The School District of Manatee County celebrated eight finalists during its annual Excellence in Education Awards, held at the main campus of Manatee Technical College on Wednesday evening.

Principals described their employees as passionate and indispensable, but only two could win a $5,000 award from Suncoast Credit Union, along with other prizes worth thousands more.

Amanda Keeney, the cafeteria manager at Myakka City Elementary School, won Support Employee of the Year.

Debra Hartline, a reading teacher at Braden River High School, won Educator of the Year.

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