Adele Graham Award Winner 2008
Susan Walton's commitment to education and volunteerism has encompassed most of her adult life. Her illustrious career in education began as an elementary teacher for grades 4, 5, and 6 in Hollywood, FL, at Fairway Elementary. From there she taught in Georgia and Virginia as a Reading Specialist and later at Oak Ridge Elementary, Tallahassee, Florida. Her dedication to reading/language arts later extended to being a Labauch reading tutor for adults, serving as a volunteer to administer the DIAL screening at the preschool level. Susan continued her passion for reading and literacy as a member of The Leon County Library Board & Literacy Volunteer Board. She chaired many of their fundraising events. She also volunteered with the chamber of commerce to chair the Leon County BEST Apple Award Committee, recognizing and giving grants to outstanding teachers and school support personnel.For the last 18 years, Susan has worked as a consultant, then Coordinator for Community Outreach and Family Involvement, and most recently Director of Special Projects for the Bureau of Family and Community Outreach. She has initiated several statewide community task forces on intergenerational programs and family involvement programs. Her sustained support for community involvement are reflected in her continuous leadership and work with the Panhandle Area Education Consortium and several school district coordinators to expand community outreach training. In her tenure with the Department of Education, Susan has published several books. These include Sparkplugs, Family Resource Directory, Intergenerational Handbook, andParent Primer. More than 10 years ago, she initiated the Parent Involvement Award which is presented annually at the Florida PTA Leadership Conference. Susan recruited business partners throughout these years to join DOE and PTA in recognizing Florida's outstanding parent involvement programs. More than 50 have received the award. The winners have shared their innovation and creativity with other schools through Susan's publication,Sparkplugs and their presentations at FAPE Conference.Her leadership establishes a statewide network with school district volunteer/community outreach programs. She facilitates school award projects related to community outreach and family involvement. Her strong support, commitment and leadership for community involvement in Florida's schools are reflected through her appointment by the Commissioner of Education to represent the Department of Education on various boards, associations and committees. These include, but are not limited the Florida Association of Partners in Education, Florida PTA and Florida School Health & Education Consortium.She has been an active community volunteer working with civic organizations, serving on school committees, chairing school fundraising committees, teaching Sunday school, participating with her church in outreach activities, and has actively served on boards of homeowners' associations.
To provide leadership in the formation and growth of effective partnerships that ensure the success for all students