020 – Florida and the Identity of American Public Schools, Beyond Guns – with Alex Heeren

Alex HeerenWhy Florida teacher Alex Heeren is running for office, and sees hope in the modern student…

How does the identity of a public school, its teachers, and it students change after a tragedy like Parkland? All too often it’s easy to reduce the current assessment of our schools as political debates around whether teachers should be armed, whether gun control laws pass, or what the Secretary of Education did or didn’t say.

But for Alex Heeren, the future of the identity of public schools extends far beyond politics; it demands a rigorous debate around resources, representing teacher voice, investing in a 21st century infrastructure, and empowering student activism. As a life long teacher himself, he details why he has decided to run for office, and how despite gun violence or divisions in America, he sees hope in the identity of the modern public school student.

Alex Heeren was born in Seminole and has lived there for almost his entire life. He went to Lakewood High School, and received his Bachelor of Arts in Telecommunications from the University of Florida. He has been serving his community since he was a child. He was a Boy Scout who often engaged in service projects, and as an adult has earned the rank of Eagle Scout. In his professional life, Alex was a math teacher for several years at Meadowlawn Middle School. He also ran a Girls Who Code after school program, and still coaches the school’s volleyball team. Now, Heeren is a Technology Integration Coordinator with Pinellas County Schools. He helps teachers incorporate technology into their classrooms. He and his wife Teal, who is an English teacher, live in Seminole.

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