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Veteran Marion County educator Vianello named Florida ‘Innovator’

Mark Vianello

Mark Vianello, a 28-year veteran of Marion County Public Schools and current executive director of Career and Technical Education for the district, is one of just three leaders named as a 2020 College Ready Florida Innovator.

The award comes from the Tampa-based Florida College Access Network (FCAN) and recognizes people launching new approaches to help students succeed in college and pay for their higher education while convincing younger students to plan for the future.

In announcing the award, FCAN spotlighted Vianello because of the “cultural shift you made in your community’s approach to postsecondary options and student success.”

Leaders with the Take Stock in Children program at the Public Education Foundation of Marion County nominated Vianello for the award, specifically noting his efforts to create the school district’s Career Planning Guide to help high school students determine their “E” after graduation – Enrolled, Employed or Enlisted. The guide also includes custom-created checklists for each E and grade level. In its inaugural year this year, the Guide helped more than 90 percent of seniors determine their E.

Vianello’s thinking also helped create the Youth Expo, an annual event where more than 700 middle and high school students meet face-to-face with local business leaders to prepare them for real-life job interviews and soft-skills development.

Finally, Vianello’s nomination spotlighted his leadership with the annual Job Fair directly connecting students with local employers for summer jobs, part-time employment and more.

The Innovator Award recognizes those who have gone above and beyond to support students’ postsecondary plans through their support of the College Ready Florida statewide initiatives coordinated by FCAN. Those initiatives encourage schools and districts to help students traditionally underrepresented in higher education continue their educations beyond high school.

“It takes commitment and dedication to try new approaches to inspire students in taking steps towards their futures,” said Laurie Meggesin, FCAN executive director. Vianello is “an inspiration to us at FCAN and to (his) peers throughout the state.”

Vianello would have accepted his award at FCAN’s Summit this summer but COVID-19 concerns transformed that conference into a virtual award presentation. This is only the second year FCAN has handed out Innovator awards.

Last fall, Vianello also was named the Florida Workforce Partner of the Year by CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion for championing workforce collaboration benefitting middle and high school students.

For more information, visit www.FloridaCollegeAccess.org or contact FCAN’s John Ceballos at (813) 974-8606 or jceballos@floridacollegeaccess.org.

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