By: Sharon Aron Baron
Marjory Stoneman Douglas Principal Michelle Kefford is one of Broward Education Foundation’s 2019 “Hall of Fame” honorees.
Former professional football players, a Florida State Representative and the past president of The Florida Bar Foundation are among the distinguished Broward County high school alumni who have made their mark on local communities and honored by Broward Education Foundation.
This year, Principal Kefford is one of the honorees for the Office Depot Education Achievement Award for her dedication to a career in public education.
Kefford, currently the principal for Parkland school, is the 2019 Florida Principal of the Year. She attributes her love of inquiry to the incredible teachers she had as a teenager at her beloved alma mater.
A graduate of South Plantation High School in 1992, Kefford was previously principal of Charles W. Flanagan High School for eight years. Under her leadership, the school earned its first-ever grade of “A” based on Florida’s Accountability System and was recognized by then-Governor Rick Scott for ranking in the top 10 percent of all high schools in Florida for improved reading performance and overall graduation rates. The school also was recognized for ranking in the top 20 percent for improved math performance.
As an advocate of the LGBTQ community, Kefford worked diligently to develop the current policies regarding the rights of transgender students in Broward County Public Schools and assisted other school districts with the development of their policies to ensure equity for transgender students.
One of the many highlights of Kefford career was the launch of “Kefford’s Kids,” a peer mentoring program designed to improve both the morale and academic achievement of students. The program was so successful that it is highlighted in a book published by Harvard Education Press.
Kefford, who has served on multiple committees both in the community where she has served as a principal, as well as for the School Board of Broward County, currently leads the high school re-design project which is focused on ensuring every student in Broward County graduates as college or career ready.
State of Florida Principal of the Year is among Michelle’s many accolades. She was named 2018 Broward County Principal of the Year, 2017-2018 Broward School Counselor Association (BSCA) Administrator/Advocate of the Year, 2018 Florida School Counselor Association School-Based Administrator of the Year and 2015-2016 Florida Association of Student Councils Principal of the Year. Michelle also was recognized as a 2019 Patriotic Employer by the U.S. Secretary of Defense, was a recipient of the 2018 NABSE (National Alliance of Black School Educators) Ruby Award and was selected as a finalist for the 2008-2009 Assistant Principal of the Year Award for Broward County Public Schools.
Kefford earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Florida State University, a Master of Education in Science Education from Florida International University and a Master of Education in Educational Leadership from Florida Atlantic University.
Other 2019 Broward Education Foundation Hall of Fame honorees
Receiving the JM Family Enterprises, Inc. Youth Impact Award for their positive impression on the lives of thousands of children are two Blanche Ely High School graduates Henri W. Crockett, founder, and president of Crockett Foundation, Inc., class of 1992, and Zack Crockett, vice president of Crockett Foundation, Inc., class of 1990.
Recipients of the Bank of America Community Achievement Award for significant accomplishments in any field are: Douglas Harrison, City of Miami Senior Assistant City Attorney and a graduate of the Cooper City High School, class of 1987, Juliette Lippman, attorney with Birnbaum, Lippman & Gregoire, PLLC and member of the class of 1986 at Coconut Creek High School, and Rep. Patricia H. Williams, Florida State House Representative, District 92 and graduate of Blanche Ely High School, class of 1983.
Besides Kefford, the other two honorees receiving the Office Depot Education Achievement Award for their dedication to a career in public education are: Ralph A. Aiello, III, Director of School Counseling & BRACE Advisement for Broward County Public Schools and graduate of Western High School, class of 1995, and Randall Deich, computer science teacher and STEM coordinator at Lauderhill 6-12 STEM-MED and member of the class of 1986 at Nova High School
“We are fortunate to have so many Broward County public school graduates in our community who champion education and make significant impacts in all that they do,” said Shea Ciriago, executive director of Broward Education Foundation. “We are very proud to welcome this latest class into the Broward Education Foundation’s prestigious Hall of Fame.”
Immediately following the breakfast, the BrightStar Credit Union “Walk of Fame” Alumni star unveiling for the honorees will take place at the Broward County Public Schools District Office, 600 S.E. Third Ave., Fort Lauderdale.
In addition to Publix Super Markets Charities, Memorial Healthcare System and BrightStar Credit Union, sponsors include JM Family Enterprises, Inc., Bank of America, Office Depot and Wells Fargo.
The Publix Super Markets Charities 2019 “Hall of Fame Breakfast” presented by Memorial Healthcare System will be held on Friday, October 11 at 7:30 a.m.at First Baptist FTL | Global Grille, 301 E. Broward Blvd. in Fort Lauderdale.