Sarasota County School District Superintendent Todd Bowden announced today that the principals of Heron Creek Middle School in North Port and Brookside Middle School in Sarasota will trade positions effective July 1. He also announced principal changes for Oak Park School and Emma E. Booker Elementary School.

Heron Creek Principal Matthew Gruhl will become principal at Brookside. Brookside Principal Kristine Lawrence will move to Heron Creek.

Emma E. Booker Principal Dawn Clayton has accepted a position in the district office as Supervisor of Pupil Support Services, Alternative Programs, Dropout Prevention and Discipline. Oak Park Principal Edwina Oliver will become principal at Emma E. Booker. The Oak Park principal’s position will be advertised beginning next week.

Bowden said the exchange of the middle school principals’ positions will help both principals to be more active in the communities where the schools are located. Gruhl lives in Sarasota and Lawrence lives in North Port. Lawrence served for four years as principal of Woodland Middle School in North Port and five years as an assistant principal at Heron Creek.

Gruhl was principal of Buffalo Creek Middle School in Palmetto before joining the Sarasota district in 2014. He previously was a social studies teacher, coach and high school assistant principal in Manatee and Pasco counties.

He holds an education specialist degree in educational leadership, a master’s degree in social science education from the University of South Florida and a bachelor’s degree in sociology and social studies teaching from Francis Marion University in South Carolina.

Gruhl said, “I have really enjoyed working with the Heron Creek community and will miss them. At the same time, as a Sarasota resident, I am thrilled to be serving the students, faculty, and community at Brookside. Go Cuda Nation!”

Lawrence was appointed to the Brookside position in 2011 after serving as principal of Woodland Middle School in North Port from when the school opened in 2007. She was an assistant principal at Heron Creek from 2002-07

Lawrence holds a bachelor’s degree in German and Spanish, a master’s degree in secondary education and a master’s degree in school administration and supervision from Indiana University.

She came to Sarasota from Indianapolis, where she was a teacher and served as a middle school assistant principal and three years as a middle school principal.

Lawrence said, “It has been my pleasure and honor to work with the Brookside staff, students and community for the past six years. I will miss this team. As a North Port resident, I look forward to returning to the staff, students and community where I began my career with Sarasota County Schools.”

Oliver is a Sarasota Newtown native and a graduate of Booker High School. She holds a bachelor’s degree in specific learning disabilities and a master’s degree in educational leadership from the University of South Florida.

She began her career in 1993 as a special education teacher in Palm Beach County. She was named Boca Raton Rotary Teacher of the Year in 1999.

That same year she returned to Sarasota to teach at Emma E. Booker Elementary School. She was named Teacher of the Year at Booker Elementary in 2001.

In 2002 she joined the Booker Middle School faculty. There she was a resource reading teacher for students with disabilities, an exceptional student education liaison and the coordinator of the after-school program.

She became an assistant principal at Booker High School in 2007. There she supervised the Exceptional Student Education department and led the Positive Behavior Response Intervention team.

She was appointed program director of Phoenix Academy in 2012 and was named principal of Oak Park in 2013. Oak Park School serves students with exceptionalities who cannot be accommodated in a traditional school setting.

While at Oak Park, Oliver focused on strengthening positive collaboration between staff, business partners and parents to provide the best environment for students to be successful academically and socially.

Dawn Clayton has been principal of Emma E. Booker Elementary School since 2008.

She is a cum laude graduate of the City College of New York. She holds a master’s degree in elementary education and a second master’s degree in administration and supervision. She earned a doctorate in Educational Leadership from the University of Pennsylvania in 2016.

She taught elementary school in New York state from 1995-2003. She has conducted research and presented on a variety of educational issues, including culturally responsive teaching, accountability, literacy, teaching students with learning disabilities, school safety and web page design.

She served as the assistant principal at Fruitville Elementary School from 2003 until her appointment to as principal of Emma E. Booker. While at Emma E., she has worked with the district’s Facilities Department to improve the flow of activity in the front office, to reorganize the student services area, to eliminate portables and to expand playground space.

Clayton said she is proud the wide array of successes that have been achieved by students, staff and community at Emma E. “Everyone in the Emma E. family is sharply focused on nurturing children to reach new heights,” she said.

In her new district position, Clayton will be responsible for a variety of duties associated with dropout prevention, alternative schools and behavior. She also will be a key contributor to the district’s efforts to reduce the achievement gap.

Although she will miss the Emma E. students and community, she said, “I am honored to have the opportunity to work with other district-level professionals to build on the strengths of all of the children in the Sarasota County Schools.”

