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Press Release

Thursday, December 16, 2010

DOE Press Office
(850) 245-0413

Dr. Carlo Rodriguez Champion of School Choice Award Winners Recognized

~ Award honors individuals who support and expand school choice in Florida ~

TALLAHASSEE – The State Board of Education will recognize the winners of the Dr. Carlo Rodriguez Champion of School Choice Award tomorrow at its meeting in Miami. The Florida Public School Choice Consortium, in partnership with the Nova Southeastern University Fischler School of Education, conferred the award to Steven L. Hicks and Kevin Forehand. Hicks is President of the Coalition of McKay Scholarship Schools and Vice President of Operations for Center Academy, a company that helps schools meet the academic needs of learning disabled students. Forehand is principal of Crossroad Academy Charter School of Business, a Gadsden County charter school named as a Distinguished Title I School in May 2010 for meeting rigorous state and federal accountability measures for five consecutive years.

“The Dr. Carlo Rodriguez Champion of School Choice Award represents the soul of educational opportunities in Florida,” said State Board of Education Chairman T. Willard Fair. “These two individuals have worked extremely hard to make school choice options available for all students and I am proud to honor them for their efforts.”

As part of the award, Nova Southeastern University will grant each recipient a half scholarship at the Fischler School of Education, with one in the doctoral program and the other in the master’s program. The master’s scholarship is aligned with the needs of individuals who want to become successful leaders. The doctoral scholarship will assist in developing leadership skills that can be applied to finding solutions to real problems in schools and other learning environments.

“School choice is an essential component of education in Florida,” said Education Commissioner Dr. Eric J. Smith. “Our students deserve to learn in an environment that best meets their needs, and these awards recognize individuals who work tirelessly to make that happen.”

The Florida Public School Choice Consortium established the Dr. Carlo Rodriguez Champion of School Choice Award to honor school districts or individuals who demonstrate exceptional commitment to establishing and expanding public school choice. The recipients are determined through a criterion review of nominations by an award committee representing education agencies who work with school choice options in Florida.

Dr. Carlo Rodriguez was the former executive director of the Department of Education’s Office of Independent Education and Parental Choice and was a passionate advocate of parental choice for school children throughout the nation. This award was created in his honor after his death in June 2007, and continues to serve as an inspiration for public school choice in Florida.

For more information about school choice in Florida, please visit the Office of Independent Education and Parental Choice