FADSS Enewsletter
"The inspirational value of the space program is probably of far greater importance to education than any input of dollars ...
 A whole generation is growing up which has been attracted to the hard disciplines of science and engineering by the romance of space."
— Arthur C. Clarke
FADSS 2022 - 2023 Board of Directors

Having just completed another successful year, our school districts have much for which to be proud and grateful. Reflecting on almost every indicator, we know that we are fortunate to have a well-prepared cadre of superintendents.
Florida school districts are fortunate to have dedicated leadership. Likewise, FADSS is fortunate to have a Board of Directors that provide steady and thoughtful leadership for our association. With that, I am pleased to announce the 2022 – 2023 FADSS Board of Directors:

William “Bill” Husfelt, President, Superintendent, Bay County School District
Sherrie Raulerson, President-Elect, Superintendent, Baker County School District
Tim Forson, Vice-President, Superintendent, St. Johns County School District
Dr. Diana Greene, Secretary, Superintendent, Duval County School District
Robert “Bobby” Pearce, Treasurer, Superintendent, Wakulla County School District
Area Directors

AREA IJoe Taylor, Superintendent, Washington County School District
(Bay, Escambia, Gulf, Holmes, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, Walton and Washington)
AREA II: Ted Roush, Superintendent, Suwannee County School District
(Calhoun, Franklin, Gadsden, Hamilton, Jackson, Jefferson, Lafayette, Leon, Liberty, Madison, Suwannee, Taylor, and Wakulla)
AREA III: Lex Carswell, Superintendent, Columbia County School District
(Alachua, Baker, Bradford, Clay, Columbia, Dixie, Duval, Flagler, Gilchrist, Levy, Nassau, Putnam, St. Johns and Union)
AREA IV: Dr. Mark Mullins, Superintendent, Brevard County School District
(Brevard, Citrus, Hernando, Indian River, Lake, Marion, Orange, Osceola, Pasco, St. Lucie, Seminole, Sumter, Volusia)
AREA V: Ken Kenworthy, Superintendent, Okeechobee County School District
(Charlotte, DeSoto, Hardee, Highlands, Hillsborough, Manatee, Okeechobee, Pinellas, Polk and Sarasota)
AREA VI: Dr. Kamela Patton, Superintendent, Collier County School District
(Collier, Glades, Hendry, Lee, Martin, Monroe)
AREA VII: Dr. Vicki Cartwright, Superintendent, Broward County School District
(Broward, Miami-Dade, Palm Beach)
At-Large Directors

Robbie Edwards, Lafayette County School District
Addison Davis, Hillsborough County School District 
Russell Hughes, Walton County School District 
Diane Kornegay, Lake County School District
Dr. Debra Pace, Osceola County School District
Dr. Jose Dotres, Miami-Dade County School District
Past Presidents

Sandra “Sam” Himmel, Citrus County School District
Kurt Browning, Pasco County School District
Richard Shirley, Sumter County School District
Dr. Barbara Jenkins, Orange County School District
Education Corner:
Launch to Learning STEM Forum Recap

by FADSS Director of Training Katrina Figgett
We were thrilled that so many of you were able to join us a couple of weeks ago to experience the first of its kind program offered to educators by Blue Origin’s Club for the Future and Northeast Florida STEM2Hub. We started with a relaxed gathering Thursday evening at the Rising Tide Tap & Table. Many of the presenters for the following day were able to attend including retired General John Hyten and his wife Laura, and it was lovely to talk to some of the younger family members as they filled out postcards to space and talked about their futures. General Hyten served as the 11th vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and recently joined Club for the Future as executive director of the Club for the Future foundation and as a strategic advisor.

The next day, as many of the families went off to enjoy Kennedy Space Center, the “Launch to Learning” attendees departed on a coach (thankfully with excellent air conditioning) to the main Blue Origin Facility at the Cape. In the entrance of the gleaming facility participants were able to take photographs of the New Shepard rocket, which was the first suborbital vehicle to take off and land successfully. New Shepard will be going to the Smithsonian for permanent display.

After being welcomed by Club for the Future President and Senior VP of Strategy, Marketing and Sales for Blue Origin Michael Edmonds and Dr. Kam Patton, Superintendent, Collier County and Florida Superintendent of the Year; attendees had the opportunity to hear from a variety of speakers, including:

  • Grace Johnson – Deputy Director, Office of STEM engagement NASA-KSC, who spoke on NASA education resources and reminded everyone to sign up for the NASA EXPRESS newsletter.    
  • Howard Schwartz – Senior Director of Marketing, Sales, and Education KSCVC, talked about the educational underpinnings of all the exhibits and attractions including the newly opened GatewayTM and their on-site and virtual camps.
  • Dr. Andy Aldrin – President of the Aldrin Family Foundation recorded a video message about the importance of engaging students through Space in the classroom.
  • Matt Chestnut – Vice President Business & Economic Development, Space Florida, discussed the pipeline for space related careers with special emphasis on Career and Technical Education programming.
  • David Reichard – STEM2Hub Board Chair, presented on their work in providing STEM and Computer Science resources and programming to Florida districts.  

