Dr. Debra P. Pace assumed the position of Superintendent of the Osceola School District in March 2016. Dr. Pace brings to the position an extensive background in both instructional and operational leadership, as she served as Principal for Poinciana and Harmony High Schools and as Deputy Superintendent for Secondary in the Osceola School District from 2003 to 2011. She has held the position of Associate Superintendent for Human Resources Services Division for Brevard Public Schools since 2011. As a lifelong resident and student, parent, teacher, and leader in the Osceola School District, she brings to the position both pride and passion to lead the school district forward and to serve the children in the community.
Highlights of her successful career include fostering academic achievement within diverse cultures; developing high-quality programs that directly impact student performance; staffing and professional development of instructional and non-instructional employees in direct support of students; and allocating resources to meet the needs of schools and the district. As Superintendent, her goals are to build relationships, raise expectations, and provide strong leadership to ensure that the school system functions effectively as a critical element for not only student success, but also for economic development, quality of life, and community pride.
Dr. Pace earned her bachelor’s degree in Foreign Language-International Trade from Auburn University, and both a master’s degree in English Education and a Doctorate of Education from the University of Central Florida.
Dale was raised and works in Osceola County. After many years of working and waiting, Dale received an assignment to umpire the Southeastern Regional for Little League Baseball. The evaluation process was stressful, and Dale needed to be at his very best for a World Series recommendation, After 28-years Dale received the long-awaited recommendation, his dream to umpire in Williamsport, Pennsylvania for the Little League World Series is just a few years away. Congrats Dale.
Jeannie McWhorter, MD
Jeannie McWhorter, MD moved to Kissimmee, Florida when she was two years old. She went to Highlands Elementary School from kindergarten through fourth grade; she attended Boggy Creek Elementary in fifth grade for their self-contained gifted program. She attended Denn John Middle School and then went to Osceola High School, where she graduated with honors in the top 10 of her class. She was awarded the Florida Undergraduate Scholars scholarship.
After high school, she went to Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida. Once there, she majored in Biology and continued to work at OB/GYN Associates, in Kissimmee, part-time. She graduated from Rollins College summa cum laude and was awarded the General Charles McCormick Reeve scholarship for being one of the top 5 graduates in her class. Following college graduation, Jeannie began medical school at the University of South Florida’s Morsani College of Medicine in Tampa where she was elected to join Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honor Society in her final year.
Dr. McWhorter married her husband, Randy Froehlich, after graduating from medical school, and moved back to Kissimmee. She completed her residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Orlando Health Arnold Palmer Hospital for Women and Children (now Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women and Babies) in 1999, where she was chief resident her final year. During her four years of residency, she had her two daughters, Emily and Katy. Following graduation from residency, she continued to live in Kissimmee and took a position as part of the full-time faculty with Orlando Health. Dr. McWhorter is board certified and a Fellow of the America College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
In 2008, she became the Managing Physician for the OB/GYN full time faculty and the faculty practice. In 2013, she made the decision to become an OB/GYN Hospitalist at Winnie Palmer Hospital, where she was also the Managing Physician for the OB/GYN Hospitalist Group. In addition to this, she became Orlando Health’s OB/GYN Residency Program Director in 2016. She has published articles and case studies and has received several awards throughout her career, including: Resident of the Year and Physician Exemplar. She has been listed in Orlando Magazine’s “Best Doctors” issue since 2010.
Rick and his family moved to Kissimmee in 1972. Rick graduated from Osceola High School in 1981. He was planning on learning the family business from the inside out, starting in the tooling department. He spent 2 years as an apprentice learning how to be a tool and die maker before deciding he wanted to go to college. At first he was planning on being a neuro-surgeon, but the love of racing and the desire to learn more about the family business pushed him into a mechanical engineering path. Rick got a degree in aero/mechanical engineering in 1985. Upon graduation from UCF, Rick returned to the family manufacturing business. Presently, Rick is the managing partner in High Tide Manufacturing Group which manufactures metal fabricated boat and fishing towers as well as a wide range of plastic fabricated products for the marine industry.
Rick began his NHRA Drag Racing career in 1983 when his father Dick retired from drivers cockpit. Dick and Rick have spent close to 40 years racing together all over the United States. Together they have been able win many events and national titles along the way.
