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Education Conversations

Hosted by Jennifer Vigne, president and CEO of the Education Foundation of Sarasota County, Education Conversations is a podcast that brings together teachers, students, community stakeholders, and thought leaders to explore and share innovative and relevant thoughts, research, and ideas on education today.

Our world is changing rapidly—and so is education. We’re excited to fuel conversations that explore these changes and how we can best meet the needs of students to help them thrive. Twice a month, we will bring together voices from across the community to engage in this important dialogue and provide multiple perspectives.

We hope you will check it out!

New Episode

Season 1 Highlights – Relationships and Resiliency

We’re ending Season 1 of our podcast with a two-part series of episode highlights from the past year. You’ll hear some of your favorite guests and catch a few choice excerpts you may have missed.

Episode 22 centers on the theme of Relationships and Resiliency. You’ll hear highlights from these guests:

  • Ronnique Major, the 2024 Sarasota County Teacher of the Year.
  • Josh Grant, Teacher at Venice Hight School.
  • Carolina Pauliss, Riverview High School recent graduate.
  • Deb Giacalone, Executive Director of Student Services for Sarasota County Schools.
  • Jessiah Straw, former beneficiary of Education Foundation programs, now Associate Vice President at Merit Holdings in Seattle, WA.
  • Mandy O’Malley, Director of Outreach and Training at Resilient Retreat.

Recent Episodes

Episode 22: Season 1 Highlights – Relationships and Resiliency

Education Conversations graphic.
Education Foundation Podcast
Episode 22: Season 1 Highlights - Relationships and Resiliency
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We’re ending Season 1 of our podcast with a two-part series of episode highlights from the past year. You’ll hear some of your favorite guests and catch a few choice excerpts you may have missed.

Episode 22 centers on the theme of Relationships and Resiliency. You’ll hear highlights from these guests:

  • Ronnique Major, the 2024 Sarasota County Teacher of the Year.
  • Josh Grant, Teacher at Venice Hight School.
  • Carolina Pauliss, Riverview High School recent graduate.
  • Deb Giacalone, Executive Director of Student Services for Sarasota County Schools.
  • Jessiah Straw, former beneficiary of Education Foundation programs, now Associate Vice President at Merit Holdings in Seattle, WA.
  • Mandy O’Malley, Director of Outreach and Training at Resilient Retreat.

Episode 21: Building Resiliency and Well-Being

Education Conversations graphic.
Education Foundation Podcast
Episode 21: Building Resiliency and Well-Being
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Students across the country are experiencing a mental health crisis, and many students are struggling. But what happens when teachers are struggling too? Listen as host Jennifer Vigne talks with Mandy O’Malley, Director of Community Outreach at Resilient Retreat and a mental healthcare professional for over 20 years, about how we can support students and teachers so they can become more resilient and find well-being.

Episode 20: Innovating Education

Education Conversations graphic.
Education Foundation Podcast
Episode 20: Innovating Education
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The world is rapidly changing and so too, must education. Many teachers are leading that charge, continuing to adapt, bringing innovative, creative approaches to the classroom so that they can best meet the unique needs of every student in their classroom and inspire a lifelong love of learning. In this episode, Jennifer Vigne talks with two Innovation Teachers of the Year, Josette Ortega and Amber Rylak.

Episode 19: A Collective Approach to Completion

Education Conversations graphic.
Education Foundation Podcast
Episode 19: A Collective Approach to Completion
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Listen as Jennifer Vigne sits down with Matt Smith and Dr. Brittany Nielson, two key contributors in a regional initiative to support students who have stopped attending college or who were admitted but never enrolled. Learn about this great project, why the work of supporting students to help them complete their postsecondary education matters, and how relationships can make such a difference in helping students get back on track to reach their goal of a degree or certificate.

Episode 18: Great Teaching and the Power of Relationships

Education Conversations graphic.
Education Foundation Podcast
Episode 18: Great Teaching and the Power of Relationships
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In this episode, Jennifer Vigne talks with Ronnique Major, the 2024 Sarasota County Teacher of the Year. Ronnique discusses how she was inspired to teach and how her many amazing mentors and teachers helped her develop into the educator she is today. Jennifer and Ronnique explore key qualities of exceptional educators and how relationships can make such a difference in the lives of young and veteran learners alike.

Jennifer Vigne, president and CEO of the Education Foundation, hosting a podcast with Kari Johnson, 2021 Sarasota County Teacher of the Year, and Joe Conner, 2023 Sarasota County Middle School Teacher of the Year.

Jennifer Vigne hosting a podcast with Kari Johnson, 2021 Sarasota County Teacher of the Year, and Joe Conner, 2023 Sarasota County Middle School Teacher of the Year.

Jennifer Vigne, president and CEO of the Education Foundation, hosting a podcast with Karolina Paulus, Riverview High School graduate 2023, and Josh Grant, 2020 Sarasota County High School Teacher of the Year.

Jennifer Vigne hosting a podcast with Karolina Paulus, Riverview High School graduate 2023, and Josh Grant, 2020 Sarasota County High School Teacher of the Year.

Meet Your Host

Jennifer Vigne

Jennifer Vigne

Jennifer Vigne passionately believes that education changes lives and has dedicated more than 20 years pursuing opportunity and access for all children. Jennifer serves as the president and CEO of the Education Foundation of Sarasota County, a position she has held since 2015. A Certified Fundraising Executive, she brings more than 30 years of leadership experience in the nonprofit and corporate sectors. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Florida State University and a master’s in Educational Leadership from University of South Florida. She is the Immediate Past Chair for the Consortium of Florida Education Foundations and the current Program Co-Chair for Leadership Florida Education Class, and she is currently pursuing a certificate in public leadership at the Harvard Kennedy School of Executive Education.

New Episodes Launch Bi-Weekly

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