Teacher of the Year

Written by Eva Lopez

Throughout the year, every teacher does their best in order to reach the goal of teaching their students. Every year teachers work hard to achieve this goal, but this year a certain teacher went above and beyond and won the Teacher of the Year award. This outstanding teacher is Mrs. Badovinac! She is the AGS teacher who imbues the school’s juniors and seniors with knowledge regarding our gaming, animation, and simulation program. She also works hard bringing teachers together so that they might utilize the projects that Mrs. Badovinac herself is able to use in her own classroom. Furthermore, she shows unique processes in her classroom by teaching her students innovative techniques that introduce new ways that enable them to learn. The goal of this dispersal of her individual knowledge is to ultimately spread her ideas into multiple classes. In the end, her hard work and determination resulted in a prize only distributed once a year: the Teacher of the Year award! 

Understanding the process of how one comes to be nominated as the Teacher of the Year is no easy task. It is important to note that each candidate works diligently upon this process; it is not as if their name is pulled out of a hat. The path towards success is key to comprehending the full impact which leads to receiving the award. The series of actions required to win the Teacher of the Year award starts with SPHS instructors working within a designated window of time to nominate their peers. Within this time frame, staff and faculty compile their nominations. Then a survey is dispatched to the staff with information concerning the different nominated teachers and the reasons behind their nominations. Each teacher who is nominated is notified and asked to write about their most memorable moment. Once the most memorable moments are submitted, the peer committee review the individual “momentous occasions” as well as the academic and personal reasons of each potential candidate. After each nominee has been thoroughly analyzed, the peer instructors decide and finalize who they wish to bestow upon the Teacher of the Year award. 

Needless to say, Mrs. Badovinac’s “unforgettable occasion” was just that. Of course, as Teacher of the Year, Mrs. Badovinac wrote her own incredible “unforgettable occasion” after being nominated for Teacher of the Year. She wrote about the AGS program’s Capstone project at UTC the previous year. She described how astounding it felt to have her current seniors presenting to her former students and their parents. After she painted an illustration of the most remarkable event that she had experienced, she moved on to say how the event captured the full meaning of teaching.  The gathering of her past and present students reflected the manner in which SPHS has nurtured its students to accomplish many things in the four years they attended high school at SPHS; as well as the way it had prepared SPHS students to obtain their future goals.  In the end, this monumental experience, belonging to Mrs. Badovinac, epitomized her as a teacher and established the context behind her attainment of the Teacher of the Year award. 

As it has been established, Mrs. Badovinac is the auspicious person who has won the Teacher of the Year award 2019. And what is a reward without a prize? This prize was Mr. Turgeon, Dr. Raney, and Dr. Dipillo visiting Mrs. Badovinac’s classroom with balloons and a delicious white cake. As the students surrounded her, she realized the reasoning behind the surprise visitation.  The automatic responses of students and faculty were a round of applause befitting the Teacher of the Year, Mrs. Badovinac! 

Dr. Brackney

Written by Keira Geary

There are many changes to SPHS this year. One of these changes includes the new engineering and robotics teacher, Dr. Brackney.  

For almost 30 years Dr. Brackney worked as a professional engineer. He worked in the automotive industry, designing engine turbo machinery for a company called Cummins Engine Company. He also taught overseas in New Zealand, at the University of Canterbury. There he taught electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, and robotics. After returning to the states, he worked for the National Renewable Energy Lab – which is one of sixteen labs across the country that is run by the U.S. Department of Energy. The lab he worked in focused on renewable energy, including advancements in solar energy and bio-fuels. He was in the Commercial Buildings Group, which specialized in energy efficiency. Overall, his professional experience comes back to energy efficiency and helping the environment. Whether that be through working on engines and trying to improve fuel economy and reduce tail pipe emissions or working on buildings and making them more energy efficient and comfortable.  

Dr. Brackney was educated at the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology located in the Midwest. There he got his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in mechanical engineering. He got his PhD from Purdue University. Although his degrees were in mechanical engineering, he trained as a control engineer, which is a cross between mechanical, electrical, and software engineering.  

This is his first year teaching at SPHS. What attracted him to want to teach high school were the programs and opportunities that were available to his daughter at her STEM school. He was really interested in what she was learning, in terms of robotics projects and computer programming. He was also at the point in his career where he had accomplished a lot of different things in different industries. Although he taught at the University level, he spent most of his time doing research and publishing papers and less time working with the students. Coming to SPHS, the high school level gives him the opportunity to work alongside students and work with the cutting-edge technology, such as the 3-D printers, robotics, and micro-controllers.  

