Board of Advisors | Collaborator Researchers
The Better Universe and Citizens initiative leads in emerging innovative approaches to STEM education, use of technologies, and discoveries. The team is comprised of a Nobel Prize recipient, renowned experts in different fields, university faculty and teachers.
Dr. Tawainga Katsvairo
Dr. Tawainga Katsvairo uniquely combines expertise in K-12 STEM education, renewable energy and environmental conservation.

Katsvairo works with schools in the Florida Panhandle where he is widely recognized for his dedication to K-12 STEM education and improvements in school grades. Katsvairo researches on use of technology to improve STEM education. Katsvairo has been instrumental in initiating and working with K-12 STEM academies in North Florida. He gives guest lectures and seminars to universities on renewable energy and environmental conservation. Katsvairo has also appeared on TV, newspapers and several magazines as an expert in renewable energy.

Author of over 70 publications, Tawainga Katsvairo earned his M.Sc. from Michigan State University and a Ph.D. from Cornell University. Tawainga is also a board member of the Tallahassee Symphony Society.

Dr. Penny Gilmer

Dr. Penny J. Gilmer, a biochemist and science educator, is BUC Technologies Senior Education Officer and also sits on the Advisory Board. Gilmer is part of two teams, GEOSET and PAEC, that both received national awards in technology. Using the GEOSET program, Gilmer taught 118 rural teachers of grades 3-12 in northern Florida through the Internet. A total of 89 of these same teachers conducted scientific research in the following semester, resulting in an award winning educational documentary with Panhandle Area Educational Consortium (PAEC) on the program and color-printed monograph on their scientific research, entitled, Real Science in the Real World: Doing, Learning, & TEACHING! The GEOSET team won the 2009 Rich Media Impact Award in Global Reach from Sonic Foundry. Also the PAEC team won the 2008 Platinum Best-of-Show Aurora Award for Educational Documentary for the DVD on the Sc:iii program, entitled, Teachers Doing Real Science in the Real World. Glimer is co-editor of a book in press on K-12 science and mathematics education.

Gilmer earned her PhD in Biochemistry from University of California, Berkeley, and her DScEd from Curtin University of Technology. Her B. A. was in Chemistry from Douglass College and M.A. in Organic Chemistry from Bryn Mawr College.

Dr. Fanchon Felice Funk
Dr. Fanchon Felice Funk, is Professor Emerita of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, College of Education at Florida State University. She brings to BUC over 30 years of management of education initiatives at K-12 and college levels.

Dr. Funk has served in several roles including serving as Associate Director for the Center for Performance Technology, Director of Clinical Education for the College of Education and University, Director of Special Programs for Community College and Interinstitutional Relations for Community Colleges and Director of Alumni Affairs for the College of Education. She co-designed two courses that were offered by THE WALT DISNEY WORLD CO. and The Florida State University. These two courses, "Communicating, Disney Style: Adding Magic to the Classroom” and "Marketing Positive Images About Schools" attracted over 16,000 educators throughout the world.

Dr. Funk is a recipient of the President's Excellence in Teaching Award and Professor of the Year at the Florida State. She was recognized by the National Association of Teacher Educators as "one of 70 distinguished leaders in teacher education "in the nation and is the recipient of the 2004 ATE Distinguished Member Award – the Association’s highest award. She was selected as the inaugural recipient of the prestigious Roy L. Lauter Award for Distinguished Service Award from the Southeastern Regional Association of Teacher Educators (2004). The Florida Association of Teacher Educators honored Dr. Funk through the establishment of the FATE Fanchon F. Funk Scholars Award which is awarded annually to undergraduate teacher education students.

The President of the United States, George H.W. Bush, recognized Dr. Funk as a "Point of Light" for her volunteer work with Tennis With a Different Swing, Inc. in 1991. She received “The Governor’s Presidential Daily Point of Light” Award for groundbreaking research with captive swans in 2005.

She has co-authored nine books and has written numerous articles for professional journals. She has also presented professional programs for public and private organizations in more than 25 states, the Caribbean, South Africa and Europe.

Dr. Funk completed two undergraduate degrees from Western Carolina University, a B.S. in Biology and a B.S. in Education. She has a Masters Degree in Biology and Education from Appalachian State University and a doctoral degree in Curriculum and Instruction, with collateral areas in Higher Education and Public Health, at the University of Tennessee/Knoxville.

Mr. George James

Mr. George James comes to BUC Technologies as a veteran educator and educational administrator. He brings over 30 years of experience as an elementary and high school principal, Program Specialist with the Florida Department of Education, and Director of Long-Range Planning with Miami-Dade Public Schools. Mr. James coordinated planning and programming activities for a 1.5 billion dollar school bond construction program in Detroit, MI, served as Educational Team Lead for FEMA in New Orleans, LA following hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

With a sincere desire to affect the academic, social and spiritual growth of students at the K-12 level, Mr. James served as Principal/Director of Foundation Christian Academy in Fairburn, GA for three years. He subsequently relocated to Tallahassee, Fl and accepted the interim position of Headmaster, Middle School Division, at Bethel Christian Academy.

Mr. James is a graduate of Alabama State University, Florida A& M University and Florida State University with degrees in Music Education and Music Therapy, Administration/ Supervision and Educational Leadership.

Mr. Hugh Connerty
Mr. Hugh Connerty, Jr. is an extremely successful and experienced entrepreneur who stands in his own class as a visionary. He is the President of Stokes Land Group. Prior to joining the Stokes organization, Connerty completed a successful 25-year career in the restaurant industry. Connerty is the founder of Longhorn Steakhouse and held the original franchisee of the Outback Steakhouse Company. From 1995 to 2002, he was the President and General Partner of Outback Steakhouse International, responsible for developing the Outback brand internationally. Connerty served in the United States Army for 6-1/2 years, earning the rank of Captain before changing careers. Connerty continues to be a visionary and focused leader.

