Archive for the ‘Alumni’ Category

FSU COE Alumnus Named Best Teacher in the Nation

February 20, 2018 Leave a comment


Bobbie Cavnar

Bobbie Cavnar

Florida State University alumnus Bobbie Cavnar said he never dreamed that his passions for education and Shakespearian literature would lead to him being named the best teacher in the nation. Cavnar, 40, recently told The Charlotte Observer he was astounded when he discovered he was being awarded $35,000 by the National Education Association Foundation and named the nation’s best teacher for 2018. He was honored at the 2018 Salute to Excellence in Education Gala Feb. 9 in Washington D.C.

He has spent most of his career teaching literature at South Point High School, located 10 miles outside Charlotte, North Carolina. He gives lectures in a classroom elaborately decorated with paintings and antiques — intended to captivate his students and encourage them to acknowledge the beauty of language.Dean Marcy Driscoll said Cavnar’s award puts a spotlight on the work the FSU College of Education is doing to train aspiring educators.“We need music, we need dancing, we need painting, we need the arts,” said Cavnar in his acceptance speech. “For it is the arts that teach us how to understand each other.”

“We aim to prepare our students to make a positive impact not only in their communities, but in the field of education at large,” said Marcy Driscoll, dean of the FSU College of Education. “Bobbie is a shining example of this mission and we couldn’t be prouder of the great work he’s doing. This recognition is a testament to the quality of our both our students and our programs here at FSU.”

After graduating from Florida State in 1999 with a degree in English Education, he spent a brief period of time teaching in south Florida before settling down at South Point H.S.

In 2016, Cavnar was selected as North Carolina’s Teacher of the Year. Local sponsors put his face on a billboard overlooking Interstate 85 as it runs through the center of Gaston County.

Cavnar accepts the NEA Member Benefits Award for Teaching Excellence Feb. 9 in Washington, D.C.
Cavnar accepts the NEA Member Benefits Award for Teaching Excellence Feb. 9 in Washington, D.C.


Cavnar takes great pride in his work. Among his students, he is known as the teacher who brings Shakespeare and literature to life. His enthusiastic teaching style makes it easy for his students to engage with the material and develop a more exciting outlook on learning.

He first developed that style at Florida State, where he used his love of literature to make a difference in his community.

During his freshman year, he took an Intro to Education course, which required him to give a lesson at a local high school. He taught a lesson on the Langston Hughes poem “Theme for English B,” a story about a black student writing to an older white professor. The students loved it and bombarded Cavnar with questions.

He walked out of that classroom knowing that teaching was what he wanted to do with his life, and he hasn’t looked back.


Check out his acceptance speech at

Sport Psychology alum to serve as sport psychologist for USA Track & Field

July 15, 2016 Leave a comment

July 15, 2016

Chris Stanley

Chris Stanley

Chris Stanley — a researcher at Florida State University’s Florida Center for Reading Research — is set to serve as one of two sport psychologists for the USA Track and Field team at the U20 World Junior Championships from July 19 to July 24 in Bydgoszcz, Poland.

Stanley, who earned his MS in Sport Psychology at FSU in ’04, also serves as an adjunct faculty member for FSU’s sport psychology program. He is thrilled to be a part of USATF’s medical support staff for one of the world’s most important competitions in the sport of track and field.

“These are young athletes — older adolescents and emerging adults,” Stanley said. “This is a significant milestone for them and there are a lot of psychosocial aspects that need to be monitored. The sport psychologists are there to help them be aware of these things and the challenges that may arise and impact their performance, positively or negatively.”

Read more… 


Job opportunities for the upcoming school year

June 3, 2016 Leave a comment

job opps

Innovation Charter School in Pompano Beach, FL job openings for the 2016-2017 school year:

  • K-4th Grade Teachers

  • Interested applicants may contact Tiffanie Holm.

    Community Leadership Academy in Tallahassee, FL job openings:

    • Middle School Math Teacher
    • Middle School Science Teacher
    • K-8th Grade Music Teacher
    • First Grade Teacher

    Interested applicants can visit and contact Heidi Stidham.

    Florida State University Schools (FSUS) in Tallahassee, FL job openings for the 2016-2017 year:

    • Instructor (10 Month Position)– Math, Science, Latin Grades 6 – 12 (4 positions)
    • Instructor (10 Month Position) – Grades 3 – 5

    Apply online or contact Mandy Manning.

