for St. Lucie School Board District 1
School Board Member
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 as the Board Chair and a Board Member, SLPS has seen tremendous progress with students, graduation rates, and State rankings. Below are just a few of the accomplishments from the past few years that St. Lucie County can celebrate:
- In 2017, St. Lucie County was the highest-ranking school District on the Treasure Coast for graduation rates.
- In 2017, St. Lucie County was #5 in the State for graduation rates. In 2014-2015, SLPS schools were ranked #45 so moving to #5 in three years is a tremendous source of pride for the district. The improvement is a direct testament to the hard work and dedication of SLPS administration, staff, and students.
- In 2017, SLPS was voted the Best Place to Work for large employers for the first time ever!
- Currently, SLPS offers 46 industry certifications in 37 programs covering 13 career clusters. These programs are available to all students attending SLPS high schools.
- Partnerships with Indian River State College (IRSC), Keiser University, and businesses in the community offer internships, pre-apprenticeships and apprenticeships to SLPS students.
- The District has reached salary settlements (despite funding shortfalls) with its Union partners prior to the beginning of school for the last 4 years. The settlements enabled SLPS teachers and support personnel to start the school year without worries of contract negotiations.
Is this community better off because of the leadership provided by Debbie as a School Board member?
The results speak a resounding “YES.” A daring destination was declared in 2010 – success for all students – and a roadmap was developed that would lead to the desired destination.
As demonstrated above, Debbie has an unwavering passion for education and children. She renews her pledge to continue working for the good of the community as a School Board Member. 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.
Meet Debbie Hawley
“I am a proud mom of two sons (both graduated from SLPS) and exceedingly proud to be “Grammie” to my 3-year-old granddaughter who will be in VPK next year. As a fourth generation resident of St. Lucie County and resident of District 1 for 38 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, PTO member and president. I have facilitated programs for students experiencing issues resulting from grief or divorce, and I was a trainer for the the “More Alike Than Different” program for elementary students. In addition, I served as a parent representative in Tallahassee during legislative sessions and also on multiple ad-hoc committees established for short term need assessments.”
– Debbie Hawley
Debbie’s Work Experience
Debbie has been affiliated with Big Brothers Big Sisters since 2007 providing group and individual counseling services and currently serves as the Chief Program 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, Palm Beach, FL
- BLA (1984); Barry University, Miami, FL
- AA (1980); Indian River Community College, Ft. Pierce, FL
Community and Professional Affiliations
Florida School Board Association, Board of Directors (2017-present):
Elected by her peers to represent District 21 which covers five counties.
Greater Florida Consortium of School Boards, Vice-President (2017-2018) and President (2018-2019):
Composed of 10 coastal Florida school districts collectively advocating for education legislatively. Officers are elected by the Consortium membership.
Treasure Coast University School, Inc. (TCUS) (2004-present):
Chairperson/ Member of the Founding and Governing Boards for Palm Pointe Educational Research School @ Tradition.
Kids at Hope Treasure Hunter and Trainer (2010-present):
Kids at Hope is a St. Lucie County and St. Lucie Public Schools philosophy – All children are capable of success – No Exceptions.
Roundtable of St. Lucie County: Steering Committee (2014-present), Academic Success Network Chairperson (2017-present):
Network is composed of community entities working together to help increase the academic success of St. Lucie County students.
St. Lucie County Juvenile Justice Advisory Board member (2015-present):
Representatives of legal community, law enforcement, and providers of youth services working together to provide alternatives for youth offenders.
St. Lucie County UF/IFAS Extension Advisory Council member (2004-present):
Partnering with SLPS to provide 4-H programs which promote effective communication skills and STEM careers; Farm to School program which teach students about good nutrition and planting gardens to raise their own food; Life Skills and Financial Management Skills; and trips to the 4-H Farm for interaction with farm animals.
St. Lucie County Citizen’s Budget Development Committee (1998-2006):
Working extensively with County Budget Administration to develop budget for St. Lucie County which required an all-encompassing knowledge of the functionality and implementation of government budgeting.
Creative Playground of Ft Pierce, Inc. (Kid’s Crossing):
Member of Incorporating Board responsible for planning, securing funding, and building of the original Playground in 1993.
New Horizons of the Treasure Coast: “Friends of New Horizons” Board (2005 – 2007):
Responsible for securing funding and building of the new children’s wing.