Project H.O.P.E. responds to long-term needs in Hurricane Irma’s wake   

Two teams of local Hurricane Irma survivors have just deployed to respond to the long-term needs of their neighbors in Lee and Collier counties. Project H.O.P.E. provides free, confidential emotional support and resource linkage to individuals, families, groups, businesses and organizations such as faith-based communities, schools and neighborhood associations that are still dealing with the aftermath of the storm.

Everyone within Lee or Collier county lines is eligible and can reach Project H.O.P.E. by calling 239.260.7302.

The grant-funded program provides intensive training to the small army of outreach workers, who will soon become a common sight in Southwest Florida neighborhoods, at public events and at information tables at agencies and facilities such as United Way Houses, food pantries and community centers.

While many survivors have been able to move on with their lives in the months following the hurricane, many are still facing challenges. As neighbors came together spontaneously in the immediate aftermath, that spirit of helping is still needed to ensure a vibrant Southwest Florida community for residents, businesses and visitors for years to come.

Using data from the state of Florida, the federal government designated three of the state’s 67 counties in need of Project H.O.P.E. A team has also deployed in the Keys. The project will be in place through September 30.

Jackie Collins Named Cape Coral Charter Schools Superintendent

The governing board of the City of Cape Coral Charter School Authority has appointed Jacquelin Collins as the new superintendent of the charter school system. Collins served as the interim superintendent since the departure of Nelson Stephenson in April 2017. Collins will oversee the charter school system with more than 3,500 students and supporting staff, spanning four schools and two campuses.

Collins joined the charter school system as a teacher for gifted and talented students when Christa McAuliffe Elementary School opened in 2006. She later performed the duties of assistant principal and school principal from 2010-17.  

Collins will be supervising the administrative departments of the charter school system. She will also be responsible for long-term strategic planning and serve as the liaison between the Lee County School District and the City of Cape Coral Charter School Governing Board.

Collins has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland and a master’s degree in educational leadership from Nova University. She also holds a teaching certificate from the Florida Department of Education. Originally from New Jersey, Collins lives in Cape Coral with her husband and children.  

James Stephens International Academy Principal Named 
Principal of the Year

Ken Savage, the principal at James Stephens International Academy in Fort Myers, was named Florida’s Principal of the Year at the Commissioner’s Summit for Principals held in February in Orlando. He received a $5,000 cash prize.

Savage was appointed principal in June 2016. Since taking the helm, he has helped improve the school’s grade from an F to a B. Savage is a member of Principal Leads in Lee County and mentors other administrators.

Superintendent Greg Adkins nominated Savage for the award, and he was named one of three finalists in January. 

Local High School Students named Sunshine State Scholars

Audrianna Macchia from North Fort Myers High School and Mary Brady from Cape Coral High School have been selected as Sunshine State Scholars for 2018. The recognition means they are the Lee County School District’s top 11th-grade students in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics and will attend an event May 17-18 in Orlando.

The Sunshine State Scholars event is a convergence of Florida’s highest-caliber STEM students, universities and employers. Audrianna and Mary will join the state’s 100 other top 11th-grade STEM students. Together they will conduct a think tank on tough Florida challenges, and each scholar will be recognized by the commissioner of education.

Audrianna has a weighted GPA of 5.14 and has completed 146 hours of community service. 

Mary is the founder and president of the Science National Honors Society at Cape Coral High School. She participated in a two-week STEM camp at Florida Gulf Coast University last summer. She has a weighted GPA of 5.0.