2020 Community Involvement Awards


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    Honoring Broward County Public Schools outstanding volunteers, mentors, family engagement initiatives and partnerships.

    2020 Community Involvement Aw

  • Broward County Public Schools is proud of the thousands of individuals who support our District through volunteerism, mentoring, family engagement initiatives and partnerships. 

  • The Community Involvement Awards (CIA) Ceremony was canceled due to COVID-19 pandemic.

    Congratulations to our 2020 Community Involvement Awards Winners!

  • District Partnership

    BrightStar Credit Union

    Bright Star Credit Union Founded by Broward County Public Schools (BCPS) employees in 1946, BrightStar Credit Union (BSCU) is dedicated to helping the school District with financial sponsorships, as well as providing financial education in the classrooms.

    In 2019, BSCU representatives taught more than 10,000 students, adult learners and staff, ways to better manage their finances. Their educational programs include the “CU@School” initiative (in-school student-operated credit union branches); teaching high schoolers the difference between ATM, debit and credit cards; training adults on the ways to achieve higher credit scores; helping students to save and distinguish between wants and needs, as well as how to buy a home that they can afford.

    Since its inception, BSCU annually sponsors the Caliber Awards, which honors and recognizes BCPS outstanding teachers, principals, assistant principals, and school-related employees. Without the support of sponsors such as BSCU, BCPS would not be able to produce this event and other programs such as the Florida Tax Watch, which oversees fund management on behalf of BCPS. Partnering in time and funding, BSCU is an integral contributor to Broward Education Foundation, the Community Involvement Awards program, the Broward County Council of PTAs/PTSAs, and a number of District schools. As a major sponsor of BECON TV’s School Duel, BrightStar supports this television program that encourages students to broaden their general knowledge as they learn to compete in the global economy.

    Growing from a tiny branch in the old Fort Lauderdale High School, BrightStar Credit Union has evolved into a half billion-dollar credit union with over 62,000 members, and beneficially impacts the financial lives of residents in 23 counties in the State of Florida.

  • School-based Partnerships

    School-based Partner of the Year – Elementary Level 

    School-based Partner of the Year – Elementary Level Mobile School Pantry with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Montessori Academy
    Since 2017, the Mobile School Pantry, a volunteer-driven, non-profit organization, 
    visits Dr. Martin Luther King Montessori Academy and distributes nutritious fresh fruits and vegetables, and other pantry staples to the school community. The volunteers set up a beautiful display of food in the school cafeteria and help with loading vehicles with groceries. In addition, to the food distribution program, the Mobile School Pantry hosts an annual event called “Gobble Give-Away,” which provides families with a turkey and all the “fixings” for a beautiful Thanksgiving feast.

    School-based Partner of the Year – Secondary Level

    School-based Partner of the Year – Secondary Level City of Fort Lauderdale with Atlantic Technical College and High School
    In July 2019, the City of Fort Lauderdale, in collaboration with the Fort

    Lauderdale Executive Airport and Broward College created the Avionics Systems Technician program at Atlantic Technical College and High School. The one-year program focuses on repair and installation of airborne radio communications, radio navigation, and radar equipment systems operated in accordance with regulatory and industry standards. Program partners provide work-based learning experiences and strengthen career awareness by serving as classroom guest speakers, bringing personal experiences and expertise to the students. Through these interactions, partners and students have built meaningful relationships with strong role models and mentors in the aviation industry.

  • District Advisory/Committee Volunteer

    Debbie Casey Espinoza Debbie Casey Espinoza
    District Advisory Council

    A leader who shows compassion, demonstrates integrity, and possesses strong interpersonal skills, is no typical parent volunteer. Debbie Espinoza serves on three District advisory boards and advocates on four District committees. Ms. Espinoza is a passionate and enthusiastic ambassador who welcomes and encourages parents to get engaged in their child’s education. Ms. Espinoza has spearheaded many initiatives, such as the education Facebook group for the Cooper City High school zone, and the “make-up work” guideline, which have significant impact at the school and District levels. BCPS has many outstanding volunteers, but Ms. Espinoza’s involvement and collaboration with staff has improved the lives of BCPS students, and her efforts continue to shape BCPS as a District and challenge the status quo.