    Grady County, GA job openings for the 2016-2017 school year:

    • High School Science Teacher
    • English Language Arts Teacher
    • Art Teacher
    • Middle Grades Math Teacher
    • Foreign Language (Spanish) Teacher

    Fill out an application at or contact Dana Pritchett.

    Indian River Academy in Vero Beach, Florida job openings for the 2016-2017 school year:

    • Fifth Grade Teacher
    • Fifth Grade ELA Teacher
    • Media Specialist

    Fill out an application at or contact Diane Fannin, Principal, or Meghan Davis, Assistant Principal.

    New York Film Academy based out of a new South Beach, Miami location:

    • Assistant Director of Recruitment position

    Click here for more information or contact Maria Culbertson.

    The School of Arts and Sciences in Tallahassee, FL job opening for the fall 2016 semester from 8:30-12:30:

    • Long-Term Substitute in Second Grade Math or Behavior Management

    For more information, contact or

    The School of Arts and Sciences at the Centre (SASC) in Tallahassee, FL job opening for the 2016-2017 school year:

    • Associate Teacher to co-teach with Lead Teacher K-3
      Associate Teacher to work with a Lead Teacher in a multi-aged K/1 or 2/3 classroom with 25 students. The curriculum at The School of Arts & Sciences Center is teacher created, based on the Florida Standards. Applicant must be creative, flexible, and have the ability to plan and execute hands-on, thematic lessons, often with guidance from the Lead Teacher. A valid Florida Teaching Certificate in field is required and pay starts at $14.50 per hour for 38 hours per week. Benefits (medical insurance, retirement, leave) are available. Associate Teachers proven highly effective with strong classroom management can move into a Lead Teacher position within 1-2 years. Conscious Discipline training preferred.

    If interested, please submit a resume and cover letter with Associate Teacher Position in the subject line by June 24, 2016 to Lindsey Merrick, Principal at

    West Bainbridge Elementary in Bainbridge, GA immediate opening:

    • Fourth Grade Teacher

    Contact Principal Jamie Ard.

    Do you have a job opening you’d like us to add? Send the available positions and contact information to

FSU alumni establish scholarship for students from North Central Florida

May 3, 2016 Leave a comment

Pictured L-R are Tom Vlasak, Evelyn Smith Vlasak, Suzette Wiggins (Hamilton County School Board) and Tom Moffses (Hamilton County School District Superintendent).

A new scholarship has been established that will benefit Hamilton, Suwannee or Madison county students who wish to pursue a major in the Florida State University College of Education thanks to the generosity of College of Education alumni Tom and Evelyn Smith Vlasak.

The Tom and Evelyn Smith Vlasak Endowed Education Scholarship will cover tuition expenses for one College of Education student per year.

“The district and students of Hamilton County are extremely grateful and humbled at the generosity of Mr. and Mrs. Vlasaks’ Endowed Scholarship,” Hamilton County Superintendent Tom Moffses said. “This is a wonderful opportunity for our students to continue their educational path and it shows the dedication of Hamilton County natives to give back to their community.”

Evelyn Smith Vlasak graduated as the valedictorian of Jennings High School in 1962. Inspired by her math teacher, Minnie Shiver, she went on to earn her bachelor’s degree in mathematics education from Florida State University in 1969 while working to earn enough money to cover her tuition, housing and other college expenses.

“When I was in school, I had to work 35 hours a week,” Evelyn Vlasak said. “If it were not for Tom’s mother’s generosity, I may have never finished school. Now that we are able to give back, we want to give someone else an opportunity.”

Students interested in a career in education should visit the College of Education website at

FSU alumni, faculty, and friends reception at AERA annual meeting

March 10, 2016 Leave a comment
AERA invite 1-4-16

Annual Reception

Join us for the Florida State University Annual Reception sponsored by friends of the College of Education and held in conjunction with the 2016 American Educational Research Association (AERA) annual meeting in Washington, DC. The event will take place on Saturday, April 9th from 7:00-9:00PM at the International Spy Museum. Admission is free and all FSU alumni, students, faculty, and friends are welcome to attend. Complimentary cocktails and food will be provided.

