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Booker Middle teacher gets USF Lifetime Achievement Alumni Award

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Joanna Fox-USF photo

DISTINGUISHED USF ALUM: Booker Middle School Teacher Joanna Fox will be honored Oct. 13 by the University of South Florida.

NOTE: This is part of a longer news release about the USF Distinguished Alumni Awards. Booker Middle School Creative Writing Teacher Joanna Fox will receive the Dean's Lifetime Achievement Alumni Award at an event at 5 p.m. tomorrow, Friday, Oct. 13. The complete USF news release is available at this link:

TAMPA, Fla. (October 9, 2017) – The University of South Florida (USF) College of Education is proud to announce the recipients of the College’s 2017 Distinguished Alumni Awards.

Each year, the USF College of Education is proud to present our Distinguished Alumni Awards in conjunction with the USF Homecoming events, which will take place Oct. 9-13. Join us on Friday, Oct. 13 for our Distinguished Alumni Awards Reception as we honor Joanna Fox, English Education `99, with the Dean's Lifetime Achievement Alumni Award, Dr. Ara Rogers, MA `96 and PhD `04, with the Spirit of Partnership Alumni Award and Tyler Campbell, English Education `12, with the newly established Young Alumni Award.

The reception begins at 4:00 p.m. in the College of Education Rotunda with the program to begin at 5:00 p.m. in TECO Hall of the College of Education David C. Anchin Center.

The recipient of the Dean's Lifetime Achievement Alumni Award is recognized as a community member who has demonstrated long-term contributions, achievement and service within education or a related profession — on a local, state, regional, national and/or global level.

Since graduating from the College of Education in 1999 with a degree in English Education, Joanna Fox has served for 17 years at Booker Middle School, a National School of Merit in Sarasota, Fla. Fox has revolutionized the way creative writing is taught to her students by providing them with a comfortable and unique place to let their ideas flow in her classroom that she and her students refer to as “The Dragonfly Café.”  

Fox has tackled common challenges in the middle school setting through her teaching, such as providing her students a creative outlet to have their voices heard through off-campus poetry performances, and having her students’ families become involved in the writing process at Family Writing Nights.

“There is a quote on (the wall of the classroom), ‘Words will take you places; how far do you want to go?’,” Fox said. “Seeing my current students and my former students who have gone out into the world fueling their lives with words and going places is one of my greatest joys as a teacher.”

Because of her work, Fox has received numerous awards and recognitions such as the Florida Teacher Certification Examination’s Beginning Teacher of the Year Award and Teacher of Excellence Award, the Arts Leadership Award for Sarasota County, Scholastic’s Outstanding Educator Award and the International River of Words/Kalmanovitz School of Education Teacher of the Year Award. 

“It is exceptional to be recognized for doing something you love doing,” Fox said. “It’s not my job. It’s my joy. Lifetime achievement resonates with the gravid sound of recognition for work of worth.”

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