The Coalition for Creating and Sustaining Innovative Schools exists to support and encourage transformative models of education, whether in schools or other types of learning environments.
The purpose of the Coalition is two-fold:
- To conduct, compile and disseminate research on starting and sustaining innovative schools and learning environments.
- To provide consultations and assistance to support the development of new schools, schools in transition and existing innovative schools, and learning environments.
To provide research-based support for new, existing or transitioning schools and learning environments to promote innovative approaches for facilitating students' optimal learning and development.
- Conduct research on innovative schools and learning environments and what is involved in creating and sustaining them.
- Provide technical assistance to those interested in the difficult process of opening a new school or transitioning a school/learning environment to a new paradigm of learning, or sustaining existing innovations in schools and learning environments, whether the schools be private, public, pilot, lab, or charter or learning environments, such as science centers, museums, non-profit education centers, and more.
- Serve as a research repository on school change, school models and innovative schools and learning environments, with a focus on showcasing best practices which will include creating and housing technical assistance guides for those interested in starting and sustaining innovative schools and learning environments.
- Communicate relevant research and news concerning innovative schools and education. This will include dissemination via a strong social media presence (Blog, Twitter, Facebook), conference attendance and presentations, and publications in both academic and practitioner-oriented outlets as well as interactive webinars.
- Connect educational organizations with UCF students to facilitate research that benefits both the organization and the student, thereby generating research opportunities for UCF undergraduate and graduate students
To help ensure that schools/learning environments that support students' optimal learning and development exist in every community in the U.S.
Tomas Jimenez-Eliaeson is the Design Principal for the Charlotte Community Practice Group, and a Partner at Little, an industry leading architecture and design firm with more than 400 professionals in six locations across the USA and China. He leads a team of architects and designers dedicated to educational, cultural and civic projects including academic institutions, cultural facilities, performing arts centers, and libraries.
Tomas is a member of the AIA, NCARB, A4LE, and is a LEED Accredited professional. Originally from Spain, Tomas received a Bachelor’s degree in Architecture from the University of Houston and a Master Degree in Architectural Design from the University of Texas at Austin.
Tomas is focused on projects that fuse typological redefinitions and environmentally conscious design with leading-edge technology and innovation. He is highly passionate about the future of education and has written about the Immersive Learningscape, an approach to the design of educational facilities that
respond to 21st century skills, innovation and trans-disciplinary collaboration. He is also researching the relationship and connectivity between learning and workplace in the future, and the role of Neuroscience and Wellness in the design of the Learning Ecosystem. He has presented at various National and International conferences, including the AIA National Convention, NEOCON World’s Trade Fair, A4LE International Conference, Innovate Conference in Brazil, and ASB Unplugged in India.
Michelle Nunez is the Principal and CEO of Galileo School for Gifted Learning, a high-performing, A-rated, and research-based K-8 public charter school in Seminole County, Florida. Galileo serves students who want to learn in a nurturing environment for gifted and talented students and those who want to learn in a gifted learning environment that will challenge and motivate them to pursue their passionate interests in service to others. Mrs. Nunez came to Galileo in 2012 after spending 7 years serving as an administrator at both Teague Middle School and Sanford Middle School. Prior to that, she was a high school Social Studies Teacher and coach of many sports at Colonial High School in Orlando, Florida. Mrs. Nunez is a graduate of UCF, receiving her Master's Degree in School Administration and a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology. In her spare time, Mrs. Nunez can be found running, biking, swimming, or hanging out with one of her amazing four children.
Sonn Sam, Ed. D is the Regional Director with Big Picture Learning, a national and international network of schools committed to activating the potential of schools, systems and education through student-driven, real-world learning. He has been an innovative educator for over 15 years serving in the capacity as teacher, principal and district lead. In alignment with BPL’s mission, Sonn has mastered and provides coaching around student-centered learning practices such as Personalization (Student Voice & Choice), Advisory Systems & Structures, Interest-Based Learning, Internship Program (Real World Learning) and Authentic Assessments (Exhibitions/Portfolios). As a current resident of central Florida, Sonn is passionate about helping his community reimagine what schools could be. In his downtime, he enjoys spending quality time with his beautiful wife and three children.
Michael Meechin is the Principal of the award-winning NeoCity Academy. Mr. Meechin has spent his career working with schools in Central Florida and metropolitan Atlanta. Mike serves on the Advisory Board for the Future of Educational Technology Conference, one of the largest technology conferences in North America. He also is a member of the State of Florida AVID Principals' Collaborative and is a Fellow of the Florida Department of Education Brian Dassler Leadership Academy. In 2018, Mr. Meechin was named the Florida Innovative Principal of the Year by the Florida Council of Instructional Technology Leaders.
Nancy Chrisman is the President and CEO of Emergent 121, a WBENC certified Woman Owned Small Business (WOSB) specializing in business optimization and leadership performance, based in Jacksonville, Florida. An accomplished senior executive and entrepreneur with national presence, Nancy brings over 25 years of successful strategic development and tactical leadership experience within the industrial, healthcare, and nonprofit sectors. Nancy serves as an instructor for two ICF accredited coaching schools and is continually developing new educational content for entrepreneurs and their teams. She is accredited by the International Coaching Federation (ICF) as a Professional Certified Coach (PCC) and as a Certified Higher Ground Leadership® Coach by the Secretan Center. Nancy is married to her wonderful husband; Eric and they are blessed with two beautiful children. When not spending time with her family, Nancy enjoys reading; singing; listening to a variety of music and supporting causes for which she holds a passion.
We also sponsor research and service internships between UCF graduate students and local schools or learning centers. Email us to receive a list of research or service requests from schools. Then, if one fits your interests, let us know, and complete the following Student-School Internship Agreement. We will let you know if your internship is approved as soon as possible. You can seek to get course credit for this with your program through classes on internships, independent studies or independent research. Contact your program coordinator to see if this experience will fit in with your program requirements.
Coalition faculty are available for consulting.
Coalition faculty and graduate students are available to conduct research that aligns with the CCSIS mission and vision. Contact us to discuss sponsored research and grants.
We also provide a service to our partner organizations where we invite our graduate students to work on select research proposals that we receive. In order to submit a proposal for consideration, complete this form.
Coalition faculty are available for professional development and training to schools, districts, and learning centers.
Coalition faculty are available to conduct workshops on a variety of topics.
The Coalition for Creating and Sustaining Innovative Schools is located on UCF’s main campus in Orlando.
College of Community Innovation and Education
12494 University Blvd
Orlando, FL 32816