Connerty is a giving philanthropist supporting several non-profit organizations throughout the US and South Africa. For the past 10 years, he has served on the President's Council of the Betty Ford Center. He is also a member of the Advisory Board of the Goizueta School of Business at Emory University. Connerty, is also the chairperson of Green Frontiers Energy Group, a major international renewable energy group.
Dr. Oghenekome Onokpiser
Dr. Oghenekome Onokpise, Professor and Associate Dean in the College of Agriculture at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical Engineering (FAMU) leads the Renewable Energy Group at FAMU and is actively involved in more than eight renewable energy projects. He has more than 30 years teaching experience at the elementary, secondary, post secondary and university levels, and research experience in the US and abroad. Onokpise is currently involved in outreach activities to K-12 students across the Panhandle of Florida. In addition to his present role at FAMU, Onokpise has held director, coordinator, and team leader positions in academics, research and international programs.

Onokpise has received numerous professional awards and recognitions including Advanced Teacher of the Year, Grantsmanship Award, German Faculty Exchange Fellowship, Chair, Agriculture and Natural Resources Science Section of the Florida Academy of Sciences, Stephen Spurr Award for contributions to forestry in Florida, and Nominated for the Evans-Allen Outstanding Research Scientist Award.

Onokpise earned his Ph.D. in Tree Breeding and Forest Genetics from Iowa State University and M.S. from University of Guelph, Guelph, Canada.
Dr. Oghenekome Onokpiser
Dr. Victor Sampson
Dr. Victor Sampson is an Assistant Professor of Science Education in the School of Teacher Education (STE) at Florida State University.  He earned his Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction with a concentration in Science Education in 2007 from Arizona State University. He specializes in argumentation, assessment, instructional design, and professional development in science education.

The focal point of Sampson's research is on how students engage in argumentation in the context of science and how to make this type of activity more productive in the classroom. His current work focuses on the ways students support and evaluate ideas through discussion and writing in the context of science, group and individual meaning making during argumentation, the development of innovative instructional materials and strategies that emphasize argumentation as part of the doing, teaching, and learning of science and how teachers' knowledge and beliefs about science, learning, and science teaching affect how they teach.

Dr. Sampson teaches both undergraduate and graduate level courses in science education at Florida State University. His teaching philosophy is rooted in theories of learning that stress the importance of experience, interaction with others, the evaluation of alternative ideas, and metacognition. As a result, his courses tend to engage students in cycles of inquiry, reading, discussion, and a project that requires the application of new ideas and principles to authentic problems.

Sampson has received several awards for his scholarship and for his teaching including winning the prestigious Best Dissertation Award from the National Association for Research in Science Teaching in 2008.
Dr. Victor Sampson
Dr. Cathy Cavanaugh
Dr. Cathy Cavanaugh is an Associate Professor, University of  Florida, College of Education at the University of Florida. Her most recent research has included a study of technology implementation in thousands of classrooms over the past three years, and study of K-12 online learning. She taught secondary science for 14 years before becoming a university faculty member. During that time, Cavanaugh did instructional design work for the US Department of Energy, developing technology transfer materials for K-12 classrooms.

Cavanaugh holds a PhD in Educational Technology from the University of South Florida and a MEd. in Science Education from University of Central Florida.
Dr. Cathy Cavanaugh
Mr. Paul Edmond
Mr. Paul Edmond is solution-based Information Technologies (IT) professional who has worked in the IT industry for over 20 years. He brings to BUC Technologies both breadth and depth in IT, and has been engaged with the inception, planning, design, development, and the ultimate creation of software applications. Edmond is a programmer who is knowledgeable in numerous programming languages, and relational databases. Previously, Edmond worked on a range of projects including developing software applications to reduce impacts of humans on ecosystems.

In addition to experiences in private industry, Edmond has also worked for state agencies and non-profit organizations. Edmond holds a BA in Computer Science and Mathematics from Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville.
Mr. Paul Edmond
Mr. Christopher Kroll, PMP
Mr. Christopher Kroll is a collaborative leader with excellent problem solving skills and ability to effectively communicate complex technical information to non-technical audiences. His proven success in motivating project teams to complete complex projects while focusing on budget and timeline constraints guides the BUC Technologies IT projects. Kroll led a $7.4 million software development effort as Deputy Project manager at the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Previously Kroll performed implementation support for replacing five systems at the AT&T/BellSouth datacenters in Charlotte and Birmingham resulting in over $20 million in revenue. He has led the implementation for the installation of a $4 million ClearPath HMP IX5600 at the Florida Department of Management Services. Kroll has developed and executed both hardware and software implementation plans to migrate from a Unisys 1100/90 to 2200/622 at the Department of Management Services generating $4.5 million in revenue. Kroll oversees the development of BUC Technologies IT projects.

Kroll holds a BS in Civil Engineering from Bluefield State College. Kroll graduated magna cum laude, Project Management Professional from Project Management Institute.
Mr. Chris Kroll, PMP
Mr. Reginald James, Superintendent
Gadsden County School Board is committed to a "No Excuses" policy when it comes to educating the students within the schools. BUC Technologies identifies with Gadsden County School's mission statement of "Building a Brighter Future as We Prepare Students for Success in Life" signifying their promise to provide the finest education possible for all students.

Gadsden County School Board is committed to the BUC Technologies project.

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