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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

DOE Press Office
850-245-0413

Eighty-three Florida Educators Complete Florida Turnaround Leaders Program

Tallahassee, Fla., June 18, 2014 - Eighty-three Florida educators today graduated from the prestigious Florida Turnaround Leaders Program. The graduation ceremony, held at the Trump National Doral Resort in Miami, marked the end of a 27-month rigorous professional development program which has emerged as one of the largest and most successful turnaround leadership programs in the country.

"Congratulations to the graduates of the Florida Turnaround Leaders Program," said Commissioner of Education Pam Stewart. "These educators now possess the highly-specialized skills that principals, assistant principals and district-level leaders need to provide dramatic and essential interventions that will improve student achievement in the state's most struggling schools. I look forward to following them throughout their careers and learning how they apply their new skills to effect positive change."

The program was comprised of ten seminars on turnaround leadership, a year-long practicum, a semester-long internship, online classes and assignments designed to demonstrate their mastery of the critical elements of turnaround leadership. Participants also completed college coursework if they had not previously completed requirements for certification in Educational Leadership.

The project was a collaborative effort between the Florida Department of Education, the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB), five Florida school districts, and the University of North Florida. Leaders were identified by their districts as potential future leaders who could rise to the challenge of becoming a turnaround leader. During the course of the program, 50 of the participants were promoted to principals, assistant principals and district level program administration.

"The participants in this training program have learned that we have to create schools that meet students' interests and prepare them for success in careers and post-secondary studies," said Gene Bottoms, SREB Senior Vice President. "They have learned how to transform Florida schools to better meet students' needs, and as they are promoted we will see great results."

Miami-Dade Superintendent Alberto Carvalho welcomed the graduates and district leaders to Miami and delivered the opening keynote address. Florida Department of Education's Brian Dassler, Deputy Chancellor for Educator Quality, and Sam Foerster, Deputy Chancellor for School Improvement and Student Achievement, were in attendance to congratulate the graduates, facilitate sessions and preside at the graduation ceremony. Featured speakers included Dr. Gene Bottoms, Senior Vice President of SREB; Kim Bearden, Executive Director of the Ron Clark Academy; and John Hodge from the Urban Learning and Leadership Center.

As a graduate of this program, you will now be able to impact the education of many students in need and turn the existing achievement gap into an opportunity gap," said Carvalho. "You are now the future leaders of our noble endeavor, and I commend each and every one of you for your dedication to eliminating the struggles that we face as educators."

Below is a list of Florida educators honored at today's graduation ceremony.

Alachua County

  • Kelly Armstrong
  • Isabel Carter
  • Justin Russell
  • Sharon Sailor
  • Jared Taber

Duval County

  • Sonya Barnes
  • Marshana Bush
  • Christine Dahnke
  • Paul Davis
  • Deitra Demps
  • Gail Holmes
  • Jacqueline Jones
  • Emily Kristansen
  • Niki Micheau
  • Vontrena Myers
  • Shawnta Pride-Brathwaite
  • Dawaun Smith
  • Torra Talbott
  • Cheryl M. Taylor
  • Dwayne Thomas
  • Tina Wilson

Miami-Dade County

  • Adrian Rogers
  • Desiree Sardo
  • Jason Allen
  • Madelyn Almeida-Fernandez
  • Lisette Alves
  • Gregory Beckford
  • Veronica Bello
  • Milko Brito
  • Ingrid Carias
  • Daniel Corradino
  • Alicia M. Costa-DeVito
  • Sylvia Coto-Gonzalez
  • Michael DeArmas
  • Victoria Dobbs
  • LaRhonda Donaldson
  • Marie Dugas
  • Tammy Smith Edouard
  • Reginald Fox
  • Francisco Garnica
  • Ramon Garrigo
  • Terrance Gibson
  • Ana Gutierrez
  • Robert Hoel
  • Angela Holbrook
  • Beatriz Jorva
  • Kamila Lillie-Johnson
  • Cecelia Magrath
  • Ania Marti
  • Evie Mayor
  • Maria Medina
  • Elinor Milian
  • Ilia Molina
  • Derek Negron
  • Yolanda Oliu
  • Ria Ramdath
  • Carlos Salcedo
  • Adrian Sanchez
  • Crystal Spence
  • Griselda Stanfield
  • Aileen Vega
  • Barbara Vinas

Orange County

  • Rojina Durant
  • Joy Gordon Fernandez
  • Amy Klaber
  • Diane Knight
  • Alex Reyes
  • Kelly Steinke
  • Luis Tousent

Pinellas County

  • Katie Csaszar
  • Anthony Francois
  • Suzanne Hedberg
  • Tamika Hughes-Leeks
  • Connisheia Mathews
  • Tonya Mitchell
  • John Dennis Russo

Charter Schools

  • Bobby Johnson
  • Shannon Gerbi
  • Fiona Johnson
  • Joseph Parker
  • Amber Lee
  • Ray Adams
  • Kimberly Riggins