Sylvia M. Thomasson Educational Leadership Enhancement Program
palm tree image Sylvia M. Thomasson
Sunday, June 23, 2024

Class of 2011

The College of Central Florida assumed primary responsibility for the coordination of the 2011 program. Dr. MaryEtta Fisher and Patricia Glennon shared this responsibility as Dr. Fisher retired mid-year. Dr. Michelle Balon, assistant dean of instructional services at Pasco-Hernando Community College and Dr. Barbara Howard, vice president of academic and student affairs at Lake-Sumter State College provided program support and organization at their respective institutions.

2010-2011 agenda

Opening session/joint conference with the FIU Educational Leadership Enhancement Program

2011 leadership retreat
2011 leadership retreat
In September, the 2011 class participated in “Reaching for the Top,” a joint conference organized by Florida International University’s Educational Leadership Enhancement Program. Program participants had the opportunity to network and collaborate with leadership program participants from Florida International University, Hillsborough Community College and Polk State College.

Highlights from this conference included Dr. Eileen Holden, president of Polk State College, who facilitated a role-playing activity and spoke about “Using our Strengths, Managing our Weaknesses.” Marie McDemmond, president emeritus of Norfolk State University and interim dean at FIU, shared her personal and professional experiences with “What I Know Now, That I Wish I Knew 20 Years Ago.” Valparaisa Baker of Polk State College facilitated a panel discussion with program alumni. Tracey Moore, professor of voice and theatre at Western Kentucky University presented “Finding Freedom in Public Speaking,” and Dr. Mona Rankin, executive vice president at the State University of New York - Old Westbury was interviewed by Dr. Barbara Bader, director of the Educational Leadership Enhancement program at Florida International University.

Resume building and goal setting
The consortium met at Lake-Sumter State College in November to learn about resume building and goal setting. Welcomed by Dr. Barbara Howard, vice president for academic and student affairs, and Dr. Charles Mojock, president, the group participated in two sessions. The first, conducted by Nora Rackely, associate librarian and LSSC and Sylvia Thomasson Leadership Enhancement Program alumna, taught program participants to use LINCCWEB’s Testing and Education Reference Center to create resumes, and provided helpful information regarding the use of this powerful resource. The afternoon session featured Anita Torres of Alternative Learning designs, who presented tools and strategies to help participants set goals and navigate through their chosen career path.

In December, participants met with the program contacts at their respective institutions to further hone their resumes and establish career goals on an individual basis.

Presidents’ forum
The College of Central Florida hosted the Presidents’ Forum in January 2011. Dr. Charles Dassance, president of the College of Central Florida, Dr. Katherine M. Johnson, president of Pasco-Hernando Community College and Dr. Charles Mojock, president of Lake-Sumter State College shared very candid conversation with the group, regarding their leadership styles, leadership experiences, decision making, the importance of mentoring and servant leadership, community inclusion and involvement and tips for achieving work-life balance.

Donnah Ross, director of corporate training and continuing education at the College of Central Florida, facilitated a discussion on Developing Leadership and Personal Skills for Career Advancement.

Lessons in leadership
In February, the consortium met at Pasco-Hernando Community College where Dr. Michelle Balon facilitated a day filled with informative presentations and team-building exercises. Lisa Richardson, assistant dean of developmental education at PHCC shared information regarding making the most of the group’s trip to Tallahassee. Vince Daviero, an instructor in PHCC’s business administration program, shared the presentation, “I’m Not a Leader, But I Play One on TV,” which discussed different leadership styles, the importance of nurturing in leadership, effective leadership, and real-world examples of leadership.

A highlight of the day was a team-building exercise facilitated by Dr. Balon, “The Leader and the Egg.” Participants were divided into groups and given a raw egg along with different materials to construct a means to protect their egg during a launch. Working together, the groups had to problem-solve and brainstorm to develop a means of protecting their eggs. After lunch, Brian Horn, PHCC’s associate dean of administration, finance and comptroller, presented ”What Leaders Need to Know about Budgeting and Strategic Planning.” This session shed light on fiscal concerns, responsibilities and challenges that a leader would face in an educational setting.

The leader within you
The consortium returned to Lake Sumter Community College in March. Participants were greeted once more by Dr. Barbara Howard. A panel discussion on leadership featured Dr. Mary Jo Rager, dean for career and technical programs, Dr. Gary Sligh, dean of general education and transfer programs, and Tim Kane, executive director of human resources in addition to Dr. Howard. The afternoon session featured Anita Torres of Alternative Learning Designs, who led the group through several exercises to help them enhance communication and interpersonal skills, and to understand their role as a leader.

Tallahassee visit
In April, the group travelled to Tallahassee to learn about leadership at a legislative level. Highlights of the trip included a meeting with Supreme Court Justice Peggy A. Quince, whose frank and open discussion of her career path and role as a supreme court justice was truly inspiring, and a meeting with Michael Brawer of the Association of Florida Colleges, who shared information about AFC’s advocacy role in the legislature on behalf of Florida College System employees. The group attended a legislative breakfast and panel discussion with Representative Anitere Flores and other representatives. The consortium also heard from Chancellor Frank Brogan, Chancellor Will Holcombe, and several other senior staff members from the Board of Governors, Department of Education and the Florida College System. These staff members included Dr. Dorothy J. Minear, senior associate vice chancellor of academic and student affairs for the State University System of Florida Board of Governors, Dr. Judith Bilsky, executive vice chancellor for academic affairs and student success for the Department of Education, Division of Florida Colleges, Kristie Harris, director of the Budget and Fiscal Policy Office of the State University System Board of Governors, and Julie Alexander, associate vice chancellor of Learning Initiatives for the Department of Education, Division of Florida Colleges.

Class project
For our leadership project, the group produced a modern paper and interactive presentation titled, “Work-Life Balance: Harnessing the Undiscovered Potential Within.” This study examined the history of the work-life balance concept, common factors and life issues that affect work-life balance, assessing the state of an individual’s work-life balance and helpful practices and strategies to bring one’s life back into a state of balance. Both the paper and presentation are general enough that they can be used at each of the participating schools.


2011 leadership retreat
2011 graduation
Graduation was held at the College of Central Florida on May 19, 2011. Patricia Glennon welcomed participants and guests. The graduates enjoyed two speakers, Dr. James Harvey, vice president for administration and finance at the College of Central Florida, and Toni James, president of Toni James and Associates. Dr. Harvey shared his memories of Sylvia Thomasson, the leadership program’s namesake. Toni James spoke about leadership and its challenges. The graduates presented their project, which was well received.

Graduation program

Joint conference with FIU Consortium
In June, some members of the group attended a final joint conference with Florida International University’s Educational Leadership Enhancement Program, which was held in Naples. There they presented the group project once more. They also watched the presentation of final projects from other program participants at Florida International University, Hillsborough Community College and Polk State College, and enjoyed other speakers who shared leadership topics.

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