The late Dr. William Merwin, former President of Florida Gulf Coast University, formed the Alliance of Educational Leaders in 1999 in order to bring together the superintendents of the five counties in Southwest Florida and the presidents of the public and private/independent colleges and universities. Dr. Ken Walker (Florida Southwestern State College) and Dr. Terry McMahan (Hodges University) were among the organization’s founders. The members include the Superintendents of Charlotte, Collier, Glades, Hendry, and Lee Counties and the Presidents of Florida Southwestern State College, Florida Gulf Coast University, Hodges University, Keiser University and Nova Southeastern University.
Members of the Alliance of Educational Leaders are focused on building a strong future for Southwest Florida and are committed to serving the educational needs of the citizens. Their belief in strong, effective partnerships led to early unique projects such as the award of the highly competitive Reading First Grant to an alliance of Charlotte, Collier and Lee School Districts and the Southwest Florida Workforce Development Board. Additionally, significant progress has been made in the area of seamless articulations among the Alliance institutions.
The Alliance has been core to the development and execution of numerous regional initiatives including a series of Education-Workforce-Economic Summits (2006, 2007, 2008,); Regional Issues (2004, 2005); Issues and Solutions (2006); and, most recently, News-Press Market Watch Education Summits (2011, 2012) and Workforce Now (2013).
The Founding Goals of the Alliance of Educational Leaders
- Create a seamless web of educational opportunities.
- Provide a national model of regional educational cooperation to enhance quality and opportunity and to contribute to higher graduation rates and increased levels of job placements within SW Florida.
- Ensure teacher preparation programs produce excellent candidates for teaching and administration.