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‘Booker Nation’ leads Newtown tour for new staff

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Booker Nation staff field trip 8-10-17

FIELD TRIP: Staff members from Booker schools toured significant sites in the Newtown community.

SARASOTA COUNTY, Aug. 11, 2017 – On Thursday, Aug. 10, “Booker Nation,” also known as the collaboration between Emma E. Booker Elementary School, Booker Middle School and Booker High School, partnered on a Newtown community tour experience for more than 50 of its new teachers and staff members.

Emma E. Booker Elementary Principal Edwina Oliver, Booker Middle Principal LaShawn Frost and Booker High Principal Rachel Shelley joined teachers and staff members and boarded a bus driven by Diane Preston, the district route coordinator supervisor. The group stopped at seven sites in Newtown of historical and cultural significance, including the Newtown Historical Gallery and a church that pioneering educator Emma E. Booker attended, among others. . The tour was in advance of the start of the 2017-18 school year in Sarasota County on Monday, Aug. 14.

“This is a truly unique experience for these newly installed teachers and staff members,” said Troy Thompson, assistant principal at Emma E. Booker Elementary, who spearheaded the event under the direction of Edwina Oliver. “We want to pay homage to the town’s past and present and immerse our new team members into the fabric of the community that we serve.”

The engaging excursion provided a general background of the rich history of Newtown. Jetson Grimes, a longtime community member, activist and Newtown business owner joined the tour to provide other historical information about the community. City of Sarasota Commissioner Willie Shaw was also a part of this experience, providing information related to contributions made by other notable Newtown residents and educators. 

“We really wanted our new staff members to see the impact that they have and understand the foundation of how the Booker schools were created,” said Oliver. “Emma E. Booker wasn’t a Sarasota native, but she came in like a whirlwind, planted her roots here and allowed them to grow. Like her, we all have a passion for educating our children – not only in the Booker schools but across our district.”

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