Rick took several years off from racing while his children were young and were very active with their sports teams helping to coach each one in the sport of their choice, mostly softball and baseball. Once the oldest 2 started college he slowly started to race again.
Rick and his wife Michele met in the 5th grade, started dating as seniors in HS and married in 1985 after she graduated from the UCF nursing program and he finished his degree from the UCF engineering program. They have 5 grown children, the youngest of which, son Rick, shares the passion for racing and is an instrumental member of the current race team.
In 2017, Rick made the move up the ladder to the very exciting professional category of NHRA ProMod. This is very competitive category and the group of 16 qualifiers at any given race are separated by less than 0.01 seconds in total elapsed time. Rick was fortunate to win the event in Charlotte in 2018! The 2020 Gatornationals will be the first race of the new season in Gainesville, Florida on March 12th-15th. For more racing details and highlights checkout www.nhra.com. Or you can check out Rick's Facebook page, Rick Hord Racing.
Russell L. Anderson
Russell is a Florida native, born in 1947. He attended a 1-12th grade all black school, Kissimmee High School, and graduated in June 1965. He was active in band, sports, student council, science, new farmers, drama club and library. After HS he attended Alabama State University 1965-1968 on a music and academic scholarship. Russell obtained a B.S. Degree in Psychology; M.A. Degree in Guidance and Counseling and a Doctoral Candidate in Education Leadership. Russell developed an idea to raise $1 million dollars to send every graduate of the Osceola School District to college or vocational/technical school for the first year.
Russell was drafted into the army in August 1968 and enlisted into the US Air Force, he retired Captain USAF after serving for 20-years, 13-years as an officer. Russell has also worked in law enforcement, administration and legal personnel programs.
Mr. Anderson excels as a mentor and is a positive influence in the community, he “gets things done”. Russell earned two Vietnam Service Medals, a Meritorious Service Medal and two Good Conduct Medals.
Russell is a true Floridian, humanitarian and all-around good guy. He volunteers his time to play the trumpet at memorial services.
Judge Hal C. Epperson, Jr
Judge Hal C. Epperson, Jr. was elected by the people of Osceola County in 2006 to serve as Osceola County Judge and was re-elected in 2012 and 2018. Since 2006, Judge Epperson has served on both the County Criminal and County Civil bench and has presided over hundreds of jury trials. Judge Epperson currently serves as Osceola County’s Administrative Judge, overseeing all Osceola County Courts. Additionally, the Chief Justice of the Florida Supreme Court appointed Judge Epperson to serve as a judicial mentor for newly elected judges in the Ninth Judicial Circuit.
Judge Epperson received his Juris Doctor Degree, cum laude, from Stetson University College of Law and his Bachelor of Arts, cum laude, from Stetson University. As a Stetson law student, Judge Epperson excelled academically and was the recipient of the American Jurisprudence Book Award in Constitutional Law, an honor bestowed upon the top law school student in constitutional law. Additionally, Judge Epperson received the "Best Brief" award for Moot Court and was a finalist in closing argument competition for trial advocacy.
After graduating with honors from law school in 1991, Judge Epperson returned home to Osceola County and began a distinguished career as a state prosecutor. From 1996 to 2006, Judge Epperson served as the Deputy Bureau Chief of the Osceola County State Attorney's Office. During those years of service, Judge Epperson prosecuted virtually every type of criminal case and was responsible for all of the criminal charging decisions in Osceola County. As an attorney, Judge Epperson garnered the respect of his professional peers on both sides of the aisle and was elected Osceola County Bar President. From 2001 to 2004, Prosecutor Epperson was selected to serve on the Florida Bar Grievance Committee, the committee responsible for the investigation of lawyer misconduct. Prosecutor Epperson was elected Chairman of the Grievance Committee in 2003-2004.
Judge Epperson and his family are very involved in the Osceola County Community. Judge Epperson has served on the Board of Directors for the Osceola Council on Aging and the Kissimmee Rotary Club. Hal and his family are also active members of the First Baptist Church of Kissimmee. Judge Epperson and his wife Melissa, who was born and raised in Kissimmee, have been married for 28 years. They have one son, Trey, and two grandchildren, Jacob and Riley.