Lake County School Board Member Bill Mathias was among two state “Star” Superintendents and School Board Members in Florida recognized for their exemplary leadership by the Consortium of Florida Education Foundations (CFEF) on Nov. 30 at the 72nd annual Joint Conference of Florida School Boards Association and Florida Association of District School Superintendents held in Tampa.

Local education foundations from throughout the state nominated school system leaders for the eleventh annual awards. Nominees were reviewed by other education foundation directors in the state and rated for their leadership and involvement with their local education foundation.

In nominating Mr. Mathias, community leaders cited several examples of his strong advocacy for the Educational Foundation of Lake County.  For the foundation’s recent Renaissance Faire, he secured donations of restaurant equipment for use by high school culinary students, giving them hands-on experience in providing food service for large events.   He is actively involved in all 11 of the foundation’s annual recognition events.   He also contributes 10% of his salary as a school board member to the foundation.

Mr. Mathias spends significant time in schools talking with students and teachers to understand their challenges and concerns.  When he discovered some students living within a mile of their school and therefore ineligible for bus transportation had to walk on busy roads and cross dangerous intersections, he established a transportation scholarship fund to provide a safer option.

The Consortium of Florida Education Foundations (CFEF) is the membership organization for Florida’s school district-wide local education foundations. Established in 1987, the CFEF seeks to advance student achievement in Florida by increasing private sector investment and involvement in public education.  CFEF now has 64 member foundations with 1,100 business and community leaders serving as volunteer board members.  Collectively, they raise more than $63 million annually to support students, teachers and schools through a variety of programs. The CFEF has provided more than $30 million to local education foundations since 2002 through various private and public-sector partnerships, including the State of Florida School District Education Foundation Matching Grant Program.