Eli’s House does the majority of its work at Port Salerno Elementary School in Stuart, FL, which is part of the Martin County School District. Without the support of the Martin County School District, we simply couldn’t do what we do. We decided to take some time to sit down with the District’s Superintendent, Laurie Gaylord, and talk about the district and its needs.
Tell us about yourself.
I’m Laurie J. Gaylord, Superintendent of the Martin County School District (MCSD).
I have been Superintendent for three years and, prior to my time as Superintendent, I was an elected School Board Member for 10 years. I served as an educational consultant to the Martin County School District for two years prior to that so, I guess, that makes my affiliation with the MCSD about 15 years. I taught school in Palm Beach and Broward Counties before I had my own children and have had a private practice for the past 28 years working with children with cochlear implants and/or hearing aids.
I received my undergraduate Bachelor of Science at Bloomsburg University in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania and a Master of Science in Speech and Hearing at Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri.
What makes Martin County School District unique?
Martin County is a wonderful community to live, work, and raise a family. The school district attracts many families to the community. We are an academically high performing school district with incredibly supportive families and business community. In addition, we have highly skilled and qualified teachers and administrators who work tirelessly and are extremely passionate and dedicated to educating our youth.
What does Eli’s House mean to the Martin County School District?
Eli’s House has been one of those incredible, valuable, community partners to support the work we are doing at Port Salerno Elementary. Eli’s House has been so generous and understands the need to prepare our young children to be ready for school and to be engaged in learning. They have provided opportunities for our students at Port Salerno Elementary that many children never have the opportunity to experience. They have brought culturally relevant experiences in the Arts to life for the children. Eli’s House is the Grandpa and Grandma for the entire school!
We could not have done the work with our families this past year without their help.
What is your vision for the future of the MCSD and how can organizations like Eli’s House assist?
The vision for the future is to have the same family involvement and level of culturally stimulating experiences for all of our children, particularly at our Title I schools. It is critical that we must be able to reach children early to prepare them for school, keep them in school, instill a love of learning, and equip them with skills to provide opportunities for their future.
If we had more organizations like Eli’s House, we could reach more families and expand the program at other schools, enabling more children to reach the kindergarten door ready to learn, more students reading by third grade, and more of our youth being successful at school.