Michaelle (Mickey) Valbrun-Pope, area director of school improvement for Broward County Public Schools (BCPS), has been honored with The Jim Moran Foundation Award for 2007 for her commitment to children, families and education. In recognition of her countless achievements and leadership, a $25,000 unrestricted grant from The Jim Moran Foundation (The Foundation) has been designated to the Broward Education Foundation (BEF) to support a fund established by Ms. Pope at the educational organization to provide families with financial support during crisis.
The Award, a bronze sculpture of a hand emerging from an open book next to a ladder, was commissioned by local artist George Gadson. It was presented to Ms. Pope by Jan Moran, The Foundation's Chairman and President, during a ceremony at The Foundation's offices in Deerfield Beach, Fla., on October 18. This year marked the first year that the Award was presented following the passing of Jim Moran last spring. "Mickey embodies the true spirit of The Jim Moran Foundation Award," said Jan Moran during the ceremony. "I know Jim would be proud that we honored someone of Mickey's passion and dedication with his namesake award. She is a remarkable lady and role model whose achievements have changed the lives and futures of so many children and families. Mickey is an inspiration to us all."
During the presentation, Ms. Pope shared her philosophy for educating children. "My belief has always been that a child cannot learn and cannot reach their educational goals until we begin to look at the child within the family structure and the family within the larger society," she said. "Making sure the family is healthy and that the environment is nurturing and free from crisis supports the development of that child."
In addition to her work with the BEF, in her current position with the school district, Ms. Pope works closely with 18 school principals. She is also a certified educational consultant, a Region V leadership trainer for Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties and a state of Florida DETA (Digital Education Teacher Academy) certified educational leadership trainer. She served as principal of North Side Elementary School for seven years and was the first Haitian-American to hold this title in Broward County. Prior to her principalship, she worked as an assistant principal, a curriculum facilitator, and as a teacher for the BCPS and for the New York City Public School District.
Ms. Pope has also worked on many projects and initiatives towards the advancement of the Haitian community in South Florida, including the co-production of Haitian Creole in Ten Steps, a Haitian culture and language instructional program; and is the founding member of the Haitian Educational Association of Broward, a group which helped to shape educational policy for Haitian students. In addition to The Jim Moran Foundation Award, Mickey has been recognized for her service to the community with the 2004-2005 ACCLAIM Broward Principal of the Year and the Healthy Mothers- Healthy Babies of Broward County's Outstanding Mother of 2005.
The Jim Moran Foundation Award honors individuals who have an established history of giving back to their community through active service and personal commitment. The honoree(s) must exemplify the characteristics of the mission of The Foundation, reflect proven accomplishments that address real community needs and/or concerns and exhibit a spirit that inspires and encourages others to embrace civic and charitable responsibility in meeting the needs of their community. The award selection committee is comprised of the Governance Committee of The Jim Moran Foundation.