About Us

About Us – Manatee Education Foundation

Mary Glass - President

Mary Glass

Susan DeWitt - Events Coordinator

Susan DeWitt
Events Coordinator

Alisha Watterson - Office Administrator

Alisha Watterson
Office Administrator


The Manatee Education Foundation is a not-for-profit organization established in 1988, which provides indirect support to the Manatee County School District through a variety of programs that benefit students and teachers. The Foundation acts as a liaison between the private sector and the public school system providing avenues for business, industry and community involvement in public education. Our mission is accomplished by addressing key issues and needs within the public education arena, and presenting effective, efficient and accountable opportunities for the private sector to support quality public education.


The mission of the Manatee Education Foundation is to provide funding for innovative programs and enhanced educational opportunities for the teachers and students of Manatee County Public Schools beyond allocated state dollars.


The goals of the Foundation are to:
 Collaborate with community, civic and business leaders to support educational opportunities and programs.
 Provide supplemental funding for creative and innovative educational programs which cannot be funded through traditional resources.
 Motivate, encourage and recognize outstanding achievement by teachers and students in K-12 education.

Board of Directors 2021-2022

Executive Committee

Mr. Mark Freeman (Chair)
ME&S General Contractors

Ms. Jackie Barron
Mosaic Company

Mr. Gary Huggins
NDC Construction Company

Mr. Nathan Carr (Vice Chair)
Willis Smith Construction

Mr. Ross Hodges
SouthState Bank

Board Members

Ms. Samantha Cummins
Williamson Design Associates

Mr. Bob Gause
Gause and Associates

Mr. Stu Henderson
Fawley Bryant Architecture

Charlie Kennedy,
School Board Manatee County

Mr. Harry Kinnan
Community Representative

Mr. Jeff Podobnik
Pittsburgh Pirates

Mr. Paul Sharff
Early Learning Coalition

Mr. Vernon DeSear
Manatee Memorial Hospital

Ms. Mary Glass
Manatee Education Foundation

Mr. Charles (Chuck) Johnson, III
Blalock Walters, P.A.

Mr. Tom Peacock
Gilbane Building Company

Ms. Cynthia Saunders
SDMC Superintendent

Dr. Robin Thompson
SDMC Director of Curriculum
and Professional Learning

Board Members Emeritus

Ms. Linda Agresta
School District of Manatee County (SDMC)

Dr. Warren Simonds
Community Representative