40 Florida educators chosen for new UF leadership network

College of Education named 40 public school educators to a new program to develop leadership skills and share their expertise with teachers across Florida.
See the complete list of educators
selected for the program

“These teachers are all passionate about leading their schools and districts to improve student learning.”
— Dr. Don Pemberton, director of UF’s Lastinger Center for Learning

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The University of Florida’s College of Education today named 40 public school educators to a new program to develop leadership skills and share their expertise with teachers across Florida. The selected teachers are the first Florida Teacher Leader Fellows and will participate in an 18-month program designed to build a statewide teacher leadership network, improve the quality of classroom teaching and enhance outcomes for students.

“These teachers are all passionate about leading their schools and districts to improve student learning,” said Dr. Don Pemberton, director of UF’s Lastinger Center for Learning. The center is the College of Education’s R&D arm that spearheads professional development programs to improve teaching and learning.

The idea: Nurture a crop of teachers who can inspire and empower others to better the teaching and learning at their schools, districts and, ultimately, across the state. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation invested in this idea to get the program off the ground.

The 40 fellows, selected from 217 applicants, are practicing classroom teachers, school counselors, media specialists and instructional coaches at pre-kindergarten, elementary, middle, and high schools across Florida.

Educators selected for the program said they want to become better teachers and inspire others.

  • “By participating in the Florida Teacher Leader Fellowship I hope to improve my teacher leader skills and ignite those skills in the amazing teachers I am surrounded by at Matanzas High School,” said Amanda Kraverotis, an instructional coach in Flagler County.
  • “I chose to apply to this fellowship to challenge myself personally and professionally and to grow as a teacher, learner, mentor and leader,” said Adrienne Reeder, a reading teacher at Dr. Edward Whigham Elementary School in Miami. “I hope to gain an adaptive perspective on how to provide meaningful instruction through inspiring leadership.”
  • “Since I teach the middle school population, I know that there are specifics about their lives I will never know in detail. I have only a small amount of time to make a difference in their lives, so I better be impactful,” Daryl W. Pauling Sr., a math teacher at Carver Middle School in Delray Beach. “I want to be a part of the transition of working for a better understanding to expand a person’s knowledge to make them better.”

UF’s Lastinger Center created the program in partnership with the Center for Teaching Quality (CTQ), a national nonprofit organization. CTQ will support fellows by facilitating virtual collaborations with project staff and other fellows, measuring the impact of the work they lead, and engaging educators and influencers across the state as their leadership efforts expand.

“There are so many teacher leaders across the state who are seeking to have a greater voice and impact in their schools,” said Barnett Berry, CEO of CTQ. “The goal of this fellowship is to help these leaders share their expert practices across schools and districts.”

The teacher-leader program will formally begin March 1, when the fellows come to Tallahassee for two days to learn about creating a fellowship community and engaging in educational policymaking. In June, the fellows will come to UF’s main campus in Gainesville to launch their personal leadership projects. The fellowship will continue with an international teacher leadership conference in Miami next year.

UF education researchers say they will closely follow the fellows and document the impacts of professional learning on teacher and student growth as a way to continually refine and improve the program.

“Through developing and researching the fellowship, we want to better understand what teacher leadership looks like in schools and districts across the state. And we want to know how to cultivate a group of teacher leaders who, in their support of individual schools and districts, advance the state’s education system for the benefit of Florida’s students,” said Dr. Philip Poekert, assistant director of the Lastinger Center.

Below are the 40 educators selected for the inaugural Florida Teacher Leader Fellows program:

County and/or District School Educator
Alachua W.W. Irby Elementary Lorena Sanchez
Brevard Meadowlane Primary Sarah Brown
Broward District-based

Pembroke Pines Charter Elementary

Tropical Elementary

Isabel Nodarse

Donald Nicolas
Amy DeCelle

Duval Paxon Mai Keisling
Flagler Matanzas High Amanda Kraverotis
Florida Virtual Florida Virtual School Charles Cummings
Hillsborough Bloomingdale High Heather Hanks
Lake Grassy Lake Elementary Kelly Dodd
Lee Riverdale High

Tortuga Preserve Elementary

Deneen Kozielski

Jennifer Grida

Leon John G. Riley Elementary Bridgette McCloud
Levy Yankeetown Cara Dunford
Martin Crystal Lake Elementary Christina Kennard
Miami-Dade Charles D. Wyche Jr. Elementary

Dr. Edward L. Whigham Elementary

Eneida M. Hartner Elementary

Gulfstream Elementary

Kendale Lakes Elementary

Rockway Middle

William H. Turner Technical Arts High

Maria Silva

Adrienne Reeder

Nicole Fernandez

Osmany Hurtado

Lianna Saenz

Michael Windisch

Treesey Weaver

Orange Wyndham Lakes Elementary Deborah Carmona
Palm Beach Carver Community Middle

Del Prado Elementary

Forest Hill Community High

Forest Hill Community High

Royal Palm Beach High

Suncoast Community High

Daryl Pauling

Tyler Montgomery

Jillian Gregory

Allison Hammill

Daniella Suarez

Stephen Kaplan

Sarasota Imagine School at North Port Upper Campus Tiffany Bailey
Seminole District office

Lyman High

Pam Ferrante

Martha Ladd

St. Johns John A. Crookshank Elementary

Timberlin Creek Elementary

Jacqueline Zahralban

Andrea Dieckman

St. Lucie Frances K. Sweet Elementary

Lincoln Park Academy

Palm Pointe Educational Research

Nardi Routten

Makeda-Ione Brome

Glenna Sigmon

UF Lab School P.K. Yonge Developmental Research Jon Mundorf
Volusia Deltona High Dylan Emerick-Brown
Walton Walton High Deena Martin


Sources (UF Lastinger Center):
— Rebekah Cordova, professional development coordinator, (c) 303-246-4331; (w) 352-273-4103
— Phil Poekert, 305-586-8665;
— Don Pemberton, 352-273-4103;
WriterCharles Boisseau, news and communications, UF College of Education, 352-273-4449