School Board Member since 2010
In 2010, Debbie Hawley was elected on her word. Her word became actions, and the actions produced results. She was elected to improve the quality of education in our St. Lucie Public Schools (SLPS). Under her leadership, SLPS has seen tremendous progress with students, graduation rates and state rankings. Below are just a few of the accomplishments that St. Lucie County can celebrate:
- In 2022: St. Lucie County is the highest-ranking school district on the Treasure Coast for overall student performance.
- In 2022: St. Lucie County was #5 in the state for graduation rates – an increase of over 19% in the last seven years. Graduation rates have exceeded 90% for five consecutive years, with this year boasting a 99% graduation rate for the six comprehensive high schools.
- SLPS has been voted a Best Place to Work in the large employer category since 2017.
- In 2022: SLPS is #5 in the state for Career and Technical Education.
- Partnerships with Indian River State College (IRSC), Keiser University, and businesses in the community to offer internships, pre-apprenticeships, and apprenticeships to SLPS students.
- The founding of the St Lucie Public Schools Youth Advisory Council was accomplished under the support and leadership of Debbie Hawley. The Youth Advisory Council was formed to advance the voice of our students in district-wide decisions. The council meets monthly during the school year.
Is this community better off because of the leadership provided by Debbie as a school board member?
The results speak a resounding YES. As demonstrated above, Debbie has an unwavering passion for education and children. When Debbie ran for office in 2010, she stated that she had 40,000+ reasons to be elected. The same 40,000+ reasons still exist, and while the names and faces have changed, the students still deserve a quality education and she remains committed to making sure they receive it. Debbie continuously renews her pledge to continue working for the good of the community as a school board member. Debbie is a Kids At Hope Treasure Hunter, meaning she believes that every child can succeed – NO exceptions!
Meet Debbie Hawley
I am a proud mom of two sons (both SLPS graduates) and exceedingly proud to be “Grammie” to my 7-year-old granddaughter who is entering the second grade in SLPS this year. As a fourth-generation resident of St. Lucie County and a resident of district 1 for 42 years, I am definitely not a newcomer to the area. I was an active volunteer in our public schools for over 20 years prior to being elected as a board member in 2010, serving in the following capacities: Educational surrogate, School Advisory Council member and chairperson, District Advisory Council member and chairperson, and PTO member and president. I have facilitated programs for students experiencing issues resulting from grief or divorce. In addition, I served as a parent representative in Tallahassee during legislative sessions and on multiple ad-hoc committees established for short-term need assessments.
– Debbie Hawley
Debbie’s Work Experience and education
Debbie has been affiliated with Big Brothers Big Sisters since 2007, providing group and individual counseling services. She currently serves as the Chief Executive Officer. She is a mental health professional who understands its importance in school safety. Debbie stands on a strong record of safety improvements and is a staunch advocate of expanding safety and security measures for students and staff in all schools and district facilities. She has been described as having a “roll-up-my-sleeves” and “be-part-of-the-solution” mentality.
Debbie’s post-secondary education:
- MA in Professional Counseling (2008); South University in West Palm Beach, Florida
- BLA (1984); Barry University in Miami, Florida
- AA (1980): Indian River Community College (now IRSC) in Fort Pierce, Florida
Community and Professional Affiliations
- Florida School Board Association: Board of Directors (2017-2019; 2021 -present) and Member of the Advocacy and the Legislative Committees
- Greater Florida Consortium of School Boards: Vice President (2017- 2018) and President (2018-2019)
- Treasure Coast University School, Inc. (TCUS): Chairperson/Member of the Founding and Governing Boards for Palm Pointe Educational Research School at Tradition (2004-present)
- New Horizons of the Treasure Coast: Board of Directors (2019-present)
- Children’s Services Council: Board of Directors (2020 – present) and Secretary (2020 – present)
- Children’s Advocacy Center: Advisory Board Member (2020-present)
- Roundtable of St. Lucie County: Steering Committee (2020-present), Academic Success Network Chairperson (2017-present) and Board of Directors (2020-present)
- Treasure Coast Safety Village: Board of Directors (2021 – present)
- St. Lucie County Juvenile Justice Advisory: Board member (2015-present)
- St. Lucie County UF/IFAS Extension Advisory: Council Member (2004-present)
- St. Lucie County Citizen’s Budget Development Committee: (1998-2006)
- Creative Playground of Ft. Pierce, Inc. (Kids’ Crossing Playground): Member of Incorporating Board responsible for planning, securing funding and building of the original playground in 1993.