So far, he really enjoys the students and staff here at SPHS. He loves the enthusiasm, in terms of wanting to learn, as well as how engaged the students are in the program, competitions, and projects. He stated, “It’s really neat to see the creativity they bring to solving the problem and being able to identify problems that are interesting for them to work on.”  

As a professional engineer, he worked in a lot of mechanical, electrical, and software engineering and plans to focus on a lot of detail in the engineering/robotics program. Through the program, he wants the students to solve more complicated problems, such as programming micro-controllers to control motors and lights, or building simple robots and adding sensors. Overall, implementing sophisticated challenges that build upon each other throughout the year, and understand the theory behind engineering and the analysis that goes into the design.  

Meet Your School Resource Officer: Officer Tom Gallucci

Written by Aby Mendez

This school year EVERY public school in the Sarasota County School District will have a school resource officer. Before this change, SROs were supplied by local police departments and the Sheriff’s Office. This modification will cost the school district about $4.6 million dollars; but, it is believed to actually be saving the district money by hiring the SROs themselves and not having to pay outside agencies. Every public middle school and elementary school will have one SRO and all public high schools will have two SROs because of the number of students, with the exception to SPHS; which I’m guessing is due to our small size.

                         Get to know your SRO interview Q&A

Officer Gallucci is originally from Rhode Island; he studied there as well. He’s been living in Sarasota since 2013. This is his 32nd year working in law enforcement.

What do movies and TV shows get wrong about the police work?

 A: “It’s not as exciting as it is in the movies, but we do have exciting moments. Most of our job is being vigilante and proactive and once in a while we get into some action.”

What’s your most memorable incident on the job?

A: (At his former job as a US Marshal) “I had a top 15 fugitive most wanted and he was wanted for murder, and I captured him.”

What are all the things on your belt?

A: “The issued firearm: a 9-millimeter, OC spray, a school radio, a police radio, a taser, and 2 magazines for the 9mm.”

Are you okay with the idea of wearing a body camera while on duty?

A: “Yes, it acts as a witness for what we are doing, and it can be used as evidence if a case goes to court”.

And of course, I had to ask…

Do Police Officers really like donuts?

A: “Absolutely. I love donuts, especially chocolate donuts! Donuts are great, I go to the gym also, so I can eat donuts.”

Words of wisdom from officer Gallucci:

    “Stay safe, situation awareness, and if you see something say something”


Teacher of the Year

Mr. Brunetti

Written by Devon Geary


Congratulations on Teacher of the Year!

Mr. Brunetti was nominated by his colleagues for this honor, and then they took an anonymous vote, deciding it. They celebrated with cake and later in December, there will be a lunch in downtown Sarasota. He’s able to enter the running for Teacher of the County by submitting a resume, and letters of reference.

Mr. Brunetti is the AP Language and Applied Communications teacher at Suncoast Polytechnical High School.  He taught AP Language, and English 1, 2, and 3 at Booker for three years prior to Polytech and came to SPHS so he could work with serious students that were dedicated to learning and had an interest in the material. He had also taught in Costa Rica and Panama, and both had similar curriculum to Florida schools. He has great aspirations for the Polytech students, describing them as “Serious, respectful, and hardworking”, with his goals being to improve all reading and writing skills, prompt reading and literature, and to introduce more diverse reading selections.

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Dr. Raney, New Program Manager 

Interviewed by Isabella Ocasio

After our farewells to Dr. Livingston, Dr. Michael Raney, born and raised in Florida, is Suncoast Polytech’s new Assistant Principal–better known as the Program Manager here at SPHS.

Dr. Raney was the Assistant Principal at Murdoc Middle School in Charlotte County for three years. He then moved to Riverview High School, where he taught Algebra I as an Exceptional Student Education course. Once he heard about the opportunity at Polytech, Dr. Raney asked others at Riverview what Suncoast Polytech is like. They promised him that it’s a great place to be with quality staff, students, and teachers – and here he is now! Upon being asked what he would like to accomplish, Dr. Raney proudly said, “I want to do whatever it takes to help every student be as successful as they can possibly be. That is my measure of success.”

Dr. Raney was happy to talk about his experiences in high school and college. First, a piece of advice from him to students is to have a broad perspective and accept the fact that there is going to be a lot of change in both yourself and your life. Second, for those who wish to earn their doctorate in college, be warned that it takes a toll on you, your finances, and your time – but in the end, the pride and sense of accomplishment is worth it.

Overall, Dr. Raney is excited for Polytech’s promises of exceptional performance and staff.

