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SRQ DAILY Feb 13, 2021

Saturday Perspectives Edition

Saturday Perspectives Edition

"Critical thinking is, in essence, the discipline of analyzing and synthesizing concepts."

- Dr. Donal O'Shea, President of New College of Florida

[Under The Hood]  The Search Begins
Jacob Ogles, jacob.ogles@srqme.com

Manatee County will soon have a new county administrator. A series of increasingly scandalous developments assured that, and if anyone had a doubt how this all might end, Cheri Coryea ended speculation this week as she began severance negotiations.

As hard as that must have been for an administrator brought down more for her associations that any genuine missteps, this was the right thing to do as multiple newly elected commissioners made clear early they intended to deliver change. Good luck with that. As George Washington once rapped in Hamilton, “winning was easy young man, governing’s harder.”

But something else became clear this week too, namely that some of these harbingers of change have names in mind already for who should take over from Coryea. Both Manatee School Board Member Scott Hopes and former Superintendent of Schools Rick Mills had their names dropped non-casually. Indeed, those with names in mind seemed ready to install these individuals with haste. This surely rubbed Coryea supporters the wrong way, adding further question as to whether her proximity to termination came from any actual level of dissatisfaction with her work at all.

For the moment, the county instead appears on track to put former Sarasota County Commissioner Charles Hines in the job. While there seemed some public consternation at Tuesday’s commission meeting about whether there should be a more lengthy and public interview process, that’s not warranted considering the job will be temporary. Terry Lewis, a former North Port Police Chief who for a period seemed the interim choice for every government in Sarasota finding itself between administrations, once described the job of acting manager as keeping the wheels on the bus. Overriding vision, he mused, was the job of permanent hires.

But what happens now for Hopes or Mills? I don’t think anyone needs to forget these names soon, or the fact sitting members of the county commission already want one of these men running the administration.

Personally, for a county Manatee’s size, it seems only prudent a national search for candidates takes place. That said, both Hopes and Mills have backgrounds in administration, including in the public sector. Either one has the qualifications to lead the county. Both also boast a working knowledge of the community, something you don’t get with an out-of-state hire, and a working knowledge of working under Florida law including the confounding-to-some Sunshine Law.

Then again they both also bring baggage. Mills, much like Coryea, quit his superintendent job amid unsolvable tension with the board. Critics abounded within the district and community, though he arguably left schools themselves in better shape than he found them. Hopes can say the same thing, but has his critics as well. He survived a tough election cycle two years ago, and those who worked hard unsuccessfully to unseat him still live here and likely won’t welcome accruing more power.

Personally, from my own conversation with Hines this week, there’s also a chance he may take an interim tenure to prove he would also make a good permanent choice. That will bring interesting community conversation as well, I’m sure.

I’ve seen politicians hired into administrative roles before, but truthfully, it’s more common to see internal promotions, like Coryea or Sarasota City Manager Marlon Brown, or hires from outside the area. It will be a rare process to see debate over a number of known quantities with their own reputations in the region.

One another important note. Hopes today feels there could be an overlap in time as administrator. The Ethics Commission has apparently already said that’s okay as far as the law. But Commissioners, should they pick Hopes as a permanent administrator, should ask he resign his post and make a choice. The School Board and County Commission interface often, sometimes with competing agendas, on everything from growth management to taxes and impact fees. Elected officials report first to their constituency. An administrator needs his loyalty to be to the agenda of his seven commissioners to implement their policy decisions absent any other pressure.

Jacob Ogles is contributing senior editor for SRQ MEDIA.


Phot: Scott Hopes, Charles Hines, Rick Mills

[Higher Education]  New College Educates Florida's Entrepreneurs
Donal O'Shea, doshea@ncf.edu

New College students have founded multiple successful companies in Florida—after they have graduated and, sometimes, even before.

Alumnus Norm Worthington, the founder and CEO of Star2Star, sold his Sarasota tech firm last week for $437 million. Maxeme Tuchman, the Miami-based co-founder and CEO of Caribu (an interactive video-calling platform), was named one of Inc. Magazine’s “Top 100 Female Founders for 2019.”

In the past 10 years, recent New College graduates have launched new companies like Stocking Savvy (environmental consulting) and Energize Dance Studio in Sarasota, Four Tens Digital (marketing and video content) and Meyer & Myers (a museum art services firm) in Tampa, and The Bureau (adventure games) in Orlando.

One of our current students, third-year Aleah Colón-Alfonso, has already built two companies while living on campus: Aleah Wares (a line of sweaters for patients undergoing IV treatments) and Stay Safely Away (wearable merchandise that allows customers with immune issues to “stay distantly social” during the pandemic).

