2016 News

USF College of Education Announces 2016 Distinguished Alumni Award Winners

(Tampa, Fla. Sept. 26, 2016) — The USF College of Education is proud to announce the 2016 recipients of its Distinguished Alumni Awards. Join us on Friday, Oct. 7 for our Alumni and Friends reception as we honor Dr. Michael A. Grego, M.Ed '89 & Ed.D '97 with the Dean's Lifetime Achievement Alumni Award, and Dr. Stephanie Holmquist Johnson, '81, MA '05, Ph.D. '14, with the Spirit of Partnership Alumni Award.

Each year, the USF College of Education is proud to present our Spirit of Partnership Alumni Award and the Dean's Lifetime Achievement Alumni Awards in conjunction with the USF Homecoming events, which will take place Oct. 3-8. The recipient of the Spirit of Partnership Alumni Award is an individual who has gone "above and beyond" in their service to the College of Education, and we express our deep appreciation for those who have created and sustained partnerships within the community and the college to achieve the mission of the College of Education.

The recipient of the Dean's Lifetime Achievement Alumni Award is recognized as a community member who has demonstrated long-term contributions, achievement and service within education or a related profession — on a local, state, regional, national and/or global level.

"I am delighted that this homecoming, the College of Education will celebrate two of our own alumni," said Interim Dean Roger Brindley, Ed.D. "Please join us at our Distinguished Alumni Awards reception, so together we can recognize our award winners' wonderful achievements."

The reception begins at 4:30 p.m. in the College of Education Rotunda with program to begin at 5:30 p.m. in TECO Hall of the College of Education David C. Anchin Center.

Dr. Michael A. Grego, M.Ed '89 & Ed.D '97 — Dean's Lifetime Achievement Alumni Award 

Michael A. Grego - Dean's Lifetime Achievement Alumni Award

After serving 28 years with Hillsborough County Schools, Dr. Grego was selected as Superintendent of the Osceola County school district, where he was credited with dramatic academic improvements, especially among minority students. In 2010, the Florida Alliance for Arts Education (FAAE) recognized him with an annual Superintendent leadership award for his efforts to promote arts education. He then served as Florida's Interim Chancellor of K-12 Education, and in 2012, Dr. Grego was selected to serve as Superintendent of Pinellas County Schools.

Under Dr. Grego's direction, Pinellas County Schools has achieved districtwide accreditation and has been recognized for several major accomplishments. A visionary leader and dedicated educator with more than 35 years of experience, Dr. Michael Grego began his career as a classroom teacher with Hillsborough County Schools, later becoming a department head and advancing to become the Assistant Superintendent for Technical, Career & Adult Education, and Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum & Instruction. He holds a masters and doctorate degree in Educational Leadership from the USF College of Education.

Since he began as Superintendent of Pinellas County Schools, Dr. Grego has implemented numerous initiatives to increase opportunities for learning. He launched an ambitious summer learning program to mitigate summer learning losses, and "Promise Time," which offers an extra 60-90 minutes of instruction in reading, math and science at struggling schools. Pinellas County Schools also initiated Connect for Success, which provides take-home laptops for students at Title I elementary schools.

Dr. Grego has aggressively worked to eliminate achievement gaps in Pinellas County Schools. In 2013, the district implemented the Bridging the Gap strategic plan aimed at boosting achievement, increasing graduation rates and improving student engagement for African American students. In 2014, Pinellas County Schools initiated "Scale Up for Success," a program focused on increasing achievement at several St. Petersburg schools. In 2016, the district established a Transformation Zone with intense support for lower performing schools.

Under his continuing leadership, the Pinellas County School District will continue to see success and growth, and the USF College of Education is proud to honor Dr. Grego with the 2016 Dean's Lifetime Achievement Award.

"I am honored to receive this recognition," Grego said. "Education is truly a career of service to others, and the programs and faculty of the USF College of Education offer the foundation educators need to succeed in their chosen field. The College of Education prepares its graduates to approach challenges as opportunities, and it's our children that benefit the most."

Dr. Stephanie Holmquist Johnson, '81, MA '05, Ph.D. '14 — Spirit of Partnership Alumni Award

Stephanie Holmquist Johnson - Spirit of Partnership Alumni Award

Dr. Stephanie Holmquist Johnson is President and CEO of Holmquist Educational Consultants, Inc., a national consulting and sales organization specializing in the areas of Career and Technical Education and STEM education, with an emphasis on robotics and teacher training. She has served as a consultant for various topics in education such as STEM education, classroom management and robotics.

Dr. Holmquist -Johnson holds three degrees from the University of South Florida: a B.A. in Fine Arts, an M.A. in Career and Technical Education and a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis on Career and Workforce Education. During her time as an undergraduate at USF, she was also the recipient of the Shimberg Talent Scholarship.

With extensive experience in teaching science, math and technology, Dr. Holmquist Johnson has served numerous organizations throughout her career, including the Professional Childrens Theatre, the Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI), Great Explorations Children's Museum and University Village. She has also taught Career and Technical Education on teaching methods, teacher education and STEM in the classroom at St. Petersburg College and at USF. As founder of Holmquist Educational Consultants, Dr. Holmquist Johnson is the recipient of numerous awards for her efforts supporting the use of applied technology in schools.

Both she and her husband, Terry Johnson, have supported the university in numerous ways over the years. In 2013, Dr. Holmquist Johnson established the "Holmquist Educational Consultants, Inc. Scholarship," a scholarship for graduate students in the USF College of Education who are studying in the college's Career and Technical Education program. She committed a legacy gift and has also been a strong support of USF Athletics and is a board member for the USF Foundation and is a recipient of the "Order of the Golden Brahman". Dr. Holmquist Johnson is also an active member of Women in Leadership and Philanthropy at USF.

"I am honored to have been selected as the recipient of the Spirit of Partnership Award," Holmquist Johnson said. "USF has been a strong part of my life. The College of Education holds an especially big piece of my heart since my first exposure when I was a teenager and participating in the youth programs. The need and value of having quality educators in the classroom is extremely important to the entire community. I am proud to be able to support my university, and my college. Together, we can create awesome!"

For more information, please contact:
Elizabeth Engasser
Director of Communications
University of South Florida College of Education
(813) 974-8723

About the USF College of Education:
The University of South Florida College of Education is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (formerly NCATE), and is fully approved by the Florida Department of Education. The USF College of Education is ranked by U.S. News & World Report as one of the top 100 programs in the nation, as well as in the top 20 for online graduate programs. The USF College of Education has over 51,000 alumni who are making a difference in the lives of children each day.