Mylene Taylor, a seventh-grade science teacher at Lecanto Middle School, is the Air Force Association Red Tail Memorial Chapter 136 Teacher of the Year.
Accompanied by Brian Lancaster, Lecanto Middle School principal, and Assistant Principals Maurisa Applegate and Brady Hannett, Chapter President Howard Burke presented the award to Taylor in front of her students in a Lecanto Middle School classroom. The award recognizes classroom teachers for their efforts to get students excited about science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).
“We hope that students who excel in math and science will go on to make big contributions to the high tech world that we live in today, maybe even in the U.S. Air Force,” Burke said. “Good teachers are a direct path to success for these students, and we think that Ms. Taylor is one of the best.”
She has been a teacher for 17 years, 14 as a math teacher and the last three as a science teacher. At Lecanto Middle School, Taylor also is the science department head and serves on the leadership council.
In recommending her for the award, Lancaster characterized Taylor as a “true professional” and “tremendous educator.”
“Her work implementing STEM in our science curriculum has made our seventh-grade students the highest performing in the district and well above state averages,” he said.
Taylor builds strong rapport with students and pushes them to academic achievement, according to Lancaster. He noted that she received the highest possible evaluative rating “by offering an engaging, collaborative and inquiry-based STEM design in her curriculum.”
High-tech tools help create real-world scenarios in Taylor’s classroom. Labs in electricity, engineering, ecology and other fields enable her students to explore, create, test and re-test without fear of danger, harm or destruction and without taking multiple field trips, Lancaster explained in his recommendation.
In addition to teaching at Lecanto Middle School, Taylor has long been involved in many activities at Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church in Beverly Hills. She supervises youth activities for the parish and has been the co-administrator of the Faith Formation program. She currently also shares responsibility for training and scheduling readers for Masses and other liturgical services.
The Taylors — Mylene, husband Robert and children Callie, Ysanne and Kameron — live in Inverness.
As the Red Tail Memorial Chapter 136 Teacher of the Year, Taylor received an award certificate, an Air Force Association portfolio, Teacher of the Year pin, complimentary membership in the Air Force Association and $250. The chapter will present a second Teacher of the Year award later this year to a high school teacher.
The chapter name memorializes the Red Tail Squadron, black airmen who forged a path into cockpits that were for whites only during World War II. Formed at the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, the Tuskegee Airmen went on to distinguish themselves flying fighters while protecting bombers on raids into Austria, Hungary, Poland and Germany.
The Air Force Association promotes a dominant United States Air Force and strong national defense in part by advocating for aerospace power, cyber security and STEM education.
AFA Chapter 136 draws its nearly 500 members from eight counties including Citrus, Alachua, Dixie, Levy, Marion, Sumter and parts of Lake and Putnam. Many of the AFA’s members are Air Force veterans from all ranks. Some served in other military services; yet others have never been in uniform and joined, often because of their interest in air power or the history of flight. For more information about the AFA or to join, contact Burke at 352-861-0886.