There were also two panel discussions, a Q&A with Blue Origin Astronauts Laura Shepard Churchley, Sharon Hagle and Evan Dick about their experiences in New Shepard, and a panel moderated by Gen. Hyten with a senior manufacturing operations manager and two engineers from Blue Origin. Both Laura Shepard Churchley and Gen. Hyten talked about growing up within the space industry; Laura’s father crewed missions from Mercury to Apollo and Hyten’s father worked on the Saturn V rocket. It was fascinating to hear about the importance of space in their lives and how involved they have been, and continue to be, in the space and astronaut communities.

As luck would have it, during lunch there was a Space X Falcon 9 Starlink Satellite launch from pad 39A and all of us, along with the Blue Origin employees, went out on the balcony which spans the entire width of the Blue Origin complex facility to see it take off. Although it was a little cloudy, the sound more than made up for it!

Dr. Kathy Schofield, executive director from Northeast Florida STEM2Hub wrapped up the presentations by talking about the free Space Day programming available to districts through their partnership with Club for the Future. 

Before we boarded the coach to go out to the orbital launch complex, we were able to briefly view the High Bay manufacturing facility. The High Bay takes in raw materials delivered to the site and the whole of the manufacturing process occurs at the Cape. Blue Origin is the only company where manufacturing, launching, landing and mission control are on the same site. Everything happens within a 9 mile radius which will mean quick turnaround times. We are hopefully we will be able to take a tour on the floor of the High Bay on another occasion.

After the High Bay, it was off on the coach to launch pad 36. This site is steeped in history having hosted over 140 Atlas II/III rocket launches including the Mariner, Pioneer and Surveyor missions. We got to tour the site of Blue Origin’s newly built launch pad and hanger complex where New Glenn’s payload integration will take place and the first stage will be refurbished between launches. New Glenn is designed to fly 25 times before needing to go back to the High Bay. Several interesting facts we learned were that they dug down 17 stories and put in over 700 pylons to create a structurally sound launch pad, also the water tower that provides the deluge during takeoff releases a million gallons in 22 seconds! The water is actually used for acoustic suppression otherwise the vibrations would literally shake the rocket apart.

We ended the tour with a photo opportunity at the Interplanetary Road to Space 0 mile sign at the launch pad ramp; then it was back on the coach to return to the manufacturing complex and an opportunity to purchase Blue Origin gear before heading back to the hotel.

It was a wonderful day that highlighted the importance of STEM in our curricula both for creating student engagement and providing for the space industry workforce here in Florida which will only expand as we go into the future.   
Group photos: (above) at the Interplanetary Road to Space 0 mile sign at the launch pad ramp; (below) at the Blue Origin facility with the Blue Origin astronauts and program speakers.
Launch to Learning Participant Comments
“What an amazing opportunity, touring Blue Origins facilities and meeting with 3 people who have been in space. Even more touching was the personal stories of how teachers created the spark of passion in each of them along with former Vice-chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General John Hyten. It was overwhelming to hear these stories of educators going above and beyond which led to people rising to meet challenges they thought impossible! Excited to create STEM innovation in Levy.”

Chris Cowart (Superintendent, Levy County)
“The opportunity to tour Blue Origin’s New Glenn Manufacturing Complex and Orbital Launch Site was an incredible experience. Not only was I inspired by the amazing testimonies from Blue Origin Astronauts and staff, but I was also very encouraged to discover the many available resources to enhance our current STEM programs. I look forward to partnering with STEM2 Hub and Kennedy Space Center to further develop space-based Career and Technical Education Programs in Highlands County.”
Dr. Brenda Longshore (Superintendent, Highlands County)
“I have been enamored by space since I was a little girl, and even dreamed of being an astronaut. So, for me personally – I was ecstatic to participate in the Launch to Learn STEM forum to learn more about STEM education and new career pathways in the space sector. I particularly enjoyed meeting General John Hyten and the Blue Origin astronauts, and the behind-the-scenes tour of the Blue Origin manufacturing complex and launch site was amazing!” 

Dr. Kam Patton (Superintendent, Collier County)
“Thank you for giving me the opportunity to comment on this wonderful event. I appreciate FADSS supporting and inviting us to learn more about STEM education programs and career pathway opportunities that are available within the space. I was able to network and learn about opportunities available to students with cutting edge STEM organizations, Blue Origin, Club for the Future and others.  The careers that will be available to future generations to pursue careers in STEM and "invent the future of life in space for the benefit of Earth" are thrilling. Bay District Schools is excited to begin a partnership and encourage our principals and teacher leaders to participate and engage in these opportunities in the future.”

Denise Kelly (Deputy Superintendent, Bay County)
FADSS 2022 - 2023 Annual Partners
Be sure to follow FADSS on Twitter [@PublicSchoolSup] and tag FADSS in your district tweets so we can share the great stories and happenings in Florida public schools across our state!
Florida Association of District School Superintendents
208 South Monroe Street
Tallahassee, FL 32301