Section 231.6255, Florida Statutes 2001
231.6255 Christa McAuliffe Ambassador for Education Program.--
(1) The Legislature recognizes that Florida continues to face teacher shortages and that fewer young people consider teaching as a career. It is the intent of the Legislature to promote the positive and rewarding aspects of being a teacher, to encourage more individuals to become teachers, and to provide annual sabbatical support for outstanding Florida teachers to serve as goodwill ambassadors for education. The Legislature further wishes to honor the memory of Christa McAuliffe, who epitomized the challenge and inspiration that teaching can be.
(2) The Christa McAuliffe Ambassador for Education Program is established to provide salary, travel, and other related expenses annually for an outstanding Florida teacher to promote the positive aspects of teaching as a career. The goals of the program are to:
(a) Enhance the stature of teachers and the teaching profession.
(b) Promote the importance of quality education and teaching for our future.
(c) Inspire and attract talented people to become teachers.
(d) Provide information regarding Florida's scholarship and loan programs related to teaching.
(e) Promote the teaching profession within community and business groups.
(f) Provide information to retired military personnel and other individuals who might consider teaching as a second career.
(g) Work with and represent the Department of Education, as needed.
(h) Work with and encourage the efforts of school and district teachers of the year.
(i) Support the activities of the Florida Future Educator of America Program.
(j) Represent Florida teachers at business, trade, education, and other conferences and meetings.
(k) Promote the teaching profession in other ways related to the teaching responsibilities, background experiences, and aspirations of the Ambassador for Education.
(3) The Teacher of the Year shall serve as the Ambassador for Education. If the Teacher of the Year is unable to serve as the Ambassador for Education, the first runner-up shall serve in his or her place. The Department of Education shall establish application and selection procedures for determining an annual teacher of the year. Applications and selection criteria shall be developed and distributed annually by the Department of Education to all school districts. The Commissioner of Education shall establish a selection committee which assures representation from teacher organizations, administrators, and parents to select the Teacher of the Year and Ambassador for Education from among the district teachers of the year.
(4)(a) The Commissioner of Education shall pay an annual salary, fringe benefits, travel costs, and other costs associated with administering the program.
(b) The Ambassador for Education shall serve for 1 year, from July 1 to June 30, and shall be assured of returning to his or her teaching position upon completion of the program. The ambassador will not have a break in creditable or continuous service or employment for the period of time in which he or she participates in the program.
History.--ss. 19, 20, 21, 22, ch. 86-156; s. 12, ch. 86-195; s. 1257, ch. 95-147; s. 12, ch. 98-281; s. 55, ch. 2000-301.