Calendar of Events

Welcome W.C. Gentry, School Board Chair

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Lunch begins at Noon - Meeting begins at 12:30 pm

Meet William C. (W.C.) Gentry

W.C. Gentry and his wife Susan are graduates of the Duval County public school system.  Before entering law school, Mr. Gentry taught and coached high school in Jacksonville.  He received his Juris Doctorate magna cum laude from the University of Florida College of Law in 1971 and for over thirty  years has handled trials and appeals in complex litigation, including constitutional issues. Mr. Gentry has been named one of America’s Leading Trial Lawyers by several national and state publications and has been profiled by Florida Trend Magazine as one of Florida’s “Top Trial Lawyers”.  From 1995-1998, he was principally involved in representing the State of Florida in landmark litigation against the Tobacco Industry.  Since that time, he has primarily devoted his time to children’s and education issues.  From 2004 to 2007, he served as pro bono counsel to the Florida Senate in successfully defending legal challenges to education appropriations under the Florida Education Finance Program (FEFP) and worked with legislative leaders and staff in addressing co-teaching and class size reduction issues. 

In 2001, Mr. Gentry became a founding director and later served as Chair of the Schultz Center for Teaching and Leadership which is a public-private partnership dedicated to providing high quality, standards based professional development for teachers and leadership training for principals and aspiring leaders.  He was appointed by Governor Jeb Bush to the State of Florida Council on Education Policy, Research and Improvement  (CEPRI) in 2002 and served as Chairman, 2004-06.  He has been a member of the Board of the Early Learning Coalition of Duval since 2006 and has served on the Executive Committee and as Vice Chair of that organization.  In December 2007, Mr. Gentry was appointed by the Mayor of Jacksonville to Chair the Education Subcommittee of the "Jacksonville Journey" to deal with crime and community issues.  He was subsequently appointed to serve on the Jacksonville Journey Oversight Committee, on which he continues to serve.  Mr. Gentry was appointed by Governor Crist to the Florida Race to the Top Working Group in April 2010, was elected Vice Chair and assisted that group in crafting an MOU among education stakeholders which permitted the State of Florida to submit a successful application for the second round of Race to the Top federal funding.  In June 2010, he was appointed to the State of Florida Task Force on Excellent Teaching and served as Vice Chairman of that task force which studied and made recommendations regarding teacher assessment and evaluation under the Race to the Top grant. 

Mr. Gentry taught at the University of Florida College of Law in 2000.  He is a past Chairman of the Board of Trustees, University of Florida College of Law (2005-07).  In November 2008, Mr. Gentry ran for and was elected to the Duval County School Board and presently serves as Chairman of the Board.  He is a member of the Florida School Boards Association and Chairman of its committee to analyze and identify the elements of a quality education and review state budgetary issues.

Mark Your Calendar October 25th Meeting Sports Theme

Wear your team colors to the October 25th meeting.  Dan Hicken and Chris Porter will be at the meeting to talk about the Georgia/Florida game.  Also "A Challenge" is being issued by Maury Pilver.   All retired or semi-retired members, you are being challenged to bring a guest (the person who took your place when you retired or the person who may be taking your place once you retire) to lunch on October 25th.  The sports theme day is a perfect time to invite others to share in good fellowship!   So accept the challenge and bring a guest.

Blood Drive

A call to service.  Please participate in the Blood Drive on October 11th.  The Blood Alliance provides a safe and adequate blood supply to the regions it serves and is a member of America's Blood Centers, a national network of independent community blood centers responsible for nearly half of the nation's blood supply.

Rotary Literacy Project

"Books are the treasured wealth of the world and the fit inheritance of generations and nations."  Henry David Thoreau

During the month of October, the Rotary Club of South Jacksonville is partnering with Books A Go Go to provide books to disadvantaged children.  A box for donations will be near the entrance of our meeting area each week in October.  New or gently used books are appreciated.  Monetary gifts are also welcome.

Service Project for Rotary Youth Exchange

The Fall Weekend for the Rotary Youth Exchange includes a service project.  The weekend of October 22nd they will be packaging toiletries for a shelter in St. Augustine. The St. Augustine shelter helps women and children who are victims of violence by giving them temporary housing and help finding permanent places to live so that they no longer are abused and beaten.  Many of the women and children escape from abusive situations with no clothes, money or anything but what they are wearing.  They need help with many things, including basic necessities.

We can help by donating toiletries such as shampoo, soap, lotion, hair products and sanitizer for these victims.  They can be full sized or the products provided in hotels as long as they are unopened.