Keyword for this page: PEF

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PEF "Spotlight"

PV award

Polk Education Foundation wins Polk Vision’s

Spirit of Leadership Organization Award

The Polk Education Foundation (PEF) was presented with the fifth annual Spirit of Leadership Polk Award by Polk Vision, on May 20, 2015, during the Leadership Polk Class VIII Graduation Luncheon at The Lake Eva Center in Haines City. Susan Copeland, the PEF’s Executive Director, accepted the award from Sherriff Grady Judd, representing last year’s winner, the Polk County Sherriff’s Department. 

Leadership Polk is a Polk Vision program that brings together current and emerging leaders from across the county to develop diverse networks of resourceful, informed and proactive leaders who will create a more vibrant county and region.  Around 100 alumni attended the event. Two awards are given out by Leadership Polk's Alumni Association each year, one to an organization and one to an individual.

The Spirit of Leadership Polk Award is presented to an organization (public or private) that actively bridges the leadership gap that led to the creation of Leadership Polk in the first place. The award spotlights an organization that is operating across the county and in a way that specifically enhances the leadership pools in our communities.  The Polk Education Foundation was recognized for the work they do not only helping to support teachers through professional development, grants for their classrooms and supplies to enhance student learning through their Free Teacher Market, but for supporting student growth through educational opportunities and scholarships.  The PEF was started 27 years ago as a vehicle to award scholarships to Polk County graduates, helping them attend college and prepare for life as professionals.  The Polk Education Foundation was also honored this school year being ranked #17 in the nation in a comparison of the education foundations of like sized school districts.

Honored separately that day, with the Spirit of Leadership Individual Award, was Jerry Miller, who is the PEF’s current board President. Miller is pictured above with other PEF Board members who attended the event (R to L) Cindy Price and Tracy Mouncey; the PEF's Executive Director Susan Copeland, and Sherriff Grady Judd.

Polk Education Foundation ranked badge
#17out 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.

2013-14 Annual Report

2012-2013 Financial Documents

Click Here to View the 2013-2014 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 and Grants Program Director 534-0803
Lou Ann Antonelli Administrative Assistant 534-0519

Cheryl Arrington

Take Stock in Children, College Success Coach 519-8076
TBD Take Stock in Children, Program Coordinator 519-8077
Kristen LeFan 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:
Carol Barnett Publix Super Markets Charities
Arielle Brodsky State Farm
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
Rex Jackson LEGOLAND
Jarvis Kendrick MIDFLORIDA Credit Union
Kathryn LeRoy Polk County Schools Superintendent
Deb Misch Community Activist
Tracy Mouncey Tracy Mouncey and Associates
Dick Mullenax 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
John Santarpia Magnify Credit Union
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