  • Family and Community Engagement

    Family and Community Engagement – Individual Award

    Jacqueline Sanchez Jacqueline Sanchez
    Griffin Elementary School 

    Jacqueline Sanchez, Technology Specialist at Griffin Elementary School, engages the entire school community to make the campus sustainable by utilizing reduce, reuse, recycle and rethink strategies. Her mission is to educate students, staff, parents and community members on the importance of promoting and living as good environmental stewards. Ms. Sanchez has spearheaded different initiatives to engage the entire family in environmental-friendly projects.  She started a parent-staffed food rescue program where all the food was donated to local animal shelters and food pantries. She facilitated trainings for families, students and staff on the importance of recycling; received help from the community to label all recycling bins with clear and concise wording; and collaborated with Florida International University (FIU) to bring the FIU Science Family Night to Griffin Elementary. In addition, Ms. Sanchez won a grant to educate the community on pollution/conservation and raised approximately $23,000 for enhancements. Ms. Sanchez’s efforts affect student achievement and the advancement of the District as a whole. 

    Family and Community Engagement – Group Award

    Gator Run Elementary School Parent/Teacher Association Gator Run Elementary School Parent/Teacher Association
    Gator Run Elementary School

    The Gator Run Elementary School Parent/Teacher Association (PTA) implemented a Multicultural Festival that celebrated student diversity and brought the internal and external communities together. With over 3,500 people in attendance and 25 countries represented, the Multicultural Festival showcased the cultural heritage of the students and families of Gator Run Elementary. Families from the same cultural background worked together to ensure their country was well represented with different perspectives. Each country was assigned a booth, which was unique with authentic food, games and artifacts. This event showed true family and community engagement as it unified cultural differences and created a safe and supportive environment for all stakeholders at Griffin Elementary School.

  • Mentors

    Mentor Supporter of the Year

    Genessis Rodriquez, Paragon Theaters Genessis Rodriquez, Paragon Theaters
    Equity & Diversity – Mentoring Across Broward
    Director – David Watkins

    Over the past two years Genessis Rodriguez has made it possible for hundreds of Broward County Public School students to have access to Paragon Theaters for the screening of first run movies. Students who participated watched movies such as Hidden Figures, The Hate You Give, Marshall, Black Panther, Harriet, and Just Mercy. With private access to the theaters, students engaged in a truly fun and educational experience with school board members, guest speakers and community leaders who discussed the significance of the story being told. The movies and conversations served as a bridge for students and their teachers to bring life to history, science, math and social studies classes. To date, feedback from students, staff and parents reinforce our belief that teaching, and learning can happen anywhere and everywhere – even at the movies!

    Mentors of the Year

    Commissioner Caryl Shuham & Barbara Romano Commissioner Caryl Shuham & Barbara Romano
    Hollywood Hills High School
    Assistant Principal – Luis Espinosa; Coordinator – Rachel Silber

    Hollywood Hills High School has two amazing ladies addressing the needs of teenage girls who are most at risk of failure and dropping out of school through the Women of Tomorrow program. Commissioner Caryl Shuham and Barbara Romano successfully maintain the largest group of high school girls in the District and have been involved in several school events such as the Peace Pole Ceremony, and Holocaust Memorial. The true testament of the commitment and dedication of these exemplary mentors is that all 17 seniors in the Women of Tomorrow program are graduating and have applied and been accepted into college with a variety of scholarship opportunities.

    Mentor Program of the Year

    Orange Brook Elementary Kings & Queens/Knights & Princesses
    Orange Brook Elementary School
    Principal – Devon O’Neal; Coordinator – Natasha Braynen

    The Kings & Queens/Knights & Princesses Mentoring Program at Orange Brook Elementary School was created as an after-school mentoring and drop-out prevention program for at risk males in grades three to five. Since its inception, the program expanded to include males and females at all grade levels. The program provides positive role models and teaches life skills, explores career options, and educates students on the rewards of hard work and giving back to the community. As a result, the academic performance and behaviors of student participants have improved. Additionally, through this program, Orange Brook Elementary has increased community and parent engagement.

