ORLANDO, Fla. – No one understands the ins and outs of the school reopening process here in Central Florida better than our education leaders, teachers and doctors.
Parents undoubtedly have questions and concerns about what the upcoming academic year will look like as they prepare to send their children back to school during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
As part of News 6′s Reopening Schools: Your Questions Answered town hall happening from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Aug. 3, we’ve gathered a panel of local experts who are ready to address those uncertainties and provide guidance to parents, teachers and students who may be feeling apprehensive ahead of the start of the fall semester.
Before our discussion takes place, we’re inviting you to read more about each panelist so you know what kind of information they’ll be able to provide. Then use this form at the bottom of the story to submit your questions.
Be sure to go to ClickOrlando.com/ReopeningSchools at 8 p.m. on Aug. 3 to watch the town hall as it’s happening and participate in our live chat.
Seminole County Public Schools superintendent Dr. Walt Griffin
Dr. Walt Griffin began his career in academics as an algebra teacher and from there, worked his way up through serving as assistant principal, principal, and executive director before being appointed to his superintendent position in 2012. His distinctions include being selected as principal of the year in 2003, being named Florida Educator of the Year by the Holler Family in 2015, and CTE Superintendent of the Year by the Florida Association for Career and Technical Education.
Lewis Carroll Elementary teacher Rebecca Horton
Rebecca Horton currently teaches sixth grade at Lewis Carroll Elementary School, the same school she attended as a child. She’s spent her entire 17-year teaching career in the Brevard County school district. The mother of two sons also has taught second grade and third grade. She earned her degree from the University of Central Florida. Her father, brother, niece, and cousin are all educators as well.
Orange County Public Schools superintendent Dr. Barbara Jenkins
Dr. Barbara Jenkins has been in the education realm for 30 years, including the eight years she’s spent as Orange County Public Schools superintendent. During that time, she’s been named Florida Superintendent of the Year, Hispanic-Serving School District Superintendent of the Year and she’s been named as one of the 10 most powerful people in Central Florida by the Orlando Sentinel and Orlando Magazine. She serves on the executive board of directors of the Council of the Great City Schools, Chiefs for Change, The Wall Street Journal CEO Council, and the Florida Council of 100.
Dr. Annette Nielsen from Tree House Pediatrics
Dr. Annette Nielsen opened Tree House Pediatrics in Lake Nona in 2008. Before that, she earned her medical degree from the University of Alabama School of Medicine then moved to Florida to complete her pediatric residency at Arnold Palmer Children’s Hospital. She worked at Community Health Centers of Central Florida prior to opening her own practice. She enjoys cooking, traveling, and spending time with her family when she’s not working.
Osceola County School Board chairman Kelvin Soto
Kelvin Soto was elected to the Osceola County School Board to represent District 2 in 2012 and currently serves as the chairman. He made his way through college and graduate school on the GI Bill after serving as a Navy Corpsman. He studied law at the University of California, Berkeley then came to Central Florida with the goal of helping those who need it the most.