SUNSPRA Recognizes a Leading Light
News release - 12-9-13

SUNSPRA, the Sunshine State School Public Relations Association, annually recognizes people and organizations for providing outstanding support to public education by presenting them with the SUNSPRA Margie Davidson Leading Light Award. The award, named in memory of the late St. John’s County communications director who championed the award process, began in 2002 with the recognition of then first lady, Columba Bush.

Nominees for the prestigious award must have contributed to an education program or project which has created an environment of positive change in student achievement, school–community connections, career and technical education, and education advocacy.

This year, the award was presented to Judi Zanetti, Executive Director of the Public Education Foundation of Marion County, a non-profit fundraising arm of Marion County Public Schools. The presentation took place at the 68th Annual Joint Conference held in Tampa on December 5, 2013. Zanetti was recognized for the role she played in launching a very successful “Tools 4 Teaching” program, a teacher supply store housed at the foundation office.

During the 2012-2013 school year, Tools 4 Teaching logged 2,672 free teacher shopping visits and $121,040 in donated supplies. Since opening four years ago, Tools 4 Teaching has collected more than $400,000 in donated supplies and has provided 10,106 shopping visits for Marion County teachers.

Zanetti, a former kindergarten teacher and former Marion County school board member, spends time in the classroom mentoring students when not doing foundation business.

In nominating her for the award, Kevin Christian, Public Relations Officer and Coordinator of Television Media Production for Marion County Public Schools, cites her “demonstrated patience, perseverance, and passion to improve her community and the classrooms of teaching colleagues.”

Judi Zanetti truly is a “leading light” for public education in Marion County, and hopefully an inspiration for others in Florida.

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