Keyword for this page: PEF

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PEF "Spotlight"

Sun Trust grant winners

Sun Trust Foundation funding allows
Polk Education Foundation to award
$15,000 in grants!

Thank you SunTrust Foundation! Because of your generosity, ten teachers received grants totaling $15,000 to teach financial literacy in their classrooms. Classroom projects include:

Robert Ball, from Auburndale High School, is focusing on budgeting and diversified savings in his Economics class. Graduating seniors will receive jump drives with budgeting information and spreadsheets to use as they go to college.

In a world of purchases made with a swipe of plastic, Deanna Brewer from Berkley Elementary Charter will be working with 1st and 2nd graders to provide an environment for students to be exposed to coins, bills, literature, games, and tools for mastering the important life-skill of using money wisely!

Pam Grant and Pamela Hart from Carlton Palmore are working on a joint project to help first and fifth grade students understand the relationship between earning, spending and saving. Both teachers will use literature, manipulatives and software to get students on the path of becoming financially responsible adults!

Haines City High School's teacher, Broderic Ogzewalla, will use the National FFA Organization guidelines to teacher students the value of raising their own food, keeping accurate records and finding out if a project has a profit or loss. Records kept will include expenses, inventory, labor and income. This real life skill is essential to each student's financial literacy growth.

To battle the increasing lack of experience in money management, Cynthia Kuhlman from Highland City Elementary will be using the Money Doesn't Grow on Debit Cards curriculum to instruct 1st-4th grade students in financial literacy. Fifth grade students will participate in the EverFi Financial Literacy course to research and track corporations investing fictitious funds in a mock stock market investment program, .

Polk Avenue teachers Melissa Kelly and Michelle Counter will be working together across grade levels to introduce a multidisciplinary approach to teaching financial literacy. They have paralleled the 7 habits of highly effective people with 7 habits of financial literacy. In this project, "Are You Ready for a Hurricane?", lessons reflect not only the monetary budgeting and types of economic costs, but also critical thinking skills for planning and realistic experiences for students. Students will create hurricane kits using a budget, deciding what is most essential in case of an emergency.

Rochelle School of the Arts has two financial literacy projects.
Lori Crowley will work with 4th and 5th grade gifted students learning the foundational skills of trading stocks through the Stock Market Game. Theresa McCawley will instruct lessons on "goods and services", "wants and needs", and "saving and spending". Students will set up a 2nd grade market to sell school items such as pencils, pencil toppers, erasers, and $1 Scholastic books. Profits will be used to buy math manipulatives that will encourage spatial reasoning, critical and logical thinking, and problem solving skills. The students will work in the market using their counting skills to collect money and count back change. With this awesome hands on learning, students will understand how to save money for something they may want, collect money, count back change, and understand supply and demand.

There are exciting times ahead for all of the students participating in these diverse classroom projects!

Polk Education Foundation ranked badge
#17 out of top 100 Education Foundations in the Nation!

In the 2014 report "Stepping Up: The Top K-12 Education Foundations in the Nation" conducted by Dewey & Associates, the Polk Education Foundation (PEF) ranked #6 in Florida, and #17 in the nation, when compared against education foundations from like sized school districts.. Performance categories used to do the comparative study were:revenues, revenues per student, assets, assets per student, grant and program expenses, grant and program expenses per student, investment income and volunteers.When compared against Foundations with similar revenues, the PEF ranked #2 in the nation. Read the complete report here. View Polk Education Foundation's national rankings here.

Just One for the Kids PCSB
Employee Payroll Deduction

Give “Just One for the Kids” and help the PEF raise money for student and teacher programs in Polk County. If every employee gave just one dollar per week, we could raise over $600,000 towards helping promote education in our district! Click on the Just One for the Kids button at the top of the to make an online donation or click here to use our payroll deduction card.

About Us

Polk Education Foundation LogoThe Polk Education Foundation was created in 1988, as a 501 C 3 direct-support organization for the Polk County School Board. The Foundation serves as the fiscal agent and manager of many educational programs for Polk County Schools. We serve to enhance educational programs for students with private and corporate funds. Led by a volunteer Board of Directors made up of community, educational and business leaders, the Foundation has raised and spent over $34 million dollars.

Vision Statement

The vision of the Polk Education Foundation is to help enhance public school programs and to help students reach their educational goals.

Mission Statement

The mission of the Polk Education Foundation is to establish a proactive partnership
between the community and the public school system to link community resources with the
educational needs of its students through reading and mentoring programs, scholarships,
school grants and other educational endeavors.


  • Sensitize the community to the needs of local schools and students.
  • Develop and enhance educational programs and initiatives for students.
  • Raise significant financial support for local schools and help to underwrite countywide programs for students.
  • Challenge parents, business leaders and the extended community to become involved in and be supportive of their local schools, their students and the district's education foundation.

2014-15 Annual Report

2014-2015 Financial Documents

Click Here to View the 2014-2015 PEF Financial Audit

Click Here to View the 2013-2014 PEF Form 990

Contact Information

Address - 1530 Shumate Drive, Bartow, FL 33830
Phone - (863) 534-0519
Fax - (863) 519-3791

Staff Listing

All phone number area codes are (863)

Name: Title: Phone:
Susan Copeland Executive Director 534-0434
Shirley Brosie Accountant Specialist 534-5073
Shannan Combee Grants Manager, Teacher to Teacher Connection Program Director 534-0803
Brenda Baxley Administrative Secretary 534-0519

Cheryl Arrington

Take Stock in Children, College Success Coach 519-8076
Lindsay Heruska Take Stock in Children, Program Advisor 519-8077
Steve Chapman AmeriCorps Polk Reads, Program Director 519-8638

Visit our Staff Directory to contact any staff member via e-mail

Polk Education Foundation
Board of Directors


Name: Title: Organization:
Jerry Miller President Duke Energy
Kathryn Koch Vice President Lanier Upshaw
Tracy Kimbrough Secretary/Treasurer Baylis and Company, PA
Mary Ruth Wilson Immediate Past President Central Ridge, Inc.

Board Members

Name: Organization:
Arielle Brodsky State Farm
Jacqueline Byrd Polk County Schools Superintendent
Paula Dockery Cardinal Insurance
Ebbie Sue Doherty W.S. Badcock Corporation
Al Dorsett Community Activist, Magnify Credit Union
Mimi Hardman Community Activist
Hollis Hooks Morgan Stanley Wealth Management
Jan Mercer-Hyman Bright House Networks
Jarvis Kendrick MIDFLORIDA Credit Union
Tracy Mouncey Tracy Mouncey and Associates
Lynn Wilson Polk County School Board Member
Steve Petrie Florida Southern College
Cindy Price TECO
Blinda Pullen Bank of America
Ken Reeves Buttercrust Bakery
Emily Rogers Emily Rogers Consulting and Coaching
Sherrin Smyers Eventrics
John Stargel Polk County Circut Judge
Richard Stephens Holland & Knight
Steve Warner Florida Polytechnic University
Terry Worthington United Way of Central Florida