FUTURES Board member, Kathy Fletcher, is the former owner of Sylvan Learning Centers in Port Orange, Orange City and Ormond Beach. She was born in Arkansas, but grew up in Colorado. She received a BA in Japanese, English and Education from Washington University in St. Louis and an MA in Education from University of Denver. She has two grown children, a son, Zach, and a daughter, Meredi. Before becoming Executive Director of Sylvan she taught middle and high school.
Why is public education important to you?
It's my life, my passion. It's what I do.
What do you see is the most pressing need facing Volusia County Schools?
The need for highly qualified teachers. If we don't put highly qualified teachers in the classroom, we're in trouble. Excellent teachers create excellent learning environments. It is becoming difficult to find qualified teachers because fewer people are going into education. In addition, surrounding counties are paying more than Volusia. That's why I sit on the Teacher Recruitment Committee for FUTURES. One area of recruitment that we have not tapped is the veteran teacher area. That's where resources could really make a difference.
What do you think of FUTURES?
FUTURES has a fantastic mission to support public schools. It's a prime example of how a public education and private business partnership can come together for the benefit of our children.
What method have you chosen to benefit FUTURES?
FUTURES is named as a beneficiary on my life insurance. I also give annually because there needs to be some immediacy as well.
Where do you want to see FUTURES 5, 10 years in the future?
I think the best thing they are doing is the Endowment Fund. This ensures the future for our mission and our programs. As our resources and endowment grow, we'll find other appropriate ways to benefit the schools.
Are there other areas where you give your time?
Presently, I'm president of the Volusia Literacy Council, which is another passion of mine. I'm on the board of the Advanced Technology Center (ATC). I have chaired the Leadership Daytona Council Board and Ormond Beach Chamber Education Committee. I stay active in education issues.
Was there a teacher who influenced you greatly when you were a child?
Yes, my 5th grade teacher, Miss James. She really cared about her students. She taught the girls how to knit and allowed us to keep three guinea pigs in the classroom. Their names were Jethro, Ellie May, and Jeb, after the Beverly Hillbillies.
What started your interest in education?
I always wanted to be a teacher and I think I was born to be one. I used to read to my dolls. At Sylvan, I got to see the light bulbs come on and it's so rewarding.