SCF Names Benware Head of Collegiate School
(Bradenton, Fla., March 19, 2010) — Linda D. Benware has been named head of school for State College of Florida Collegiate School (SCFCS), announced Dr. Lars A. Hafner, president of State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota (SCF).
An extensive career that began as a classroom teacher and advanced to supervisor of gifted programs and principal of large public middle and high schools, coupled with service as the founding principal of one of Florida’s most highly-rated charter schools, were factors that earned Benware the unanimous recommendation of a search committee.
In announcing the decision, Hafner cited Benware’s proven leadership abilities and noted the success of students in schools she established and directed.
“Ms. Benware represents the gold standard as a school administrator and our new collegiate school is poised to achieve great success with her at the helm,” said Hafner.
Steve Harner, chairman of the SCF District Board of Trustees, said, “I was elated to learn that Linda Benware was selected to head our collegiate school.”
Harner noted that he got to know Benware when she helped research the use of Apple technology for the collegiate school.
“Her experience, knowledge and enthusiasm about education, especially in a charter school, make her a perfect fit for this important position,” Harner said about Benware.
As head of school, Benware is charged with developing and administering educational programs for the innovative charter school opening this fall on the college’s Bradenton campus. SCFCS will start with sixth and seventh grades and grow to include through 12th grade in subsequent years. It will open as the nation’s first college-operated school with middle school students on a college campus.
“In the truest meaning of the words, SCFCS will offer students a seamless, barrier-free transition starting in sixth grade and exiting at grade 12 with the associate in arts degree in hand,” Benware said.
Working with middle school students was appealing, Benware said.
“My first position as principal was at a middle school, and I found middle school students open to new ideas, eager to prove themselves, and all around fun and engaging,” said Benware.
Former schools under Benware’s leadership won state and national accolades. St. Petersburg Collegiate High School, at the first grading opportunity following completion of its inaugural year, received the Florida Department of Education’s “A” rating and maintained the prestigious ranking as students advanced to score among the highest in the state on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test by the school’s fourth year. When Benware was principal of St. Petersburg High School, Newsweek listed the school among “America’s 100 Best High Schools.”
The success of SCFCS also will be measured by students’ achievements, Benware said, and her expectations are high both for students and teachers.
With a futuristic, global perspective, SCFCS will integrate innovative technology, creative curriculum and entrepreneurial-minded faculty.
“We are looking for creative, student-oriented teachers who truly believe that students are the reason we are here,” Benware said. “Together we will work diligently and continuously to nurture a collaborative, encouraging learning environment that produces graduates who will shine in tomorrow’s careers and global workplaces.”
Benware earned a master’s degree in educational leadership K-12 from the University of South Florida. She is a member of the Florida Association of School Administrators and the National Association of Secondary Principals.
Benware will start her new position March 22.
SCFCS is a public school chartered through Manatee County School District and operated autonomously by SCF. There is no cost to apply to or attend SCFCS. Applications are being accepted from interested parents with children entering the sixth or seventh grades in Manatee County this fall. More information about SCFCS, including dates of upcoming information sessions, can be found at www.scf.edu/SCFCS.