The Polk Education Foundation (PEF) was presented with the fifth annual Spirit of Leadership Polk Award by Polk Vision, on May 20, 2015, during the Leadership Polk Class VIII Graduation Luncheon at The Lake Eva Center in Haines City. Susan Copeland, the PEF’s Executive Director, accepted the award from Sherriff Grady Judd, representing last year’s winner, the Polk County Sherriff’s Department.
Leadership Polk is a Polk Vision program that brings together current and emerging leaders from across the county to develop diverse networks of resourceful, informed and proactive leaders who will create a more vibrant county and region.Around 100 alumni attended the event. Two awards are given out by Leadership Polk’s Alumni Association each year, one to an organization and one to an individual.
The Spirit of Leadership Polk Award is presented to an organization (public or private) that actively bridges the leadership gap that led to the creation of Leadership Polk in the first place. The award spotlights an organization that is operating across the county and in a way that specifically enhances the leadership pools in our communities.The Polk Education Foundation was recognized for the work they do not only helping to support teachers through professional development, grants for their classrooms and supplies to enhance student learning through their Free Teacher Market, but for supporting student growth through educational opportunities and scholarships.The PEF was started 27 years ago as a vehicle to award scholarships to Polk County graduates, helping them attend college and prepare for life as professionals.The Polk Education Foundation was also honored this school year being ranked #17 in the nation in a comparison of the education foundations of like sized school districts.
Honored separately that day, with the Spirit of Leadership Individual Award, was Jerry Miller, who is the PEF’s current board President. Miller is pictured above with other PEF Board members who attended the event (R to L) Cindy Price and Tracy Mouncey; the PEF’s Executive Director Susan Copeland, and Sherriff Grady Judd.