It takes less than ten seconds to understand Linda Agresta’s passion for education upon meeting her. Her excitement for the field of education along with innovative ideas, creative programming and her impact on training and teaching effective teachers landed her as the recipient of the 2010 John E. Lawrence Adult Education Administrator of the Year Award at the Annual Adult and Community Education (ACE) Conference in Orlando. As the Assistant Director of Manatee Technical Institute (MTI) and a Professor at the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee (USFSM), she has immersed herself in what she finds exceedingly important. “It’s about training the next generation of educators and helping them to understand the level of impact they can have on students,” she said.
Agresta teaches English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) to students in the College of Education at USF Sarasota-Manatee and was involved in the development of the program over 20 years ago when it started in Tampa. With close to 20% of Florida residents being Spanish speakers, Agresta sees this as an imperative need for next generation teachers. “Making students comfortable in the classroom when English isn’t their first language is so crucial. As a teacher, you are responsible for educating students equally, so these classes really provide the necessary tools for our students to be prepared to go out and provide an optimal learning environment in the local schools,” said Agresta.
Mary Cantrell, Director at MTI and Linda’s boss and mentor finds her teaching at USFSM a benefit, both personally and professionally. “I think the more people that you can impact in your life, that’s a good thing. Linda has enthusiasm for learning – we want educators who are excited. Being an educator is one of the best careers in the world – you can make a difference each day, make things better. If she can influence the next group of teachers, help them see the opportunity before them, that’s better for everybody. Linda teaching at USFSM is a huge benefit for everyone,” said Cantrell. “It’s a wonderful school – a great place to make an impact and we’re happy that she’s doing so.”
For more information at the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee or the College of Education, please contact Katrina Anderson at (941)359-4200 or visit www.sarasota.usf.edu.