The Literacy Council Gulf Coast announces that Sue Schad will retire after seventeen years of dedicated service to the organization, and Mr. Dave Crawford has been appointed to serve as the new Executive Director. 

Sue Schad served a vital role in the growth and success of the Literacy Council over nearly two decades. Schad’s leadership, vision, and unwavering commitment was instrumental in carrying out the mission of the organization to serve people looking to improve their English language skills, obtain their GED or become a United States Citizen. 

Jeremy Fioravanti, President – Commercial Banking, Florida South for Bank OZK and Literacy Council Gulf Coast Chairman shared his appreciation for the nearly two decades of leadership from Schad.  

“Leadership, they say, truly shines when tested by adversity,” said Jeremy. “Reflecting on Sue’s journey, it’s undeniable that she steered our organization to become one of the nation’s premier non-governmental, nonprofit literacy providers, serving for nearly two decades. However, what truly stands out is her exceptional leadership during the trying times, navigating us through a financial crisis in 2010 and a global health crisis roughly a decade later. To say that Sue led with distinction would be an understatement. The board of directors is profoundly proud of her exemplary service and deeply grateful for her steadfast commitment to advancing our mission in southwest Florida.” 

“I am immensely grateful for the opportunity to have led the Literacy Council Gulf Coast. It has been an incredible journey filled with challenges, successes, and memorable moments,” shared Schad. “I have the utmost confidence in Dave Crawford’s ability to take the reins and continue to lead the organization forward. I am excited to see how literacy education thrives under his leadership.” 

Dave Crawford, who has served as a public school educator and leader for the past seventeen years in Lee County, brings a wealth of experience and a deep understanding of education to the role of executive director.  

Dave graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business and Finance in 1991 from Teesside University in Middlesbrough, United Kingdom while growing up living abroad. After graduation, Dave returned to the United States to enlist in the United States Army where he became a Distinguished Honor Graduate of the United States Army Leadership School in 1996 and served as Team Leader for the 1st Ranger Battalion (1993-1997) before transitioning to work in sales and technology at Gartner.  

 After working several years in the corporate sector, Dave enrolled at Florida Gulf Coast University in 2003 to pursue his passion for teaching. He earned his Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies in 2005 and Master of Arts in Elementary Education from Florida Gulf Coast University in 2007.  

Dave went on to work both inside and outside of the classroom as an educator and leader. He served as a third grade teacher, a fifth grade teacher, and then primary specialist at Orange River Elementary School from 2006-2013 and then fifth grade teacher, STEM Teacher (K-5), and eventually Dean at Pinewoods Elementary School from 2013-2018. While serving as Dean at Pinewoods Elementary, Crawford earned his second post-graduate degree from Grand Canyon University in 2015 (M.Ed. In Educational Leadership) to enhance his experience and sharpen his leadership skills. 

Most recently Dave served as Assistant Principal, Operations & Grades 3-5 at Tortuga Preserve Elementary for the past five years. He holds certifications in Educational Leadership (K-12), Elementary Education (Grades K-6), and an English Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) Endorsement. During his service in public education, Dave was entrusted with collaborating with stakeholders to create a school-wide safety plan, evaluate reading intervention programs to best fit student needs, present a school-wide improvement plan to the Lee County School Board, and analyze school data for continuous improvement. 

“I am honored to be entrusted with the responsibility of leading Literacy Council Gulf Coast into its next chapter of service in our community,” said Crawford. “I am excited about the opportunities ahead, and I look forward to working closely with our board of directors, team, and tutors to build on the strong foundation established by Sue.” 

“Dave is a dynamic leader and educator with a passion for helping people,” shared Fioravanti. “I am excited to see him step into this position and continue to lead for literacy in our community. The board of directors for the Literacy Council Gulf Coast wishes to express its deepest appreciation to Sue for her exceptional leadership and wishes her a fulfilling and well-deserved retirement. The Council also extends a warm welcome to Dave Crawford and looks forward to a bright and successful future under his leadership.” 

Crawford begins on September 18, 2023. Sue Schad will continue to serve to facilitate the transition through mid-November 2023.