“We are proud not only of this great achievement by Mrs. Acosta but also of the remarkable work she does to build up her students each day and provide them with the educational foundation they will lean on for success the rest of their lives,” Dr. Trethewey said. “All of us at Rosarian Academy will celebrate this win with Mrs. Acosta. Our team couldn’t be happier for her, and I couldn’t be prouder of the incredible team we have at the school. From the administration to the faculty and staff, we have an inspiring group of educators dedicated to making a positive difference in the lives of our students.” 

Purpose-Driven Rosarian Academy Teacher, Mildred Acosta, Wins Palm Beach Illustrated’s Educator of the Year Award
Dr. Linda Trethewey and Rosarian Academy Guidance Counselor, Joy VanDyke, who served on the program’s Mental Health in Schools panel

Also represented at the Palm Beach Illustrated Educator of the Year Awards Ceremony was Rosarian Academy’s STEM program, which was also named a finalist in the competition. Rosarian Academy’s Guidance Counselor, Joy VanDyke, sat on a panel discussion about mental health in schools as part of the September 7 program. 

Rosarian Academy, founded in 1925, educates students from early childhood through eighth grade and offers an exceptionally strong academic program enriched by athletics, visual and performing arts, and community service opportunities. The independent, Catholic school founded by the Adrian Dominican Sisters is located on Flagler Drive in downtown West Palm Beach.  Bus service is available throughout Palm Beach County. For more information, visit www.rosarian.org or call 561.345.3106.