The AERA annual meeting is the largest gathering of scholars in the field of education research. It is a showcase for ground-breaking, innovative studies in a diverse array of areas from early education through higher education. This year 78 faculty members, graduate students, alumni, and researchers from the College of Education will be presenting their research. View the complete list of AERA 2016 FSUCOE presenters and research topics.

For more information about the reception or to RSVP, please contact Marah Kirsten Harrington.

College of Education faculty, alumni establish new K-12 summer program

February 1, 2016 Leave a comment

To sponsor a child, click here or contact

A hundred local children will have access to learning programs aimed at curbing summer learning loss and closing achievement gaps, thanks to a collaborative effort of faculty and alumni at Florida State University and Florida A&M University this summer.

The group will help provide an opportunity for children in Leon and Gadsden counties to participate in quality summer enrichment programs.

North Florida Freedom Schools (NFFS), a new nonprofit co-sponsored by Florida State University and Florida A&M University, has been selected by the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) to operate two CDF Freedom School six-week summer program sites from June 13 to July 22.

The organization was created in 2015 as a result of NFFS Co-Executive Directors Kristal Moore Clemons and Keely Norris’ past experiences working with the CDF Freedom School program. Norris is an FSU alumna and special education teacher, and Clemons is an assistant professor and director of the College of Education’s online Ed.D. program in Educational Leadership and Policy.

“The goal is to empower K-12 students in low socioeconomic status communities to make a difference through civic action projects, while also staving off summer reading loss using a culturally responsive reading curriculum,” said Alysia Roehrig, NFFS research director and associate professor of educational psychology at Florida State.

Students who participate in the camps will have the chance to take part in diverse afternoon activities supported by organizations in the community, such as the Institute for Research in Music and Entertainment Industry Studies at FAMU, Florida State University’s Center for Sport, Health and Equitable Development, TITUS Sports Academy and the REAL Life Student Program. The students will receive free summer learning opportunities and free meals.

The summer camp teachers, who will be undergraduate students or recent graduates, will have the opportunity to learn about critical teaching techniques.

They also will have mentoring opportunities to learn about the strengths of diverse students and gain experience in conducting research in education.

Faculty will conduct studies with camp participants and their parents to assess their needs and improve the program.

Florida State Associate Professor Joshua I. Newman and Assistant Professors George L. Boggs and Graig M. Chow, along with FSU alumnae Tricia James and Sheila LaBissiere are part of the project team.

Several Florida A&M faculty members also are involved: Associate Professor Peggy Auman, who is also an FSU alumna; Kawachi Clemons, associate professor; Patricia Green-Powell, professor and associate dean, also an FSU alumna; Serena Roberts, director of the Center for Academic Success; and Phyllis Y. Watson, director of the Division of Continuing Education.

To apply for the paid summer internship as a servant leader, visit Applications are due Feb. 18.

To sponsor a child or provide financial support to fund stipends for student leaders, click here or contact Donations made to the FSU Foundation can also be designated to North Florida Freedom Schools.

COE alumna named Leon County Teacher of the Year

December 17, 2015 Leave a comment

Julie Arasi, a three-time FSU College of Education alumna, was named the 2015-2016 Leon County Schools Teacher of the Year.

Arasi, a third-grade teacher at Kate Sullivan Elementary School, has been teaching for eight years. She initially began at the school as a physical education teacher before transitioning to a classroom position. “I found my dream job at Kate Sullivan,” said Arasi.  “This is all I want to do — connect with students and watch them learn.”

This semester, Arasi graduated from the FSU College of Education with a master’s degree in Educational Leadership/Administration. She also earned a bachelor’s degree in Physical Education in 2007 and a master’s degree in Physical Education the following year.

Arasi has brought the COE’s “student focused, innovation driven” concept into her own classroom at Kate Sullivan. She was noted in the Tallahassee Democrat for fostering student engagement in learning through educational initiatives inside and outside the classroom when she launched “Genius Hour,” a program that facilitates students’ participation in research-based projects. “Genius Hour” gives students opportunities to interact with local experts in specific fields, such as science or public speaking. She is also behind a new initiative called I-LEAD, which bolsters students’ involvement with their own education.

For more information on Julie Arasi and the LCS Teacher of the Year finalists, view the article by the Tallahassee Democrat.

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