If you wonder what kind of leaders will be among the next generation, you have nothing to fear when you look at Hernando County resident Raynee Meek. The seventeen-year-old high school Senior has definite ideas of where she wants to be and what she wants to achieve in the next year, ten years, and even further into the future.
Ms. Meek has already received two accolades in her high school career. She was elected President of Florida Future Educators of America (FFEA), a group that has counterparts throughout the country. Raynee also received the Anne Frank Humanitarian Award.
“As the FFEA State President, I am responsible for promoting the teaching career as a whole, assist in the planning process for the upcoming year’s conference, and deliver an address at the Florida Teacher of the Year Celebration,” Ms. Meek states.
She’s well-suited to the position. Raynee comes from a long line of educators, including her mother, aunts, grandmother, and great-grandmother.
“I have wanted to become a teacher since I was in Kindergarten, and when most kids would be playing outside, I was busy lesson-planning and grading assignments in my pretend classroom.”
Raynee is currently enrolled in River Ridge High School New Teacher Academy and was an integral part of its establishment five years ago. This is a program for aspiring educators which allows them to gain classroom experience before starting college.
“Our program provides service opportunities for high school students. They can earn dual enrollment college credits in Education courses; pass the General Knowledge Test, needed to become a certified teacher; and gain more than 500 hours of classroom experience,” explained Ms. Meek.
The biggest advantage of this program is that students can find out before they get too far in their college career whether or not teaching is right for them.
Ms. Meek will be attending the University of Central Florida and major in Elementary Education with a minor in Leadership. After graduating with her Bachelor’s Degree within the next two years, she plans on staying for her last two years of college to receive her Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership.
After that, her goal is to teach at the elementary level and, ultimately, go into Educational Advocacy. She feels that anyone advocating and making decisions for education needs to be in the classroom teaching for at least three years.
Besides her academic responsibilities and her duties as President of the FFEA, Raynee also runs a small business creating custom t-shirts, signs, makeup bags, and other items.
An honor she received recently was The Anne Frank Humanitarian Award bestowed on her by the Florida Holocaust Museum. Recipients of this accolade are student servants in the community who exemplify gratitude and who always put others before themselves.
Ms. Meek’s goals do not just encompass the next few years of her life. She aspires to become the Florida Commissioner of Education and eventually the United States Secretary of Education. She practices her philosophy of life: “No dream is too big; you just have to work for it.”
In naming the people she admires most, her top choice is the head of the New Teacher Academy, Mrs. Beth Hess.
“She teaches us the importance of expanding teaching outside of the four walls of the classroom.”
All the evidence points to the fact that Raynee Meek is following in the footsteps of her role model.