Manatee County School District Announces Excellence in Education Awards Finalists


Michael Brackman(pictured) BRADENTON, FL – Eight exceptionally devoted and talented employees of the Manatee County School District were surprised by a visit from Superintendent Dr. Diana Greene, Board Chair Charlie Kennedy, Board Member Gina

Messenger, representatives of the Manatee Education Foundation, members of the District Leadership Team, and Marty the Marauder; as they learned they have been named finalists for this year’s “Excellence In Education Awards.”

The Excellence In Education Awards celebrate excellence in education in Manatee County by selecting an “Educator of the Year” and a “Support Employee of the Year.”

The four finalists in each category are:


·Joseph Baker, 6th Grade Social Studies Teacher at Buffalo Creek Middle

·Josephine Johnson, Kindergarten Teacher at Tara Elementary

·Nicholas Leduc, 4th Grade Teacher at Braden River Elementary

·Courtney Walker, 2nd Grade Teacher at Bashaw Elementary


·Alfonzo Cruz, Teacher Aide, ESOL at Lee Middle

·Michael Brackman, Teacher Aide, ESOL at Johnson Middle

·Valerie Olmstead-Dugan, Computer Information Specialist for Food and Nutrition Services

·Jennifer Polson, Senior School Secretary at Wakeland Elementary

The finalists will be honored, and the “Educator of the Year” and “Support Employee of the Year” will be announced at the Excellence In Education Awards ceremony to be held on Wednesday, March 8, 2017, beginning at 7 p.m. at Manatee Technical College’s main campus.

The Educator representative will advance to the Florida Department of Education Macy’s Teacher of the Year competition, while the Support representative will advance to the Florida School Related Employee of the Year competition.

“The finalists that are being announced today are great examples of the kind of caring and committed employees we have in this school district,” said Superintendent Greene. “I look forward to celebrating the work these employees have done for our students and schools at the Excellence in Education Awards on March 8th.”

Community Within Holiday Giving Event A Success!



The Community Within is a local non-profit organization which recently gained national attention by being interviewed by CNN and is working within the area to provide leadership, mentorship and providing role models to young men within our communities. In addition to the focus and goals of The Community Within, President and Founder, Bobby Williams stated the organization is dedicated to providing services year round and this year’s first Holiday Toy Giveaway was proof of that. Williams said, “Ten families from the Sarasota area were adopted by fire stations, local businesses and private families. There were between two and six children in the families.

We have a great giving community and people behind our efforts to give and be involved. I appreciate each and every one of them. We are starting to grow as an organization due to the results of the program in place.” Food and drinks were served at the free event and Santa made an appearance to pass out the gifts to the children. Williams plans on making the Holiday giveaway an annual event. He added, “Thank you all for your support and confidence in me to make this work.”

You can contact The Community Within by visiting their website at or email them at . Call them at (941)209-2469. Contact them and see how you can be a part of something great! Donations of toys, bikes are accepted all year long.




As a young man growing up in the Newtown community, Johnny Hunter Sr. always had a mind for business. He has the quality of insight and the ability to effectively communicate with people from all walks of life. These attributes have done him well over the past 25 years. Last week, he took time to recognize and thank his supporters and those who have helped him along his journey.

The First TEMPO News Annual Christmas Party was held on Thurs- day, December 16th at the Stevens-Hunter

Building in Sarasota. Current and former staff, advertisers and supporters were among the 40 people who attended the event. “The Christmas season is a time of great joy,” Hunter said,” and I wanted to take this time to thank those who have supported me over the years.” Attendees enjoyed a dinner with all the trimmings prepared by Inez Hunter.

Hunter recognized advertisers who have been with the paper for 25 or more years: the City of Bradenton and City of Sarasota; 20-24 years: Publix, Richard Ellis, Esq., Children First, State College of Florida, Sarasota Memorial Hospital, Jackson Dental Center, Manatee County Rural Health Services, Westside Funeral Home, Sarasota Ford and Manasota Goodwill Industries; 15-19 years: Smitty’s Bail Bonds, Edward Bailey, Manatee County Crime Stoppers, Jones Bail Bonds and Sarasota-Bradenton Airport; and 10-14 years: Firkins Nissan and D&D Restaurant. The highlight of the evening was presentation of the paper’s first Citizens of the Year Awards, which went to Gwendolyn Atkins and Valarie Buchand, for their many years of service to the Newtown community. The Unsung Hero Award was presented to Rosalind Hill for her spirit of giving back and helping others. Also recognized were TEMPO’s freelance writers, C.S. Howard who has been with the paper for 25 years and Rita Smith for 22 years, and production manager, Johnny Hunter Jr, who has worked with his father for the past 22 years.

