Twelve Finalists for EVE Awards Women Bring Vision, Leadership into 2000

Article excerpt

The three EVEs of 2000 will be leaders who can follow, achievers who inspire others and visionaries who are not afraid to tackle the impossible.

They will be chosen from finalists in each of three areas, Education, Volunteer Service and Employment. Winners will be announced June 16 at the EVE Awards luncheon at the Prime Osborn Convention Center. Educator, author, radio commentator and storyteller Lorraine Johnson-Coleman will be keynote speaker.

Here are brief profiles of the finalists, by category.

EDUCATION

SYLVIA MCDONALD JOHNSON

Principal Sylvia McDonald Johnson transformed West Jacksonville Elementary School from a "D" rating to what the accreditation committee for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools referred to as "one of the best kept secrets in Jacksonville."

She built partnerships with the University of North Florida College of Education and Human Services to give her teachers access to more resources and to give student teachers a positive experience in an inner-city school. She found letter-writing mentors from the business community for each fourth-grader to help students with their writing skills.

After-school programs introduce students and their families to computer skills, parenting classes and literacy programs. Home visits are made to any student with unexplained absences. Senior citizens hold meetings at the school and participate in school activities.

West Jacksonville Elementary now has a stable faculty who choose to teach there; out-of-school suspensions are down.

"She is quite remarkable, a very classy lady in a tough educational situation," said Katherine Kasten, dean of UNF's College of Education and Human Services.

MARILYN REPSHER

In 1999, Jacksonville University honored Marilyn Repsher, professor of mathematics and chairwoman of the mathematics department, with two Presidential Teaching awards for her courses in calculus and college algebra. Then the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education named her U. S. Professor of the Year for Master's Universities and Colleges, the highest award for teaching that a university faculty member can receive. In March, she was selected as a Carnegie Scholar, one of 40 faculty nationwide who will work together to develop new conceptual methods of teaching.

Her innovative methods have spread to the local school system and have resulted in her department being singled out for its innovations by the American Association of Colleges and Uni- versities in the Handbook of the Undergraduate Curriculum (1996).

"She's a person who can just make math a joy for students, which it usually isn't," said Joan Carver, dean of JU's College of Arts and Sciences.

CAROLYN STONE

Carolyn Stone is both an innovator and a problem solver, according to Laurel Anderson, supervisor of guidance services for Duval County Public Schools. Anderson has watched the assistant professor in counselor education at the University of North Florida transform that department into a national model for school counselor education.

Stone created a school counselor master's program, "School Counselors: Supporters of Academic Rigor," SOAR for short. In addition to actively recruiting minority candidates, the program better prepares counselors to help students succeed academically. As a result, UNF was one of six universities out of 72 to receive a Dewitt Wallace-Reader's Digest grant to transform school counseling.

"Bringing this vision to reality meant making changes that many thought impossible: separating the school [academic] counselor from the mental health counselor program and revising the entire core curriculum," said Anderson.

NINA WATERS

Nina Waters, executive director of PACE Center for Girls of Jacksonville, led a team of staff and volunteers in raising $2. …