The University of South Florida (USF) College of Education is proud to announce the
recipients of the College’s 2024 Distinguished Alumni Awards.

Each year, the College of Education presents our Distinguished Alumni Awards to celebrate
the outstanding accomplishments of our graduates. Recipients are selected by a committee
of College of Education faculty, staff, and administrators, as well as representatives
from the Education Alumni Society leadership team, based on nominations submitted
by the USF community.

Three recipients will be recognized during the College of Education’s Distinguished
Alumni Awards program on Wednesday, May 1 at 5:00 p.m. The program will take place
in TECO Hall at the USF College of Education Tampa campus. 


Charles Vilardi, M.Ed.
  • B.S. ’93 Elementary Education 
  • M.Ed. ‘97 Educational Leadership

Charles (Chuck) Vilardi has been an administrator in Lee County for 24 years and he
is beginning his 31st year with the Lee County School District. He was voted “Principal
of the Year” by the Teachers Association of Lee County in 2023 and by the Lee County
School Counselors Association in 2009. He was formerly the Principal at The Sanibel
School for four years.  He led the Sanibel School to be a Florida School of Excellence.
He also started the highly recognized STEM program at The Sanibel School. He also
served as a Principal Lead for four years. Previously he served as the Principal of
Skyline Elementary for nine years and led Skyline to become a National Model School
of Excellence. Prior to that he served as Principal of Pine Island Elementary for
four years and worked as the Assistant Principal at North Fort Myers Academy of the
Arts K-8 School. In 2018 Mr. Vilardi was nominated by the Lee County School district
and was accepted into the Dr. Brian Dassler Leadership Academy. Mr. Vilardi was named
“Teacher of the Year” in 1993 and was also named a “Teacher of Distinction” and “Outstanding
Young Man of America” in 1998.  He is married to his beautiful wife Leslie who is
a teacher at Caloosa Elementary School. He is the proud father of two children, Carly
and Nicholas.  In his spare time he likes to go boating and travel.


Keri Fogle, Ph.D.
  • M.A. ‘08 Exceptional Student Education
  • Ph.D. ’14 Curriculum and Instruction

Dr. Keri Fogle is an Associate Professor of Special Education at the University of
West Florida in Pensacola. Dr. Fogle served as a special educator in Tampa Bay area
elementary and middle schools for 10 years before joining UWF in 2015. Previously
a television news producer and journalist, she switched careers after her second of
three children struggled academically with a learning disability and returned to school
where she earned her master’s degree and doctorate in special education from the University
of South Florida. Her dissertation, based on personal experiences related to her son,
focused on educators who advocated for the rights of their own children with disabilities
inside the school districts where they worked. Dr. Fogle is also the Director and
Principal Investigator for Florida’s Para-to-Teacher Support Program. The state-funded
grant program provides financial assistance for paraprofessionals working with students
with disabilities so they may earn degrees and teach in special education. Dr. Fogle
serves as an advocate within the field, hoping to improve K-12 classroom experiences
for students with disabilities by maintaining a research agenda focused on special
education pre-service teacher preparation, para-to-teacher pathways, and parent-school
relationships in special education. She is a die-hard Green Bay Packers fan, an avid
long-distance cyclist, and enjoys many outdoor adventures.


Yan Wang, Ph.D.
  • PH.D. ’18 Curriculum and Instruction 

Yan Wang, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor at the Department of Psychology, University
of Massachusetts Lowell. Her research program focuses on the development and application
of statistical modeling to analyzing large-scale educational, psychological, and health
data. She obtained her Ph.D degree from the Educational Measurement and Research Program,
University of South Florida in 2018. She has published over 40 articles in peer-reviewed
journals related to statistics and their applications. She currently serves as an
Associate Editor of Behavior Research Methods. Her research has been funded by federal
agencies (e.g., National Institutes of Health, Health Resources and Services Administration)
and the Spencer Foundation. 

We congratulate this year’s winners for their notable achievements in education, innovation,
and research. We are proud to call them alumni of the USF College of Education. Learn
more about the USF COEDU Alumni Society.

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