TEMPO News began its journey in 1960 with the late William Fred Jackson when he found- ed the Weekly Bulletin, which was created with a focus on the African American community. Jackson began a legacy deep in the history of this community, which has continued for the past 56 years. After a change in ownership, the paper became known as The Bulletin, and in 1987, because of legal ramifications, Jackson started Tempo Magazine. Hunter, who worked as the Advertising Manager for the paper, took ownership of the paper in September 1990, changing it from a monthly publication to being published twice a month. He made a bold decision in 1993 to change TEMPO to a weekly publication.

“We, as a people, have always had a great sense of pride in our newspaper,” Hunter said, “and I want to continue that rich tradition. I also want to take TEMPO News to the next level, which is very important in this era of social media with Facebook, Twitter and other communication. We have to remain relevant and conform with the times. That’s our goal and that’s how we plan to serve our readership.”


10th Annual Turkey, Toy & Produce Give Away At Palmetto Boys & Girls Club Decemeber 10th


The Holidays are quickly approaching with all its busy plans make sure you mark this Saturday, December 10,2016 and make your way to the Palmetto Boys & Girls Club for the 10th Annual Holiday give Away organized and sponsored by D.E. – Bernard Woodie.

The event began a decade ago when Woodie gathered together toys and other items to give to local residents for the holiday as a way to bring cheer and caring and his expression of gratitude. Woodie said that his first year he was parked by the side of the road and set up his give away. The event has many community sponsors with generous hearts such as Woodie, (working on the event all year long), Buchanan Foundation, Sarasota Ford, Coca-Cola, Boys Bottling of Florida, Boys & Girls Clubs of Manatee, TEMPO News, Beall’s Warehouse,1-800-Ask- Gary, China Smith, X-Tavia Bailey, Heart 2 Heart Helping Hands, USA Steel, Chumlees Wings, Woodieville Inc., Wells Fargo Advisors, Local Farmers, All Manatee County Packing Houses, Bungalow Beach Resort, Taco Bell and private donations.

Woodie said that so many businesses have come forward with generosity to insure many families will receive a turkey, a toy for a child and fresh produce on Saturday.

The Giveaway begins at 11am on Saturday, December 12 at the Palmetto Boys & Girls Club located at 1600 10th Street West, Palmetto. Woodie expects a large crowd and says everyone is welcome to the Give-Away, and as Woodie stated, “This is a Community event geared to everyone in the community. Come and enjoy the fun, there will be free food for all. Children will receive a ticket at the event to select a toy to take home. Families will be given a turkey and fresh produce. Woodie stated, “ I want people to come and have fun. This is an event for the whole community to come together.”

So bring your Holiday Happy Spirit and come to receive and to share and get to know the people in your community. And be sure to tell Woodie “Thank you for caring.”




Marion Boyd, MBA, CPLC, is employed by Ernst & Young, LLP (EY) Accounting Firm where she is the Project Manager for the South- east Region Risk Strategy/Internal Controls over Financial Reporting (ICFR) Project Manager.

EY is a multinational professional services firm headquartered in London and is one of the “Big Four” audit firms and the third largest professional services firm in the world by aggregated revenue in 2014. It has 212,000 employees in over 700 offices around 150 countries in the world, providing assurance, including financial audit, tax, consulting and advisory services to companies. In 2015, Fortune Magazine ranked EY as one of the 100 Best Companies to Work For and in 2016, EY is the 11th largest privately owned organization in the United States.

As a project manager for the Southeast region, Marion is responsible for executing all Risk and ICFR initiatives in the Region. “The Region is made up of six states: Florida, Georgia, Puerto Rico, Tennessee, Alabama, and North Carolina,” she said, “and I work directly with leadership on strategizing on strategic initiatives in order to drive market leadership, growth, saturation and operational excellence” Marion is also a Certified Life Coach. “I became a certified life coach in May 2015, and I am currently working to start my own business specializing in coaching teens and young adults to break barriers that are holding them back from pursuing their passion(s).”

Marion began her professional career in IT Audit because that’s where her strengths were .

“Growing up, I was always the tech savvy one out the bunch. I transitioned into a Project Manager role to better align with my long-term career goals. I wanted to improve my business acumen while operating outside of my comfort zone. My profession exposes me to leaders within the firm and gives me the opportunity to learn how to make strategic decisions.”

Seeking her own passion, in January 2015, she said she started seeking God through fasting and praying. “I was diligently waiting for him to reveal what my passion is and what he wants me to do while here on earth.

