Grace Kellermeier, a UCF alumna and French teacher at New Smyrna Beach High School, was named Volusia County Schools’ Teacher of the Year for 2015.  

Kellermeier began teaching at New Smyrna Beach High in 1997 after earning her bachelor’s degree at Rutgers University, master’s at Stetson University and doctorate at UCF. Kellermeier, who has lived on three continents, also previously taught Spanish.

In order to enrich her students’ instruction, she invites people from the community to come into her classroom and speak to students in French, such as the owner of Mon Délice, a French bakery, who has read to her students and provided pastries so they have the opportunity to taste French culture. Students have heard from decorated World War II veterans, a Peace Corps volunteer, foreign exchange students, parents and grandparents from around the French-speaking world who share their stories in French. 

Kellermeier, a lifetime runner, took on the role as cross country coach mid-season this year. 

In a letter of recommendation, Bob Ouellette, principal of New Smyrna Beach High, wrote that Kellermeier’s “credentials and work history read like exemplars for a teacher that has a passion for her curriculum and a propensity to be a true life-long learner.”

Kellermeier received her award Feb. 28 before an audience of more than 900 at the Hilton Daytona Beach Oceanfront Resort.