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Press Release for Friday, October 10, 2008

Duval County Teachers Receive Gladys Roddenberry Fellowship

Contact: Joanna Norris, Assistant Director
Department of Media Relations and Events
(904) 620-2102

The University of North Florida’s College of Education and Human Services this week honored five Duval County school teachers with a Gladys Roddenberry Fellowship at the University Center on campus. The teachers each received $3,500 in order pursue an advanced degree in their field.

The Gladys Roddenberry Fellowship was established in 1998 by Gilchrist Berg, founder and president of Water Street Capital, a Jacksonville investment firm, to honor one of his elementary school teachers who had a great impact on his life.

“These exceptional awards have allowed UNF to provide support to deserving teachers as they earn their master’s degrees and pursue studies leading to further educator certifications,” said Dr. Larry Daniel, dean of the College of Education and Human Services at UNF. “We are thankful to Gilchrist Berg for his vision in advancing the professional development of wonderful teachers and for entrusting UNF with the administration of this excellent program.”

The 2008 Fellowship winners include Southside residents Keonnia Adair-Summers, Apryl Pelkey-Kokocki and Shannon Rose-Hamann as well as Westside residents Victoria Felix and Rose-Marie Green-Hanson.

Keonnia Adair-Summers teaches Spanish at Terry Parker High School. After spending five years as an English as a Second Language (ESOL) teacher at Raines High School, she was asked to move to Terry Parker this year. Her educational goals are to complete a master’s degree in secondary education (ESOL track) and then pursue a doctorate in educational leadership. Adair-Summers strives to be a role model and better herself for the sake of her students, many of whom don’t have the money to go to college. She tells them, “I got a scholarship. If you work hard, you can get a scholarship and go to college, too.”

Apryl Pelkey-Kokocki is currently teaching kindergarten at Gregory Drive Elementary School. Her students are very diverse in ethnicity, socio-economic status, family background, disabilities and learning styles. Pelkey-Kokocki demonstrates her commitment to her students by spending many hours in preparation, so that she can give her students the individualized instruction they need. She would like to develop a Web site for parents and students that would include content from all subject areas, including homework assignments, links to FCAT and future lesson plans. Pelkey-Kokocki received her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from UNF in 2003 and would like to pursue her doctorate degree in education within the next five to 10 years.

Shannon Rose-Hamann is a fifth grade teacher at Twin Lakes Academy Elementary and was selected by her peers in 2007-08 as Teacher of the Year. She became a teacher because she has always loved children and eventually would like to become an elementary school principal. Rose-Hamann is very grateful for the Roddenberry Fellowship and says that, even though she has been saving for years, she wouldn’t be able to pursue her master’s degree without the help that the fellowship provides. “Being a teacher is the best job in the world. It doesn’t even feel like work,” she said. “You are doing what you enjoy and are surrounded by people you love.”

Victoria Felix has been a freshman and sophomore math teacher at Samuel W. Wolfson for the past five years. During her third year as a teacher at Wolfson, students began to seek her advice about emotional issues and problems they were having at home. Felix realized that she needed more training in order to really help these students. As a result, she has set a goal to pursue a master’s degree in counselor education. As a future school counselor, Felix hopes to be able to provide individual support, so that more students will complete high school and will go on to pursue a college degree.

Rose-Marie Green-Hanson teaches in a K-3 ESE Inclusion classroom at Hendricks Avenue Elementary. She was born in Jamaica and has always wanted to be a teacher, but didn’t have the opportunity until later in life. Green-Hanson came to America when she was 30 and worked a variety of low-end jobs to make ends meet. About five years after she arrived in the U. S., she was able to begin school at FCCJ and eventually earned a bachelor’s degree in special education from UNF in 2004. Finally, after many years of hard work, she had achieved her dream. In her current teaching position, she focuses on reading. The more she works with children, the more she wants to learn how to teach troubled children to read. Receiving the Roddenberry Fellowship has given Green-Hanson the renewed hope that one day she will earn her master’s degree and become a reading specialist.