Governor Rick Scott has reappointed Mark Turner and Teresa Martinez to the Polk State College District Board of Trustees for terms through May 2021. Turner has served on the Board since August 2011 and Martinez has served on the Board since August 2009. Turner is currently Board Chair, a position that Martinez has also held during her tenure. “I am thrilled about Chair Turner and Trustee Martinez’s reappointments and the opportunity to continue working closely with them to provide access to quality education in Polk County,” President Angela Garcia Falconetti said.
The District Board of Trustees is made up of members who are vested with oversight of all College policies, including matters related to programs, building, finances, and personnel. Florida’s governor appoints the members, who serve without compensation. All appointments are subject to Florida Senate confirmation.
Turner, a Winter Haven native and lawyer, is past president of the Polk State College Foundation and the Greater Winter Haven Area Chamber of Commerce. He has also held leadership roles with the Community Foundation of Greater Winter Haven, Girls Inc., Main Street Winter Haven, American Red Cross, and Habitat for Humanity.
“Chair Turner’s reappointment is a testament to his unwavering commitment to Polk State and the greater community,” Falconetti said. “His leadership continues to propel our institution forward toward a bright future filled with opportunities for our students and the residents of Polk County.”
Martinez, a Polk State alumna and native of Cuba, is president and founder of the Institute of Spanish Communication Inc. She has served on the board of the Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce, Central Florida Speech and Hearing Center, Imperial Symphony Orchestra, and the Hispanic Club of Lakeland. She is also a graduate of Leadership Lakeland and Leadership Polk.
Falconetti noted Martinez’s support of the College’s goal of becoming a Hispanic Serving Institution, which would make all Polk State students eligible for federal grants that assist first-generation and low-income Hispanic students. To become a Hispanic Serving Institution, a college’s enrollment must be at least 25 percent Hispanic. Polk State’s Hispanic student population grew from 19 percent to 21 percent last year.
“Trustee Martinez is an inspiration for all students, especially Hispanic students as a result of her numerous successes as an immigrant,” Falconetti said. “As we move our institution closer to the goal of becoming a Hispanic Serving Institution, Trustee Martinez’s representation on the Board is as important as ever.”
“I am sincerely thankful for Chair Turner and Trustee Martinez’s service and leadership,” she added. “Together with the fellow Board members, we will continue to exceed the goals for our institution, enhancing higher education opportunities across Polk County.”
About Polk State College
Located in Winter Haven, Florida, and established in 1964, Polk State College is a multi-campus institution serving more than 16,000 students with Bachelor of Applied Science, Bachelor of Science, Associate in Arts and Associate in Science degrees, as well as a wide range of certificate and workforce training options. The College also operates three charter high schools. Polk State’s advantages include small class sizes; hands-on learning; dedicated faculty; day and night classes; online options; affordable tuition; excellent financial aid; and a diverse community and vibrant student life, including fine arts opportunities, clubs, and intercollegiate athletics.