Dr. Rubylinda Hernandez ZickafooseDirector of Language and Literacy
Rubylinda Hernandez Zickafoose has impacted the teachers, parents, and children of Manatee County Schools for 30 years. Her passion and determination to serve her community come from her humble beginnings as a migrant field worker. Throughout her educational journey, her convictions and commitment to educating children have placed her in positions to impact students who struggle due to a combination of linguistic, cultural, and socio-economic challenges.
Her eight years in administration were preceded by roles that instilled a strong knowledge base of effective elementary schools. These include roles as a paraprofessional, primary educator, K-5 Reading Coach, Instructional Coach, District Curriculum Specialist, Assistant Principal and Principal all in low-income settings.
Dr. Zickafoose obtained her Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in Reading/Language Arts with her dissertation, a study on the challenges of underperforming students: “Oye mi Voz” (Hear My Voice!): The Perception of Hispanic Boys Regarding Their Literacy Experiences. Her Master of Arts Degree is also in Reading. Dr. Zickafoose also teaches pre-service teachers in the College of Education at the University of South Florida, where she has taught classes including Early Language and Emergent Literacy, Children’s Literature in Elementary Education; Teaching Elementary Reading, Assessment in Literacy; to name a few. She has also designed and facilitated professional development and induction programs for hundreds of teachers over her educational tenure.
Among her many awards and recognitions both locally and nationwide, she was the USF Successful Latina Scholar Award Recipient, Milken National Educator Award Recipient, Manatee County District Teacher of the Year, Florida Migrant Success Story of the Year, Christa McAuliffe Fellowship recipient, and was featured in Dan Rather’s book American Dream.
As Director of Language and Literacy at Manatee School For the Arts, she is currently building the infrastructure for a potential K-5 arts infused Dual Language school. This work promises to unify the diverse community where the school resides and provides an accelerated academic path for students to become Bilingual, Biliterate, and Culturally Competent leaders so they can define their American Dream.