Sarasota Military Academy Initiates Its First Education Summit

Todays News


Public charter school and college preparatory academy, Sarasota Military Academy, gears up to host its first annual SMA Inspire Education Summit, featuring speakers from around the world focusing on the pathways of Health, Earth and Equality. The Summit is in partnership with Dr. Todd Brown, PhD., Sarasota Military Academy Outreach Director and teacher, and creator of ‘The Inspire Project.’ “This event aims to increase collaboration between our educators and staff and will have a major, positive impact on our students,” says Brown. “We are looking to challenge the more ‘traditional’ methods of teaching as we find ways to have a global positive impact within our community.” The Inspire Project brings in world-renowned guest speakers—each specifically tied to one of the three respective pathways—to share impactful stories and personally interact with students and teachers.

The initiative is not like a TED talk, says Brown, but more like immersive Q & A, discussion-based sessions. “This event is one of three culminations this year that connects these incredibly accomplished people with our students and school to help show that these people are human,” he says, noting that the person-to-person connection elevates and inspires student engagement on these relevant, worldly topics.

For the “Health” sector, speakers will include Dr. Todd Brown, as well as Dr. Pardis Sabeti of Sabeti Lab, a computational biologist, medical geneticist and evolutionary geneticist, named Time magazine’s Most Influential People and People of the Year. Additionally, Ridhi Tariyal will speak, CEO and co-founder of NextGen Jane and Blavatnik Fellow at Harvard University, as well as Dr. Christian Brechot, physician, scientist and President of the Global Virus Network. Presenting on “Earth,” is SMA Prep teacher Deb Walker, Post-Doctoral Researcher Dr. Esther Ngumbi, named 1 of 100 women changing the world in 2018 by OneWorld, and Dr. Tracy Fanara, MythBusters, Environmental Civil Engineer, National EPA Rainworks Challenge Teams Winner and Mote Marine hydrologist. Culminating with the “Equality” sector, featured speakers include SMA Prep teacher Lynore Fontecha, Aradia, a singer/songwriter from NYC and LA, and finally Abdi Nor Iftin, a Somali refugee and author of the acclaimed book Call Me American.

Sarasota County teachers are highly encouraged to register for the event (at no cost to them or the schools) to help spread the word on the mentor series discussion, and ultimately increase collaboration in education with schools, clubs, teachers and students throughout the county. 

The Inspire Education Summit will take place on Friday, August 9, 2019, from 9am - 2pm at the SMA Prep middle school campus (3101 Bethel Lane, Sarasota). Registration is ongoing through the Sarasota County Professional Development System.

Photo left to right: Dr. Tracy Fanara, Tamara Robertson, Dr. Todd Brown with daughter in front, and Dr. Pardis Sabeti

The Inspire Project

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