ST. PETE BEACH, Fla. – The Pinellas Education Foundation held its annual Career Education Luncheon, a key component of the Ford Next Generation Learning (NGL) Winter Conference, at the TradeWinds Resort on Wednesday, February 22, where more than 400 community, business and educational leaders came together to raise awareness for career education programs and initiatives in Pinellas County Schools. Keynote Speaker Brian Auld, President of the Tampa Bay Rays, spoke passionately about the important role educators have in our communities, and underscored the significant partnership between the Tampa Bay Rays and the programs of the Pinellas Education Foundation that are aimed to enhance educational opportunities for students in Pinellas County Schools. In addition, the event recognized business, educator, and school leaders in several career education categories.
The 2017 Ford NGL Winter Conference, which took place at the TradeWinds Resort in St. Pete Beach Feb. 21-23, featured the Ford NGL process for scaling and sustaining successful career academies. Pinellas County Schools has been a Ford NGL community since March 2013 and the Pinellas Education Foundation became a Ford NGL Innovation Center in 2015. Since the partnership with Ford NGL began in 2011, the Pinellas County Schools graduation rate increased by 15 points from 65% to 80%.
The Career Education Luncheon awarded more than $10,000 in funding toward classroom grants, scholarships and cash prizes to teachers and students in Pinellas County Schools. Keenan Murray, a junior at Clearwater High School and Rolynn Wilson, a junior at Northeast High School’s Academy of Finance, emceed the event. Gary Regoli, President and CEO of Achieva Credit Union, recognized retiring Pinellas Education Foundation President Terry A. Boehm, for his 15+ years of leadership to the organization. “Under Terry’s leadership, the Pinellas Education Foundation has raised more than $140 million, has consistently received a Four Star Charity Navigator rating, and has been ranked in Education Week as the top education foundation in the nation,” Regoli shared. Mr. Boehm will transition to a new role as President of Future Plans USA, an online career assessment tool, designed to help students and adults select in-demand college and career pathways.
Bob McIntyre, Chairman and CEO of DITEK, recognized Pinellas Education Foundation founder and Chairman Emeritus Dr. Gus Stavros, who attended the event along with son Paul and daughter Ellen. “Dr. Stavros’s vision created the Foundation’s award-winning programs, including Enterprise Village, Finance Park, and now Future Plans®. The Stavros family’s legacy will continue to be felt for many generations to come.”
The 2017 Frances Stavros Career Education Champion Award was presented by Ellen Stavros, Board Member of the Pinellas Education Foundation, and Linda Lerner, Member of the Pinellas County School Board, to Dr. Dick Puglisi, Professor and Stavros Chair in Free Enterprise & Economic Education and Director of the University of South Florida’s Gus A. Stavros Center. Dr. Puglisi has actively supported career education and is dedicated to helping Pinellas students succeed. A $2,000 scholarship to the Frances Stavros Career Education Program will be awarded to a deserving student in Puglisi’s honor.
Laisha Daley, Senior Director & Education Chair, Catalina Charitable Foundation, and John Schnepp, Service Director, Pinellas County, Crown Automotive Group, presented the 2017 Career Educator of the Year Awards, recognizing outstanding Career and Technical educators in Pinellas County at the middle school and high school levels. Cathleen Ryan, Chef Instructor at Tarpon Springs High’s Jacobson Culinary Arts Academy was named the 2017 Career Educator at the High School level. Dr. Doug Williams, Business Education Teacher at Dunedin Highland Middle School, was named the 2017 Career Educator at the Middle School level. Both winners will receive a $2,000 classroom grant for their respective programs. The Middle School Award was made possible through the generous sponsorship DITEK and the McIntyre Family Foundation.
Cheryl Carrier, Executive Director, Ford Next Generation Learning, presented the 2017 Academies of Pinellas Achievement awards to Seminole High School and Palm Harbor Middle School. Principals Dr. Thomas Brittain and Ms Victoria Hawkins accepted the awards on behalf of their respected schools. Each school will receive $2,000 toward its programs.
Luncheon attendees visited the Ford NGL Marketplace and interacted with dynamic displays, including student finalists in the Next Generation Tech Program, a year-long competition allowing students to develop their technology concepts into working prototypes, with help from tech mentors. 2017 Next Generation Tech student teams participated from Career Academies of Seminole, East Lake, Gibbs, Lakewood, and Seminole High Schools. Student finalists represented the Next Generation Entrepreneurs Program, a year-long business competition involving high school students which included business plan training, creativity workshops and mentoring. Student teams participated from Boca Ciega, Clearwater, East Lake, Gibbs, Lakewood, Largo, Osceola Fundamental, Seminole and St. Pete Collegiate High Schools. Winners of both the Next Generation Entrepreneurs and Next Generation Tech programs will named at an April 26 event at the Stavros Institute, where six winning teams will share prize money totaling more than $30,000.
Academy of Pinellas student displays in the Ford NGL Marketplace included:
[if !supportLists]· [endif]Azalea Elementary – STEM
[if !supportLists]· [endif]Brooker Creek Elementary – STEM
[if !supportLists]· [endif]Clearwater High – Academy of Science, Technology, Engineering, Agriculture & Mathematics
[if !supportLists]· [endif]Clearwater High – Civil Rights Ambassador Program
[if !supportLists]· [endif]Countryside High – Center for Computer Technologies
[if !supportLists]· [endif]Palm Harbor University – Center for Wellness and Medical Professions
[if !supportLists]· [endif]Tarpon Springs High – Richard O. Jacobson Culinary Arts Academy
The 2017 Career Education Luncheon was made possible by generous support from Catalina Charitable Foundation, Lockheed Martin Mission Systems and Training, DITEK and the McIntyre Family Foundation, and the Tampa Bay Rays Foundation. Next Generation Entrepreneurs sponsors are Duke Energy and Wells Fargo. Carol Cook, Member of the Pinellas County School Board gave closing remarks, acknowledging the contributions of teachers, students, businesses, and organizations, which work together to make Pinellas an example for career education programs across the country.
About The Pinellas Education Foundation
The Pinellas Education Foundation is an independent, non-governmental not-for-profit established in 1986. The Foundation’s mission is to improve and enhance educational opportunities in Pinellas County Schools. Well known Pinellas Education Foundation programs include: Enterprise Village, Finance Park, Future Plans, Take Stock in Children Scholarships, Academies of Pinellas, Frances Stavros Career Education/Youth Connect and Teacher Classroom Grants. Visit www.pinellaseducation.org for more information.