Below are some quotes and highlights from Dr. Michael Raney, SPHS Program Manager:  

  • “The first thing I wanna do is not get in the way of the success Polytech has had. I wanna do whatever it takes to help every student be as successful as they can possibly be. That is my measure of success; it’s not in anything that I do, but the success of the students that are here. “
  • “The biggest thing is things are going to change. Your perspectives, likes, dislikes are likely to change”
  • “Rather than tying yourself to one place, you need to have a broad perspective of what is out there in the future.”
  • Taught ESE Algebra 1 at Riverview High School; was there since the start of this school year in August.
  • Had always taught Math.
  • He has high expectations, and he’s very excited to be here, both because of the quality of the staff and teachers, and the quality of the students: “The uniqueness of this school was really attractive.”


Mrs. Kayser “Guidance Counselor”

Written by Keira Geary



Mrs. Kaiser is the new guidance counselor at Polytech. She came from Sarasota High School, after two years as their guidance counselor. She came to Polytech because “it had been in my sights for a while. I always liked the idea of Polytech and the kind of school that it is. And the opportunities that it provides for our kids…the programs that are offered here are like no other schools.” She is very excited to be here and to work with the students. She loves that the students here are a lot easier to talk to. She feels that because the students here are a lot more open and easier to talk to, she’ll be able to help a lot of kids, and be more personable with them. She is always available and here to help and guide you.

“It’s not only a pleasure to be here, but its an honor to be here, as a counselor.” She also wants you to know to come visit her and ask questions every Thursday in the Cafeteria during “Counselor’s Corner,” where she has a table set up to help students.


Mrs. Morrison “Career Advisor”

Written by Keira Geary 



Mrs. Morrison has worked on both Polytech and SCT campuses for seven years as a paraprofessional aid. Now she is the new full-time Career Advisor here at Polytech. She is here to help students find their pathways and help them figure out what high school courses to take now and what college courses would best suit them in the future. In terms of scholarships, she has a lot of information and can help you find scholarships that apply to whatever degrees you’re looking for. In terms of career internships, she can help with that too. Mrs. Morrison is very easy to talk to and is always available. She is here for you to help you know how it all works. She’s is also very happy to be here a Polytech full-time.


Mr. Paterno

By Devon Geary


Mr. Paterno is a new teacher to Suncoast Polytechnical High School. He teaches U.S. history, and this is his third year teaching a history class, which is a subject he thoroughly enjoys. He has also taught eight years of English, making him well informed and knowledgeable about the strong connection the two subjects can have. He includes that in his teaching methods through DBQs and PowerPoint presentations. While he has taught both history and English, he feels that teaching history makes more of an impact and is more interesting to the majority of the students, mainly U.S. history because it discusses the past and where we are today. Mr. Paterno went to Western Connecticut State University in Danbury, Connecticut for college, and last year taught at South East High School in Manatee County. He came to teach at Polytech because it was closer to home, a much better school, and the opportunities this school offers were more beneficial. He’s very happy with the new students he’s teaching and likes the support the administration and other teachers provide to new teachers, and the more manageable classroom sizes.


Ms. Treubert

By Keira Geary



Mrs. Trubert is new to Suncoast Polytechnical High School, replacing Mr. Short as an Algebra I and Algebra II teacher. She’s located in the ninth-grade quad. She previously taught math at the Florida Preparatory Academy, an international school. Starting out in college majoring in mechanical engineering, she then started tutoring other students in math, which made her realize she enjoyed teaching math and lead to switching her major and pursing a teaching career.

When asked why she came to Polytech, her reply was that “[She] wanted a small school where tech was a piece”. A school that focused on technology and encouraged the use of it rather than paper was a pull factor, along with the greater use of the active board and OneNote. She was also asked about her opinion of the school itself and the students. She really loves it and has found the students are very similar to the ones at her previous school, and everyone has been very welcoming and positive towards her.


Dr. DiTucci

By Bella Ocasio 



In the room that once belonged to the meme-ing history teacher, Mr. Hickman, now works Dr. DiTucci, also known as DiTucci the Great. Dr. DiTucci teaches World History Honors and AP World History for sophomores. He was in pre-law for four years until he decided to go to grad school at Nicholls State University. From there, he went to University of Louisiana for his master’s degree, and then Western University for his PhD in history. Before he completed his journey in college, Dr. DiTucci worked in IT for the history department at Western University for several years. Then he taught at multiple colleges, including the New College of Florida where he taught Viking history. Polytech seemed like a great fit when the opportunity came to him, and that is how he has come to work at our outstanding school today!

Upon being asked whether or not a hot-dog in a bun is a sandwich, Dr. DiTucci stated that not only is a hot-dog a sandwich – but so is a taco. Surely, the wise man with a PhD must be trusted in this statement.