Florida Governor Honors Troops to Teachers Veterans
By Ed Barker
Naval Education and Training Command
TALLAHASSEE, Fla., Nov. 21, 2013 – Florida Gov. Rick Scott has honored five educators certified through the Troops to Teachers Program with the Governor’s Shine Award for exemplary service to their country and contributions to Florida’s students.
The Governor’s Shine Award is presented to Floridians who have positively impacted children through education.
Kim Stefansson, a Navy veteran and currently a history teacher at Bellview Middle School represented the veterans.
“Both the military and education career fields call for flexibility and those who are not easily deterred,” Stefansson told a meeting of the governor’s cabinet. “Both careers call for service 24/7, whether you are standing watch or spending your weekends grading papers, and both jobs ask our families to be supportive when we need extra time to do our jobs.”
“It is an honor to thank these teachers who went from serving their country to serving Florida students in the classroom,” Gov. Scott said.
“A great education system is key to creating a highly-skilled workforce and driving our economy forward,” the governor added. “These teachers have gone above and beyond the call of duty by preparing our students today for the jobs of tomorrow and I thank them for their continued service to Florida families.”
David Silverman, a veteran of both the Marine Corps and Florida Army National Guard, is now teaching adults at the Clay County Center for Adult and Community education in Orange Park, Fla. He said that like many of the jobs he held in the military, teaching adults is enjoyable.
“Teaching adults in many respects is easier than teaching kids — they want to be here and really care about getting an education; they need to get their diploma or GED to get or keep a job, so they are definitely motivated with a positive attitude,” Silverman said.
William McAleer, Chief of the Troops to Teachers Program for the Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support in Pensacola Fla., said that teaching is an outstanding fit for many veterans.
“Every service member was training their replacement while on active duty,” McAleer said. “They bring real-life experiences into the classroom and add perspective to subjects. Florida is one of the leaders hiring veterans through the Troops to Teachers Program and in the past three years has helped 393 veterans obtain positions in Florida’s schools. It’s gratifying to see that Governor Scott is recognizing the service, hard work and contributions that veterans bring to education.”
The other Florida Troops to Teachers veterans honored with Shine Awards at the cabinet meeting included: Kenneth McAllister, an Air Force veteran now teaching at Clay High School in Green Cove Springs; Jacqueline Williams, a Navy veteran now teaching at A. Phillip Randolph High School Academies of Technology in Jacksonville; and Glenn Meyer, an Air Force veteran and 5th grade teacher at Navy Point Elementary in Pensacola.