Today we’d like to introduce you to Arlene Cameron-Lloyd.
Hi Arlene, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I arrived in Jacksonville, FL. by way of Brooklyn, NY after emigrating from Georgetown, Guyana.
After earning a degree in Sociology (1995) and a Master’s Degree in Arts in Teaching in Elementary Education (1999) from Jacksonville University, I became a passionate educator who continually seeks to aid students in overcoming barriers that affect their learning.
I completed my Gifted Certification to help me understand my son Tristan better. He was a very gifted artist and writer but despised academic areas because he felt the curriculum did not address his cultural identity or his other gifts. Tristan died in 2004 at the age of 19 after being involved in a car accident.
Ten years later, I launched Tristan’s Acceleration Academy, Inc., a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization that provides hands-on educational enrichment for Gifted and Talented students through afterschool programs, online programming, and Summer Enrichment Programs. Students participate in leadership programs, civic engagement opportunities, youth entrepreneurship, and STEAM-based workshops led by local professionals.
After recognizing, the need for more historical and cultural exposure I established Dreamscapes904 Cruise & Travel, which provides sponsorships for participating students to engage in educational travel opportunities. We have taken students to Washington, D.C, Sapelo Island, The Whitney Plantation, Savannah, and many other local historical sites.
Currently, Tristan’s Acceleration Academy, Inc. is partnering with other local organizations to create an urban garden/green space for students at a local elementary school.
We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
It has not been a smooth road. The business has been an evolving journey. When we started in 2014 our vision was very different.
I have encountered lots of “NO’s” when applying for funding which led to some serious financial struggles. Every year the obstacles taught me lessons. There were times I wanted to just give up but family and friends encouraged my endeavors.
As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
I have been a gifted educator in Duval County Schools for over 25 years and by using innovative strategies and exploratory activities I have been able to improve both the academic and gifted abilities of my students.
I am the coordinator for school-wide student productions that include Multicultural Holiday programs, Black History Month Showcases, Student/Staff Talent Shows, and the Multicultural Festival. I am also an enthusiastic sponsor of the Step Team and a Robotics Club.
I am proud of all of these programs which allow my students to explore their own interests and cultural diversity. The thing that sets me apart from others is my ability to understand and relate to the needs of my students.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
I truly enjoy creating opportunities that would be otherwise unavailable for my students. I look forward to this program growing so I am able to serve more families.
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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