It’s not often that the First Lady of the state drops into Manatee County schools but it happened Tuesday.
Ann Scott, wife of Florida Gov. Rick Scott, visited Willis, McNeal and Tara elementary schools as part of a statewide tour for Celebrate Literacy Week.
While at Willis in Lakewood Ranch, Scott met Savannah Adams, a fifth-grade student who had written a letter to Gov. Scott last year as part of a social studies project.
Savannah got to escort Florida’s First Lady into the school’s media center, where she read to fourth- and fifth-grade classes of teachers Keli Geogas and Karen Nikla.
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The First Lady also watched first grade students working in a STEM Lab and listened in a music class, where students were learning to play the xylophone.
Students holding signs lined the walkway at McNeal, welcoming the First Lady. She was also given a tour by students, as they made their way to the media center.
The First Lady read to the two third-grade classes of Amber Manfredi and Elizabeth Smith. Then, she made her way to a fifth-grade classroom.
“It was such a pleasure to have Mrs. Scott in our classroom today,” said the fifth-grade teacher, Olivia Mayer. “My students and I are so grateful that she chose our school to visit.”
The First Lady then read a chapter from Mayer’s favorite book, “The Talented Clementine.”
Two Safety Patrol captains, Jimmy Daley and Kayleigh Lollar, greeted Scott at Tara Elementary.
During the first classroom visit at Tara, the First Lady shared photos of the Governors’ Mansion in Tallahassee as well as photos of her family and six grandchildren. Second-grade teacher, Tina Backhus gave flowers to Scott and shared with her that, she too, has grandchildren – 11 to be exact.
The last visit was to Angie Willett’s classroom, where Scott read to an enthusiastic group of first graders. After finishing “Dragons Love Tacos,” the children asked her to keep reading. She gladly obliged, finishing their visit with “The Rainbow Fish.”
The First Lady’s new book is called “Ally & Jordi’s Adventures Through Florida,” which was named for her daughters. She spoke in detail about her family – and read a passage from the book to every class that she visited in Manatee County.
The First Lady told the students that during this last year of the governor’s term in office, she will continue to focus on reading and literacy by visiting schools across the state.
Manatee County School Board Chairman Dr. Scott Hopes visited all three schools. Superintendent Dr. Diana Greene visited Tara Elementary School. Executive directors of Elementary Education, Annette Codelia and Mike Rio, were also on hand for the visits.
Melissa Parker of the School District of Manatee County supplied the information for this report.
Richard Dymond: 941-745-7072, @RichardDymond