SANTA ROSA BEACH, Fla. (WMBB) — It’s orientation week at South Walton High School.  This year faculty and staff can celebrate having one of the top educators in the state on staff. 

“I wear a lot of different hats,” said Mrs. Shelly Hinojosa.

Hinojosa is the media specialist at South Walton high school. But for 2023, she is also one of the Florida teachers of the year.  She was recognized as the Liz Moya Life Skills and Citizenship Award winner. The honor is given to a teacher that helps prepare students for their future. 

“I do a lot of work with the seniors, with the scholarship program, making sure that they get some scholarships and just the information that they’re interested in applying for those scholarships we help out with getting colleges here for the kids to talk with them, also career fairs, getting some businesses in here for the kids to learn from,” said Hinojosa.

School principal Dr. Alexis Tibbetts said she has known Hinojosa for 20 years and she deserves every bit of recognition. 

“She coordinates all of our technology. She teaches journalism and develops and helps create our yearbook. All the things she won’t tell you is how much she volunteers in this community and takes care of lots of other people other than just the students in school,” said Tibbetts.

The journalism teacher said being one of five to win a Teacher of the Year award was a big honor in her career.

Hinojosa said being at the state ceremony to share experiences with the other teachers gave her new tools to bring into this school year.

“I’ve learned so many things, just great things that are successful in other school districts. Districts are bigger than ours. Districts that are, you know, the same as us, Just getting all the feedback from what works for them,” said Hinojosa.  

Hinojosa took home the Walton County Teacher of the Year award in Jan. before going to the state ceremony in July. 

Classes start in Walton County on Thursday, Aug. 10.