So why do so many future entrepreneurs attend New College?

Statements like “New College taught me how to think” and “I learned critical-thinking skills at New College,” I find, are echoed the most among our successful alumni and students. And noticing that pattern got me, well, thinking, about what that really means. What is critical thinking, exactly? How does it translate into post-graduate prosperity?

Critical thinking is, in essence, the discipline of analyzing and synthesizing concepts—a practice that is best cultivated in small New College classrooms, where students connect one on one with brilliant professors who challenge them intellectually. Students learn to dissect and carefully solve complex problems, and this ultimately becomes an attribute that allows them to flourish in the job market.

When critical thinking is coupled with autonomy (taking charge of one’s own education by creating an individualized learning experience, which is a cornerstone of the New College model), students learn to be self-starters. The better we are at both thinking critically and learning to act, the more we can use our skills for the greater good—to change ourselves and, ultimately, change the world.

This kind of outside-the-box thinking is exemplified in the work of alumni like Worthington. He graduated from New College in 1982, went on to law school, taught himself programming, launched several software companies and became a venture capitalist. He started his newly sold business, Star2Star (a cloud communications services and software firm), in his Sarasota garage in 2006 and employed multiple New College graduates.

“If I’d gone to a more conventional school, I don’t know if this entrepreneurial urge of mine could have taken root and flowered,” Worthington says.

Entrepreneurial urges are always taking root at New College. Tuchman helped develop Caribu, which has been such a huge hit that it was named an Apple “Best of 2020” app, made Fast Company’s list of “World-Changing Ideas” in 2019, was one of TIME Magazine’s “Best Inventions 2019,” and was singled out as one of the “Top Ten EdTech Companies to Watch” in Forbes.

“The thing that New College teaches you is to really advocate for yourself, to think about your college career with a holistic approach, and to take risks,” Tuchman says. “I wouldn’t have had that agency elsewhere. I wouldn’t have taken as much ownership of my education elsewhere.”

Through her work, Tuchman is teaching the next generation of students to think and learn. And it was her time at New College (before she went on to Harvard) that laid the foundation for her own exceptional growth of the mind.

Recent alumna and self-starter Erin Crobons opened Energize Dance Studio in Sarasota in September, shortly after graduating and in the middle of a pandemic.

“I love New College for the very reason that I had the flexibility to study two completely different subjects: psychology and math. I used my math knowledge to understand the financial side of opening a business, and the psychology knowledge to better communicate with customers and dancers,” Crobons says. “I don’t think I would have gotten that foundation elsewhere.”

Crobons, Tuchman, Worthington, Colón-Alfonso and numerous other New College students have used their critical-thinking skills to thrive even in the most uncertain of economic times.

New College instilled in them resilience, resourcefulness and an ability to think through any challenge. I believe this is the magic of New College. And I know our alumni agree.

Dr. Donal O’Shea is president of New College of Florida. 

Photos: Norm Worthington, Maxeme Tuchman

[In This Issue]  Young & Driven

These entrepreneurs are showing Gen Z'ers what it's like to be resourceful regardless of the circumstances. 

Click here to read the full article from SRQ's February 2021 edition.

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: Virtual: SaraSolo WinterFest: An Evening With Gwendolyn? , February 9 – February 13, 7pm, 8:15pm, 3:15pm

An Evening With Gwendolyn? premieres on February 9 and will play on February 11 and February 13. The performance was conceived and performed by Eileen Earnest, written by Edgar Allan Poe. Gwendolyn Crosley, wife of inventor Powel Crosley, thoroughly enjoyed last night's séance. It's a shame she didn't get to speak with her favorite author, Edgar Allan Poe. She did make contact with an enigmatic friend of his, Sarah Royster. Alas, the encounter was brief and Gwendolyn returned home alone. Or did she? Eileen is an actor, improviser, and singer based in Cincinnati, Ohio. She is a member of OTRimprov (Citybeat Magazine's Best Improv Troupe 2014-2020) and ComedySportz Cincinnati, a Red Nose Doc for Healthy Humor Inc (Cincinnati Children's Hospital), a detective with Cincinnati Dinner Detective, and 50% of the comedy team, Two Sketchy Dames. In 2019, she became the Associate Artistic Director of Powel Crosley Theatre in Sarasota, FL.