In March 2015, God showed me exactly what it was—life coaching. I decided to take the necessary steps to become a certified life and now the next step is to build upon my certification.

Before serving as the Southeast Region Risk Strategy/ICFR Project Manager, Marion worked as an IT Auditor for almost two years. As such, she audited company’s IT environments to provide creditors, investors and stakeholders reasonable assurance the IT environment had proper controls in place that operated and were designed effectively. “IT Auditors provide Financial Auditors confidence in knowing the system, producing the financial data, is properly safeguarded. As a result, financial data can be relied upon,” she said. “I was able to work my way to where I am now by networking, taking risks and speaking boldly about my career aspirations. The people I worked with at client sites and the relationships I developed all contributed to the career change.”

Marion is a 2008 graduate of Southeast High School where she participated in Junior and Senior Class Cabinet, Track and Field, Nolette Dance Team, Noles Cheerleader, Student Government Association Representative, Key Club, National Honors Society, Spanish Club and Florida Business Leaders of America (FBLA). She graduated from Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University in 2012 with a Bachelors of Science in Accounting and a Masters in Business Administration in 2013. At FAMU, she stepped for the TWC Dorm step team, a member of the sophomore and junior class cabinet, Vice President of the National Association of Black Accountants, School of Business & Industry Leadership Group, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., and Miss Progressive Black Men, Inc.

After graduating from college, Marion relocated to the Atlanta area for work where she accepted a full-time offer with EY to launch her career in IT Audit. “Since joining EY, I have been exposed to a plethora of clients and impactful people,” she said. During her career, she has received numerous BRAVO awards awarded by EY.

Outside of work, Marion currently serves as a mentor to several high school senior students; volunteer every holiday giving back to the homeless and volunteers for church activities and events. She is a member of C.R.O.W.N., an entrepreneur group. She enjoys doing ministry work, hanging with family and friends, mentoring high school girls, doing arts and crafts, dancing and stepping, doing adventurous outdoor activities, cooking new things, and traveling. “Overall, I enjoy having a good time in any way possible,” she said.

Marion is the daughter of the late Larry Boyd and Cynthia Everett, and step-daughter of Sheril Boyd and Ricky Everett.

To what do you attribute your success? I attribute my success to my family. My family has always encouraged me to go above and beyond the status quo. They have always poured into me to be the leader of the pack and to take the road less traveled. Every time I come home for holidays, I am welcomed to my little cousins running into my arms. They greet me with hugs and kisses that signify that they miss me. As I look into their eyes, I see future leaders. In order to be a leader you have to know how to follow and you have to have people that inspire you—that’s what I aim to do for them.

What advice do you have for a young person today? Take risk and go! Don’t be confined to what people say you ought to do or what you should be. Life is about taking risk and pursuing your passion and doing things that bring God glory and makes you happy. Often times, we are afraid to just jump because we think we are too young to succeed or know any better. Age is nothing but a number so jump.




Honorees (left to right) Trenton Davis, Sheldon Cantrell, Theresa Scott, Donna Honor, Xtavia Bailey, Shavonne and Keenan Wooten and Rashad Dawkins.

Black Nurses Rock – Bradenton/Sarasota Chapter held its first annual Presidential Service Awards Gala at the Renaissance on 9th on Saturday, December 10th. The gala was a scholarship fundraiser for the community based nonprofit organization whose mission is to em- power and inspire leaders to impact our communities. A portion of the proceeds will go to four nursing students and one non-nursing student.

Several individuals from both Sarasota and Manatee Counties were recognized for their work and service to the community in various categories. They were Rachel Speight-Hudson, Shelli Freeland Eddie, Darrell Woodie, Xtavia Bailey, Dr. George Van Buren, Shavonne and Troy Simon, Rev. James T. Golden, Tanisha Cliatt, Katrina Ross, Barbara Harvey, Keenan Wooten, Rodney Jones, Lt. John Murrell, Wayne Washington, Sheldon Cantrell, Trenton Davis and Rashad Dawkins.

Theresa Scott was presented the BNR Pioneer Award and Donna Honor received the BNR Chair Award. Entertainment was provided by Marques Clark, Shakira Rolle-Howell, Patrick Eldon, Judah House of Praise and Etc dancers. Alicia Cotton served as mistress of ceremonies.

Black Nurses Rock has become the largest online community where professional Black nurses share, network and develop together, and represents over 160,000 African American nurses and students. Its focus is on providing support and mentorship to nurses in an effort to elevate the profession and improve communities. The Bradenton/Sarasota Chapter was organized in March of this year by 11 ambitious African American nurses and now has a membership of 38.