  • Volunteers

    Outstanding Adult Volunteer of the Year – Elementary Level

    Bonnie Vangalis Bonnie Vangalis
    Sawgrass Elementary School

    Bonnie Vangalis is a tremendous asset in the growth of school and community engagement at Sawgrass Elementary School. Her magic touch in the Parent/Teacher Association’s (PTA) activities took the annual running event, the Panther Prowl, to the next level. She increased participants and fundraising dollars to an unprecedented number of 1,000 runners and $20,000 respectively. The traditional celebration of veterans in November, along with other events at the school, are amazingly successful thanks to Ms. Vangalis’ utmost planning and delivery. As the PTA president, Ms. Vangalis is active in all parent meetings and, her more than 800 volunteer hours shows her unwavering commitment to the school, staff and families of Sawgrass Elementary.

    Outstanding Adult Volunteer of the Year – Secondary Level

    Outstanding Adult Volunteer of the Year – Secondary Level Kathryn Sample
    West Broward High School

    A lot of hard work and a smile – that is the great work combination Kathryn Sample brings to West Broward High School’s competitive robotics team. Under her leadership, the team that had no firm foundation two years ago, now has 50 active members, and has earned the NASA Inspiration Award. In addition, the Robotics Team qualified for the World Competition in Texas. Although the event was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, her tireless efforts gave students the assurance and confidence they needed to make a difference and push through their varying activities. Along with the West Broward High students, Ms. Sample developed STEM outreach events, taking hands-on activities to local elementary and middle schools, resulting in more Broward County students participating in STEM programs. Kathryn Sample isn’t just West Broward High’s Robotics Coach. She is genuinely committed to student success, and makes a positive impact on every student with which she interacts, who in turn, positively impact the school and community.

    Outstanding Senior Volunteer of the Year

    Marilyn Slovitt Marilyn Slovitt
    Virginia Shuman Young Montessori Elementary School

    Marilyn Slovitt is a familiar face at Virginia Shuman Young Montessori Elementary School. She brightens the day of every student and staff member who enter the media center. Grandma Slovitt, as she is affectionately called, captures the students’ attention with decorative and interactive bulletin boards, as well as themed book displays. Her positive attitude sparks the students’ interests for reading and although she is recognized as an exceptional volunteer for her efforts, Grandma Slovitt remains humble and patient. Grandma Slovitt also helps with the Book Fair, school art projects, and Family Nights. Her contribution has built a nurturing and caring environment that is felt daily by the students and staff at to Virginia Shuman Young Montessori Elementary.

    Outstanding Student Volunteer of the Year

    Lauren Nassi Lauren Nassi
    Cooper City High School

    As president of the Interact Club at Cooper City High School for the past three years, Lauren Nassi has led numerous service projects and inspired her peers to participate in community service activities. Ms. Nassi has created preventative programs to help students dealing with anxiety and to make Cooper City High a safer environment. One of these programs, the Buddy System, was implemented to ease incoming students’ transition into high school, by pairing a freshman with an upperclassman as a mentor. The Hobin Garden, however, is Ms. Nassi’s most prominent and impactful project. Based on student feedback, the garden improved their mental health and increased their overall happiness, as well as connected them with their community.

    Boris Herve Cilien Boris Herve Cilien
    Hollywood Hills High School

    With more than 1,000 community service hours, Boris Herve Cilien has become an important part of the Youth Leadership Program at the Davie Police Athletics League (PAL). He became involved with the Davie PAL in the seventh grade as a summer camp volunteer assistant. Now a summer program leader, Mr. Cilien oversees 15 counselors and 100 campers. His hard work led to his representing the League as its youth leader, at the National Convention in Washington, D.C. Whether he is planning activities, fundraising, or instructing children, Mr. Cilien demonstrates leadership among his peers and is a great example of a student volunteer.


  • Details regarding the recognition of winners will be available at the beginning of the 2020/21 school year.

    For questions regarding the CIA ceremony, please email volunteer@browardschools.com.

    The Community Involvement Awards is a collaborative initiative between the Office of Communications, 754-321-2300 and the Office of Student Support Initiatives and Recovery, 754-321-1600.

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