University of South Florida

College of Education

Tampa | St. Petersburg | Sarasota-Manatee


USF College of Education announces recipients of 2022 Distinguished Alumni Awards

The University of South Florida (USF) College of Education is proud to announce the recipients of the College’s 2022 Distinguished Alumni Awards.

Each year, the College of Education presents our Distinguished Alumni Awards to celebrate the outstanding accomplishments of our graduates. Recipients are selected by a committee of College of Education faculty, staff and administrators from nominations submitted by the USF community.

Each recipient will be recognized during the College of Education’s Distinguished Alumni Awards program on Thursday, May 5 at 5:00 p.m. The program will take place in TECO Hall at the College of Education on USF’s Tampa campus.

Dominic J Puglisi

Dominic J. Puglisi

Dominic J. Puglisi, Political Science `64, MA `69

Dean’s Lifetime Achievement Alumni Award

A two-time graduate of USF and a member of the university’s charter class, Dominic “Dick” J. Puglisi, PhD, proudly serves as director and chair of the Gus A. Stavros Center of Free Enterprise and Economic Education. Dr. Puglisi is a passionate USF alumnus, a well-respected educator and an accomplished scholar who has proudly served his alma mater for more than 50 years.

A USF faculty member since 1969, Dr. Puglisi has taught courses in the College of Education and also served as the college’s Assistant Dean for Business and Education Partnerships. His academic work is focused on free enterprise and economic education. His efforts are designed to build partnerships between business and education so that K-12 educators possess the knowledge and skills needed to prepare students for the global economy.

Before becoming a faculty member at USF, Dr. Puglisi was a high school social studies teacher in Tampa. Throughout his career, he has received numerous awards, including the coveted National Award, the Freedoms Foundation Leavey Award in Private Enterprise Education and the Outstanding Citizen Award from the Florida Council for the Social Studies.

Dr. Puglisi is best known for his work as director and chair of the Gus A. Stavros Center, a role he has served in since the center’s inception more than 40 years ago. Today, the Stavros Center is recognized as the premier center for economic education in the state of Florida and has served thousands of teachers in strengthening free enterprise and economics education within K-12 schools.

LaSonya Moore

LaSonya L. Moore

LaSonya L. Moore, special education `03, MEd ‘07

Spirit of Partnership Alumni Award

LaSonya L. Moore, EdD, is a passionate and persistent social justice and equity change agent. She is driven by what she has coined “teacher/educator persistence,” the characteristics and attributes that enable urban educators to remain in high-poverty, low-performing schools. Dr. Moore’s research focuses on boundaries between sets of interdependent relationships, educational, social, economic, political and cultural trends.

A two-time USF graduate, Dr. Moore received her bachelor’s degree in special education in 2003 and a master’s degree in educational leadership in 2007. She later went on to earn a Doctor of Education from the University of Central Florida. As a faculty member at USF’s St. Petersburg campus, Dr. Moore teaches undergraduate and graduate education courses and provides service to K-12 schools by delivering speeches and professional and parental development workshops to students, teachers, assistant principals, principals and district leaders.

Dr. Moore is a co-founder of the National Urban Special Education Leadership Network (NUSELNET), a national network of progressive educational leaders in the field of Special Education and Leadership. She is dedicated to improving the educational outcomes of all individuals, especially individuals with exceptionalities, while enhancing opportunities for those who teach, lead and work side-by-side with students daily.

Dr. Moore has received numerous awards and fellowships throughout her career, including the 2017 Florida Administrator of the Year Award, the 2018 College of Education Faculty Member of Service Award, the 2019-2020 McKnight Junior Faculty Development Fellowship by the Florida Education Foundation, the 2019 Florida Council for Exceptional Children Landis Stetler Award, the Council for Exceptional Children Division of International Special Education and Services (DISES) Spotlight Member Award and the Florida Council for Exceptional Children with Behavior Disorders Presidents Award.

Caprice Edmond

Caprice Edmond

Caprice Edmond, psYchology `10, MA `15, MEd `17

Young Educator Alumni Award

A lifelong resident of St. Petersburg, Fla., Caprice Edmond has served within the Pinellas County school district as a science coach and teacher. She currently serves as a board member with the school district, a role she was elected to in 2020. She is recognized as a Certified School Board Member by Florida School Boards Association.

Edmond is a three-time graduate of USF. She earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology in 2010, a Master of Arts in elementary education in 2015 and a Master of Education in educational leadership in 2017. Prior to joining the Pinellas County School Board, Edmond was a teacher and Guardian ad Litem for 10 years, advocating for children in the foster care system, becoming their champion at their schools, in court and at their group homes.

Edmond has passionately given back to the education profession through many service roles, including serving as part of the Parent Teacher Association (PTA) at numerous Pinellas County schools. She also served on the City of St. Petersburg’s Youth Development Grant Review Committee and the South St. Petersburg Community Redevelopment Area Advisory Committee. She currently serves on the board of R’Club, Louise Graham Regeneration Center, Pinellas Community Alliance, Habitat for Humanity, Pinellas County Urban League and other civic organizations.

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

About the University of South Florida
The University of South Florida, a high-impact global research university dedicated to student success, generates an annual economic impact of more than $6 billion. Over the past 10 years, no other public university in the country has risen faster in U.S. News and World Report’s national university rankings than USF. Serving more than 50,000 students on campuses in Tampa, St. Petersburg and Sarasota-Manatee, USF is designated as a Preeminent State Research University by the Florida Board of Governors, placing it in the most elite category among the state’s 12 public universities. USF has earned widespread national recognition for its success graduating under-represented minority and limited-income students at rates equal to or higher than white and higher income students. USF is a member of the American Athletic Conference. Learn more at

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About the USF College of Education:

As the home for more than 2,200 students and 130 faculty members across three campuses, the University of South Florida College of Education offers state-of-the-art teacher training and collegial graduate studies designed to empower educational leaders. Our college is nationally accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP), and our educator preparation programs are fully approved by the Florida Department of Education.