Dr. Alexander Carr

Geometry teacher
Orlando Gifted Academy
Orange County Public Schools

The 2024 Educator of the Year, presented by SugarBee® Apple, is Dr. Alexander Carr. A geometry teacher at Orlando Gifted Academy in Orlando, Florida, Dr. Carr goes above and beyond in his dedication to the spelling bee at his school, and he loves celebrating his students' success!


In 2018, Carr began teaching at the Orlando Gifted Academy and started the school’s first spelling bee program. As the bee’s coordinator, his goal was to make sure the program was inclusive of all students, regardless of their abilities or language barriers. This includes those with disabilities to whom he provides the necessary accommodations, such as microphones for the hearing impaired, for their success. “Just because you have certain limitations doesn’t mean you’re incapable of doing extraordinary things,” Carr says.


“We are inspired by the way Dr. Carr helps students feel included and sets them on a path to success,” says Corrie Loeffler, executive director of the Scripps National Spelling Bee.


SugarBee® Apple proudly supports the Bee in its mission to illuminate pathways to lifelong curiosity, celebrate academic achievement and enrich communities. “SugarBee Apple growers proudly support the Bee’s educators and their devotion to inspiring every child to discover their potential to innovate and create something magical,” says Julie DeJarnatt, director of brand strategy for SugarBee Apple.


Ana Rubio and Julie Lopez

The 2024 Regional Partner of the Year is Sage from Thousand Oaks, California. 


Sage, a global academic publisher of books, journals and library resources, is committed to making sure each speller has a unique, positive experience. Sage’s division, Corwin, is committed to K–12 education, and sponsoring the local spelling bee is aligned with the company’s purpose and values. When Sage took over as the regional partner in 2017, Sage and the Bee team created a vision for what they wanted the regional bee to represent.


Ana Rubio, manager, corporate events and community relations at Sage, has described how much the Bee means by expressing, “we put our hearts into this event each year, and it is truly a labor of love for all of us involved at Sage.”


“We’re already looking ahead to next year, how we can help our spellers even more,” says Julie Lopez, one of the coordinators for the Sage Ventura County Spelling Bee. The spelling bee holds a special place in Lopez’s heart as she has worked with the county spelling bee for 14 years through her prior employer before Sage became the sponsor.

Craig Pearson

WFCU Credit Union Regional Spelling Bee
Windsor, Ontario, Canada

The 2024 Regional Volunteer of the Year is Craig Pearson.


Pearson, the managing editor of the Windsor Star, is the pronouncer of the WFCU Credit Union Regional Spelling Bee—a role he’s served in for the last 19 years. “I like to think that if [returning spellers] see the pronouncer for a second or third year in a row that makes them feel a little bit better,” he says.


Even with his nearly four decades of experience working as a news manager, copy editor and reporter, Pearson continues to work on perfecting his pronouncing craft. Before each regional bee, he spends weeks studying and rehearsing. “I always study with a pencil so that I can make notes. I think what’s most important is some of the alternate pronunciations,” Pearson says. “It always amazes me when I hear myself pronounce this crazy sounding word that I certainly did not know before. I studied it, and this young speller spells it back correctly.”


“Volunteers like Craig help keep the next generation of spellers inspired,” says Bryan Witt, regional partner relations specialist for the Scripps National Spelling Bee. “He dedicates countless hours each year to promoting literacy and reaching kids across his community.”