Meet Our Staff
Dr. Peter Trakas joined the Gus A. Stavros Center in May of 2022 as its director. Dr Trakas has more than 25 years of higher education administration experience in various roles within institutional advancement. He received his Doctor of Education in educational leadership from the University of Central Florida and an MBA from Stetson University. His scholarship explores online giving, university advancement and the ways in which private and corporate stakeholders can be engaged by higher education institutions to support student success.
Dr. Deborah Kozdras joined the Stavros Center in 2010 as an Instructor and Chief Creative Officer. Prior to her work at the Stavros Center Dr. Kozdras worked for 11 years as an elementary school teacher. From 2005-2010 she completed her Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction with a focus in Literacy and the English Language Arts at the University of South Florida. While completing the program, Dr. Kozdras was the recipient of a Carnegie Predoctoral Fellowship from the National Academy of Education. She has presented both research and practical workshops at a variety of national and international conferences and has published a variety of articles, book chapters, and lesson plans.
Dick J. Puglisi
Dr. Dick Puglisi is Professor, Professor Emeritus in the College of Education and Director Emeritus for the Stavros Center. Dick served on faculty since 1969, and served as Director of the center from 1980 until 2022. He is a recipient of the coveted Freedoms Foundation Award for Excellence in Private Enterprise Education.
Ms. Brittany Sampson is an educator with over two decades of successful experience in Polk County Public Schools. She specializes in Economics with Financial Literacy, having just finished her thirteenth year with the curriculum at Lakeland High School. Her career started with six years’ experience with middle school students in both Exceptional Student Education and Social Science. Outside of school hours, she enjoys creating and writing economic curriculum. The Stavros Center has been a hub for most of Sampson's economic curriculum writing and development since 2016, working with the center as Polk County Liaison beginning in 2015. Ms. Sampson has received many awards and honors including the Charles C. Harper Economic Educator of the Year Award for the state of Florida in 2019, a REEL Educator Award from the Florida Council of Economic Education in both 2019 and 2020. Sampson was celebrated in the 2021 Stavros Center Sustainability Superheroes Celebration. Keiser University selected Ms. Sampson as Educator of the Year in 2015. She has won three State Governor's awards from the FCEE for curriculum that she has written for her course in 2010, 2013, and 2015.
Christine Angel Danger
Ms. Christine Angel Danger earned her B.S. in elementary education at The University of South Florida and Master’s in Educational Leadership from Saint Leo University. She achieved National Board Certification as a Middle Childhood Generalist in 2007. She has served Hillsborough County Public Schools (HCPS) for over 20 years as a teacher, science coach, teacher trainer, and STEM Coordinator. She has written curriculum and professional development for Hillsborough County Public Schools, University of Florida’s CPALMS, University of Florida, and for University of South Florida Stavros Center. Her honors include 2009 Promoting Regional Excellence in Science and Math (PRISM) award, Teacher of the Year 2013, National Agriculture in the Classroom Teacher of the Year 2015, National Earth Science Teachers Association Teacher of the Year 2015, and the 2019 Regional Economic Education Leadership (REEL) Award. Mrs. Danger has also been a Honeywell Space-Camp for Educators astronaut trainee and is a member of the Civil Air Patrol. She has appeared in Superhero Training Network children’s science videos as the super-villain Anti-Matter. She also loves to play ice hockey.