In loving memory of Zack Butler, our esteemed 2023 Santa Rosa Teacher of the Year, who courageously battled cancer before his passing. Zack was not only an exceptional educator but also a cherished friend and a remarkable human being. His positive impact reverberated across our school district, touching numerous lives.
Zack’s legacy is built on his unwavering positivity, uplifting spirit, and his embodiment of a servant leader’s heart. In a poignant moment during one of the Teacher of the Year interviews, Zack shared, “In a world where so many see the negativity in every situation, I feel like it’s my duty to show them the positive.” He lived this belief daily, leaving an indelible mark on all who knew him.
To carry on his legacy, we are dedicated to the Coach Butler Projects, ensuring that Zack’s spirit and commitment to positivity continue to make a lasting impact on our community and beyond. Forever in our hearts, Zack’s influence lives on through these meaningful initiatives.
On Monday, April 24, 2023, the Santa Rosa Education Foundation, in collaboration with The Special Olympics, proudly organized the inaugural Zack Butler Sports Ability Games. This program, dedicated to Coach Butler’s legacy, created a day of inclusive activities where students, with the support of the community, had the chance to foster physical fitness, showcase courage, and engage in enjoyable experiences tailored to promote inclusivity.
Teaming up with Florida Power and Light, the Santa Rosa Education Foundation proudly introduced the Zack Pack initiative. This program dedicated to Coach Butler involved providing every Adaptive Physical Education teacher in the district with a specialized Zack Pack wagon and a $500 Teacher Grant specifically for Adaptive Physical Education supplies.
Lucille Silva Dixon, a teacher at Rhodes Elementary, was honored with the inaugural Zack Butler Award at the 2023 Golden Apple Awards. This distinguished award recognizes exceptional community stewardship among Teachers of the Year.
Ms. Dixon’s commitment to community is evident as she co-leads youth at 32 local churches, volunteers regularly at the Loaves and Fishes Soup Kitchen in Pensacola, providing essential support to the homeless. Additionally, she co-founded a 501c3 organization dedicated to establishing and sustaining partnerships that enhance the lives of teens, young adults, and their families. Ms. Dixon’s caring efforts truly embody the spirit of the Zack Butler Award.