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2 Lake leaders among Leadership Academy graduates


Florida Commissioner of Education Pam Stewart recently honored  the second class of graduates of the Commissioner’s Leadership Academy. Graduates consist of 127 educators taking part for the first time and 38 Facilitators-in-Training who participated in a second year of the Academy to develop highly specialized instructional leadership skills.

Lake County's honorees were Clermont Middle School Principal Steven Benson and Director of Professional Development and Leadership Amy Cockcroft, who was recognized as a Facilitator in Training.

Commissioner Stewart was joined by State Board of Education member Andy Tuck, Chancellor of K-12 Public Schools Hershel Lyons and Dr. Elaine Lifton from the Council for Educational Change, who welcomed the graduates and district leaders to the ceremony and delivered opening remarks.


“We often highlight the fact that today’s students are tomorrow’s leaders, and we cannot forget that the same concept applies to educators throughout their professional career,” said Commissioner Stewart. “I commend this year’s graduates for taking the initiative to deepen their instructional leadership skills that will greatly benefit their students, and I look forward to seeing them continue to grow in their profession.”


“The Commissioner’s Leadership Academy is a tremendous opportunity for education leaders to develop and enhance their leadership skills so they are better prepared to help students excel,” said State Board member Andy Tuck. “It is an honor to attend the graduation ceremony, and I encourage more emerging leaders to take advantage of this quality program.”


The graduation ceremony marks the culmination of a year-long course of study in which Florida principals, principal supervisors and education leaders participated in job-embedded and research-based activities designed to increase their knowledge about teacher effectiveness and student achievement. The rigorous professional development programs include three learning institutes and five school site “learning walks” to practice instructional leadership skills and build a cadre of school district facilitators.


“State Farm is proud to support the Commissioner’s Leadership Academy and their efforts to provide opportunities for school leaders to embrace new strategies for learning in our Florida schools,” said Jose Soto, State Farm Community Specialist for Florida.


The Commissioner’s Leadership Academy, presented by State Farm, is a collaboration between the Florida Department of Education, the University of Washington’s Center for Educational Leadership and the Council for Educational Change. Education leaders throughout Florida were nominated by their district superintendent as leaders poised to make a difference in their school.


For a full list of the 2016 graduates, visit Commissioner’s Leadership Academy.