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Inaugural ‘Leadership in Education’ class seeks to boost Florida schools to national prominence

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This September, a group Florida educational professionals and leaders will be going back to class with a new lesson plan – to elevate the state’s K-12 public schools to national prominence.

Leadership in Education” is an eight-month project of Leadership Florida. During four program sessions, the inaugural 34-member class will bring together superintendents, school board members, teachers and educational professionals, as well as business, civic and association leaders to focus on critical education issues.

Funding for the program come through grants from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Helios Education Foundation.

“For leaders who are passionate about ensuring that Florida has the best K-12 education system possible,” said Leadership Florida President Wendy Walker, “we are going to adapt our model to ignite their ability to work together to achieve that goal.”

Each Leadership in Education session will provide participants — as well as the communities they serve –a broad look at Florida’s educational system from several perspectives — international, national and statewide. The overall goal will be to develop strategies to maintain the state’s role as a top-tier education leader.

The program begins in September at Howey-in-the-Hills, with an agenda of examining best educational practices from around the globe. The three remaining sessions will be in Sarasota, Jacksonville, and Fort Lauderdale and will focus on schools, classrooms, partnerships and innovation.

“Florida has made tremendous improvement in K-12 education over the last 15 years,” said Helios Education Foundation CEO Paul Luna, “we are confident that Leadership Florida, by bringing Florida’s diverse education leaders together, will continue to propel the state’s public education system forward ensuring more Florida students are prepared to succeed in college and career.”

Leaders would “share with and learn from each other,” Luna added, “as well as from some of the country’s sharpest thinkers and doers – to support Florida’s forward motion.”

After the class ends, participants will be challenged to apply what they learn in communities, schools or boardrooms.

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.

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