What is your current job title and responsibilities?
I retired December 0f 2016 as a Lecturer/Teacher Intern Coordinator, College of Education, Department of Education leadership
What is your history at UCF and before UCF?
After my Master of Arts from Stetson University, I took several Reading/Language Arts classes at UCF, which was then FTU, while I was teaching Middle School. Before entering teaching, I worked in New York as a Human Resources Director for a shoe factory and later for a hospital. In Florida, I started substitute and full-time teaching at elementary level, starting working on a master’s in reading/English language arts and move to middle school. Next, I became the Volusia Country Reading/Language Arts Supervisor and later Assistant Superintendent for Instruction, completing and Ed.D in Curriculum and Instruction at UF. Then I became Assistant Superintendent for Research and Teacher Evaluation. I also was a Coordinator for the Nova Master’s program in Daytona Beach and taught at Stetson as a Visiting Professor. I entered politics as an Ormond Beach, FL City Commissioner. Next I was elected to the Florida Legislature as a Florida State Representative (8 years) and then elected to the Florida Senate and term limited after 10 years. During my 18 years in the Legislature I always was a Committee Chair for Education Policy or Education Appropriations K-2. My next 3 years were at UCF as a Lecturer/Teacher Intern Coordinator, Department of Education Leadership, College of Education. I also traveled as a Florida Ambassador for Technology in Education and a National Legislative Liaison to Mongolia, assisting legislators in a developing democracy.
What is your academic background?
See above. Attended public schools in NYC and Queens, NY; took master’s courses at Hofstra University and UCF.
What is your favorite UCF memory?
The enthusiasm and dedication of students who are in or entering teaching and the high level and thoughtful discussions of educators in the doctoral program. I will miss them all.
If you could change one thing at UCF, what would it be?
Not much. I just wish parking was more accessible and free!
What is one piece of advice you would like to share with your colleagues?
Make no enemies. As you grow professionally, you are sure to meet former acquaintances who can often be amazingly helpful, or not, depending on long remembered interactions. Be aware and involved professionally and in your community. Both work hand in hand.
If UCF was going to name something in your honor, what would you like it to be and why?
Anything having to do with improving students’ skills in reading and writing. These are keys to learning: absorbing through reading and expressing through writing. Also, anything that supports interdisciplinary programs especially incorporating the arts.
If you could have lunch with anyone at UCF (who you do not normally eat lunch with), who would you choose and why?
President John Hitt. He has been an amazing leader for UCF, ensuring that student’s needs are addressed and always remain a top priority, even as the university has become one of the largest in the nation. How does he do it all so successfully?
Who at UCF would you like to thank for your success?
Dr. Mike Hynes and Dr. Walt Doherty. Both wonderful educators who are always understanding and encouraging.
Name and describe a teacher or researcher from your past who truly inspired you and why.
It would have to be Mrs. Casey a teaching I had in both 5th and 6th grade. All the things we like to see in the classroom today, she did. From individual work and grouping in different ways to special projects and hands on activities and collaboration. She made learning come to life and loved all her students, seeming to find a way to reach and teach each of us as individuals.
What undergraduate or graduate class/program/experience inspired you the most and why?
A philosophy class I had while working on my master’s seemed to suddenly get me thinking, analyzing and understanding in a way I had not done before. Also, a doctoral level course in curriculum opened my eyes to the huge impact the hidden curriculum (everything that happens in and around students during the school day) has on students.
What is your favorite restaurant or food?
A wonderfully tender filet mignon.
What is your favorite movie, book or music?
Thomas Wolfe’s YOU CAN’T GO HOME AGAIN and more recent, the movie THE BIG SHORT.
What is your favorite vacation destination?
Paris, so very special in every way!