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: Virtual: SaraSolo WinterFest: As Live As It Gets These Days , February 9 – February 13, 8:15pm and 7pm

As Live As It Gets These Days will play on February 9, 12 and 13. It was conceived and performed by Stevie Coyle. Songs, tunes and stories. Stevie Is proud as Punch to be returning to the SaraSolo Festival, even though this time he will be much smaller and much, much flatter. Grammar school spelling bee champ, altar boy, ardent Catholic, Ventures fan, guitarist, complicit in Folk Masses, high school drama freak, senior class vice president, seminarian, theatre/theology major, commercial & voiceover actor, theme park announcer, stage manager/actor, touring musician, guitar shop owner, stay-at-home entertainer.

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: Virtual: SaraSolo WinterFest: Box of Squirrels , February 10 – February 13, 7pm, 8:15pm, 2pm

Box of Squirrels will play on February 10, 12 and 13. It was written and performed by Dennis McSorley. The tale paints the picture of a young man and his serendipitous start in teaching. Doubt and fear and uncertainty open a door he discovers. Who he meets through it become life long connections to trust and learning from others shaping his life in wondrous ways. A native New Yorker based in Vermont, he's been doing theater and storytelling over 20 years, even fooling the Brighton Fringe Festival UK into a Best Actor Nomination. His three solo works have been performed in Solo Festivals in NYC, Prague, Providence RI, Waterbury VT and SaraSolo! 'Typhoon of Tenderness' was cited for excellence in Prague in 2016 and received the "Best Drama" nod at The 2019 SaraSolo Festival.

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: Virtual: SaraSolo WinterFest: Between Two Truths , February 10 – February 13, 7pm and 8:15pm

Between Two Truths will play on February 10, 11 and 13. It was written and performed by Gabriel Ortiz directed by Bob Vernon. After the death of Trayvon Martin, a drama teacher at an at-risk high school works with a group of students to help them create theatre out of their pain. The line between fiction and reality becomes blurred as they each battle to confront their own prejudice and hidden bias. Gabe is a proud father, a professional actor, a Vice Principal and a member of the Actors Equity Association. His theatrical work has been seen on local and national stages, and he is the co-host of PBS/WEDU’s Arts Plus. Originally from Los Angeles, California, he has a B.A. in Theater Arts from Cal State Northridge and an M.F.A. in Acting from Penn State University.

[SOON]  DANCE: Virtual: Sarasota Contemporary Dance: Gravity and Levity , February 12 – February 13, 7:30pm

In-Studio Performance Series Gravity and Levity Written and Performed by Eliza Ladd live stream on February 12, 2021 at 7:30pm and catch it again for a live broadcast recording on February 13th, 2021 at 7:30pm. t took 400 million years to go from quadruped to biped, and now this? How to move, how to eat, how to fly — join a very particular creature on a shape shifting journey to die for. Tickets: Choose What You Pay, $5, $10, or $15. Keeping in the spirit of creating opportunities for artists in various stages of their creative process, In-Studio Performance Series is a 2-4 week residency, providing artists access to SCD studio home and its resources. At the end of the 2-4 week residency, there will be a live streamed performance followed by Q& A with the SCD director and artists. Please join us this month to see Eliza Ladd, long-time collaborator with SCD. All Ticket purchases close one hour before each show.

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: Van Wezel: Audra McDonald , February 13, 8pm

This performance will take place at 8pm on February 23, 2021. Audra McDonald is unparalleled in the breadth and versatility of her artistry as both a singer and an actor. The winner of a record-breaking six Tony Awards, two Grammy Awards and an Emmy Award, she received a 2015 National Medal of Arts from President Barack Obama and was also named one of Time magazine's 100 most influential people that year. Tony-winning performances include Carousel, Master Class, Ragtime, A Raisin in the Sun, The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess and Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill - which served as the vehicle for her Olivier-nominated 2017 West End debut. She can currently be seen as Liz Lawrence on CBS All Access's The Good Fight. Recent film credits include Ricki and the Flash, Disney's live-action Beauty and the Beast, the movie-musical Hello Again, and MGM's forthcoming Aretha Franklin biopic, Respect. The Juilliard-trained soprano's latest solo album, Sing Happy, was recorded live with the New York Philharmonic for Decca Gold.

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: Urbanite Theatre: Outdoor Reading Series: Sam & Lizzie , February 13 – February 14, 5pm and 7:30pm, 6pm

Sam & Lizzie by Emily Kaczmerak and directed by Summer Dawn Wallace will be read February 13 at 5pm and 7:30pm at Hermitage Artist Retreat and February 14 at 6pm at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, Downtown Campus. Classmates Sam and Lizzie have their first playdate on 9/11, co-creating an imaginary, fanciful queendom in order to make sense of the day. Over the next twenty years, the game recurs at startling intervals as the two women navigate their fierce, fraught, electric friendship. In collaboration with the Hermitage Artist Retreat.

