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Volusia County advocate honored by FEA

TALLAHASSEE — The Florida Education Association (FEA) has honored Vanessa Lee, a retired teacher and active community leader, with the FEA Mary McLeod Bethune Human Relations in Education Award, presented annually in recognition for outstanding leadership in the promotion of human and civil rights.

As a teacher working for Volusia County Schools from 1980 to 2015, Lee chose to serve students facing difficulties, from directing the Teen Parent Program for Volusia County Schools to working with students with disabilities. She supported students in any way she could, often using personal resources to help kids.

A longtime member of Volusia United Educators, she continues her community service to this day, serving on the local Central Labor Council and with the group Fighting Against Injustice Toward Harmony (FAITH), a coalition of congregations and direct-action organizations.

Through her work with the Central Labor Council, Lee’s advocacy for restorative justice in schools and support for needy families has impacted students, colleagues and her community. Her work with FAITH has helped to address the school-to-prison pipeline, affordable housing and other issues to improve the lives of those in her community.

“I have witnessed her dedication and her grit, firsthand. She is an inspiration and has dedicated her life to making this world a better place for everyone,” said Jessica Robillard, executive director of FAITH.

Lee was honored at the FEA Human and Civil Rights Awards Gala on Oct. 15 at the Rosen Centre Hotel in Orlando, where FEA held its annual Delegate Assembly.

The Mary McLeod Bethune Human Relations in Education Award was one of four statewide awards presented as part of the annual FEA Human and Civil Rights Gala.

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