For additional information about the organization or tickets to the gala, call 941-448-7349 or email bradentonbnr@gmail. com. Shakeya Lovett, president of the Bradenton/Sarasota chapter.

SPOTLIGHT ON: Kiarra Womack


By C.S. Howard

Kiarra Womack is 18 years old and attends The Out-of-Door Academy (ODA) where she maintains a 4.10 GPA. She has been actively involved in activities throughout her high school career, in addition to pursuing academic excellence. She is a class representative for the Honor Council and the Student Council, President of SPECTRUM - Diversity Leadership Club; vice president of the National Honors

Society, secretary and event coordinator for the Key Club, member of the Gay-Straight Alliance Club and member of the Student Admission Team where she serves as a tour guide.

Kiarra is also a violinist with the Advanced String Ensemble and was first chair during the 2013-2014 school year and is currently a section leader. She also participates in golf and dance and is a member of the National Society of High School Scholars. In addition, she plays softball and is team co-captain and has received the Coach’s Award and named Most Valuable Player. She was selected as the Class Representative for the Community Youth Development (CYD) Students Taking Active Roles in their community (STAR) 2016 program, where she helped to organize and put on a local mental health forum for high school students. She was also a member of the 2016 Sarasota Chamber of Commerce Youth Leadership program.

In recognition of her academic excellence, Kiarra has received several awards including being named a Quest- Bridge College Prep Scholar, received the Cum Laude Society Award and National

Spanish Exam Award. She is also a recipient of the Ronald G. Gelbman Leadership Award, Notre Dame Book Award, and received the President’s Volunteer Service Awards for 2014-15 and 2015-16. She was also a Brandeis University Global Youth Summit 2016 delegate, recipient of a scholarship to Washington University in St. Louis’ Summer Experiences Program, is a 2016 Gateway Ron Brown Scholar, and recipient of the AP Scholar Award for 2016.

Previous awards and recognitions Kiarra received include Lake
Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine Most Exemplary Problem Based Learning Student (summer 2015); ODA’s Thunder Award for 2011-2012, the Faculty Club award in 2012- 2013; Varsity Softball Most Valuable Player 2011-12, and Miss Sarasota Softball Florida All-Stars Major where she placed first in 2014. She is active in Girl Scouts of America and received the Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida 10 year award. Kiarra also participated in Delta Sigma Theta Sorority’s mentoring program, Delta GEMS, from 7th through 11th grade where she received several awards including Leadership Awards and Academic Excellence Awards, Sisterhood Award 2012-13 and Spirit Award 2016.

Kiarra is a member of New Bethel A.M.E. Church of Lacoochee, Florida and participates in the Florida Church School Convention. She aspires to attend Stan- ford University where she will study Neuroscience, Psychology, or Bioengineering. She would ultimately like to become a Psychiatrist.




Jercoiya Waiters of Manatee County was crowned Miss Manatee while competing in the Miss Manatee Scholarship Pageant at the Manatee Performing Arts Center on Saturday, November 19, 2016 winning the crown and a one thousand dollar scholarship. The honor and crown was awarded to Waiters, a twenty- two year old attending State College of Florida to become a Nurse

Practitioner. Waiters is a Palmetto native and grew up Bradenton during her childhood and its clear her love for Manatee County is clear and runs deeply.

Waiters has been involved in other pageants and has been crowned Miss Desoto Heritage in 2014, Miss South Tampa in 2015 and served on the Desoto Heritage Festival Queen’s Court. Waiters has set her mark and aim high for her aspirations in life and career as well as carefully choosing who she looks to as role models. Waiters spoke of her admiration and respect for First Lady, Michelle Obama during the pageant. Waiters commented she would emulate the qualities as Michelle Obama has shown and displayed during her career and during her time at the White House. Waiters stated she feels a deep care for the cause of autism and would be making autism a part of her platform in the upcoming pageants hoping to win at the Miss Florida pageant and go on to represent Florida in the Miss America pageant. Waiters possess the inner beauty and out- er beauty which shines brightly and is a genuinely talented and gifted person. She is a stellar role model to follow and a talent to follow to the upcoming pageants. Waiters represents all of Manatee County well and the State of Florida.

Rubonia CC First Annual Halloween Bash


Rubonia Community Center ‘s first “Halloween Bash” for the children of the community It was a “Spooktacular Nite” of fun for 55 area students and their parents. The bash was held Saturday, October 29, 2016, during the wicked hours of 6 to 8PM. Sponsored by Mrs. Marian Mouzon, The Girls SpeakUp Club and the Amerigroup Real Solution Healthcare.