[SOON]  FOOD: Valentine's Jazz Brunch , February 14, 10am-2pm

Join Hamlet’s Eatery and Cornerstone & Company Mobile Bar for a lovely Valentine’s Day Jazz Brunch on Sunday, February 14 from 10am to 2pm. Located in the outdoor courtyard of The Bazaar on Apricot & Lime at 821 Apricot Avenue. Hamlet’s menu options will include both traditional and vegan dishes from building your own omelets with fresh organic eggs to tofu scrambles. Cornerstone & Company will be bringing their vintage 1940’s tap bike to offer delicious handcrafted cocktails. Starting at 10:30am until 1:30pm, enjoy live jazz music featuring Nancy Pastore and Judi Glover. Together these talented women will entertain you and make your Valentine’s even sweeter. Plenty of room to social distance and seating under a covered patio.

[SOON]  FILM: The Ringling: The Blood Is At The Doorstep , February 14, 6:30pm

After Dontre Hamilton is shot 14 times and killed by a Milwaukee police officer, his family embarks on a quest for answers, justice and reform. Filmed over the course of three years in the direct aftermath of Dontre's death, this intimate verite documentary follows Nate and his family as they struggle to find answers and challenge a criminal justice system stacked against them. Maria Hamilton, founder of Mothers for Justice United and mother of Dontre Hamilton, WHO was murdered on April 30, 2014 by the Milwaukee police will be available on zoom following the film for a short discussion and Q&A. This program will take outside in the Benfer Courtyard on February 14 at 6:30pm, located just outside of the Kotler-Coville Glass Pavilion. Tickets will be available starting 30 days prior to the screening date. Available seating will be marked to ensure social distancing. Due to rising COVID cases and safety concerns this event is subject to cancellation. Ticket holders will be notified and refunded if the screening is canceled. Tickets are $15 for non-members, $13.50 for members and $10 for students.

[SOON]  FESTIVAL: Guerrilla Art Market , February 13, 5pm-10pm

A Burg favorite, local art market kicks back off Saturday, February 13 from 5pm to 10pm at Bayboro Brewing at 2390 5th Avenue South in St. Petersburg. Bayboro Brewing is right on the ArtWalk trail so be sure to stop in as you make the rounds. The Guerrilla Art Market presents the best in approachable and original local art with the freshest emerging artists in the Tampa Bay area. The market will feature individual artist exhibits, food from M-N-M BBQ and live music from Quaid Bastian aka Day Labor. Get into St. Pete’s local culture and buy original work by many artists whose creations can be seen around town on the walls and streets of St. Pete. Artists working in all 2D and 3D media are encouraged to apply for upcoming markets. There is no cost to participate. Spaces are limited and selected artists will be notified no later than two weeks before each event. For artist submissions, please send a brief bio and work samples to guerrillaartmarket@gmail.com.

[SOON]  FOOD: Vegan Valentine , February 13

The day before Valentine's Day, The Bazaar on Apricot & Lime welcomes VEGAN-focused vendors to the outside courtyard for a unique pop-up market. Come learn more about being vegan, listen to live music, and pick up some last-minute gifts for your loved ones. Come hug the adorable rescues from Florida Skunk Recuse and meet these Participating vendors including Lelu Coffee, Little Sweet Vegan, Catalyst Creamery, Mad Wolfe Designs, Arbonne, Dharma Dog, Humble Honey and Navi Brand. Hamlet's Eatery will be open for lunch as well as the 25+ vendors inside The Bazaar. Live Music by Sabrina McClenithan The event is outside and free to attend. Located at 821 Apricot Avenue.

SRQ Media Group

SRQ DAILY is produced by SRQ | The Magazine. Note: The views and opinions expressed in the Saturday Perspectives Edition and in the Letters department of SRQ DAILY are those of the author(s) and do not imply endorsement by SRQ Media. Senior Editor Jacob Ogles edits the Saturday Perspective Edition, Letters and Guest Contributor columns.In the CocoTele department, SRQ DAILY is providing excerpts from news releases as a public service. Reference to any specific product or entity does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation by SRQ DAILY. The views expressed by individuals are their own and their appearance in this section does not imply an endorsement of them or any entity they represent. For rates on SRQ DAILY banner advertising and sponsored content opportunities, please contact Ashley Ryan Cannon at 941-365-7702 x211 or via email

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