Councilwoman Soud Assembles Education Task Force

September 02, 2002  

City Councilwoman Ginger Soud today announced members of the newly formed Task Force on Education. 'This group represents strong and distinguished leadership from a cross-section of our community,' Soud said. 'They are outstanding individuals who are committed to excellence in education.' City Council President Jerry Holland established the task force in July and asked Soud to chair it.

The task force will study the educational system of Duval County as it relates to governance and public policy. Soud said the task force has 2 central questions to address: 'What have other city governments done, and what must we do, to achieve excellence in education?' 'No stone will be left unturned to answer these questions,' Soud said. 'The study will be thorough and decisive. The minds of our children and the city's future are at stake.'

The Task Force will be comprised of:
- Ginger Soud, City Council, At-Large
- Stephen R. Wise, Ed.D., Florida State Senator
- Gwen Yates, City Council, District 8
- Lake Ray, City Council, District 1
- Dr. William Proctor, Chancellor of Flagler College; FL State Board of Education
- Herb Sang, former Duval County Superintendent of Education
- Sharon Burnette, educator and Governor's Teacher in Residence
- Dr. Gary Lamar Williams, Sr., Pastor of First Baptist Church of Mandarin
- Susan Lehr, Vice President for Government Relations, FCCJ
- Janet Owen, Director of Governmental Affairs, University of North Florida
- Steve F. Cagnet, Community Relations Manager at TECO People's Gas
- Tim Mann, President of Swisher International, Inc.
- Mala R. Patel, travel consultant

Task Force Volunteers include:
- Randall Haney, Instructional Program Manager for the Aviation Center for Excellence at Cecil Commerce Center
- Donna Richardson, former Duval County school vice principal and teacher
- Tony V. Iaquinto, President of Commit to Be Fit, Inc.

'Education should be the number one priority for our city since it impacts every facet of our community life,' Soud said. 'Excellence in education will benefit everyone - students, parents, teachers, business and government leaders among others, and it is central to our quality of life,' she continued. 'Our goal on the task force is to study the issues and determine bold, creative recommendations to insure a system of excellence that produces successful student outcomes,' Soud said. 'Our schools should be havens for learning as well as havens for teachers. Recommendations will be made to the City Council,' she said, 'and I believe action will be taken to achieve the goal of Excellence in Education for our city. Our people deserve no less!'

At today's organizational meeting, task force members planned a schedule of future meetings as well as developed a timeline for their work. National experts on various aspects of education and educational systems will be scheduled to testify before the task force.