The Future Looks Bright. CFEED and Helios Leaders Hold Leadership Meeting, Oct. 31, 2023

ORLANDO, Fla., Oct. 31, 2023 — Executive leaders from CFEED and the Helios Education Foundation gathered on Tuesday, October 31 to provide a comprehensive update on the CFEED and Helios Education Foundation Grant work. During the meeting, Diana Pienaar, Director, Michael Holt, Product Director, and Ashton Terry, Senior Manager gave a presentation for the group, highlighting the milestones, accomplishments, and updates on research projects that have occurred. The atmosphere at the meeting was enthusiastic with positive recognition of the impact of CFEED’s work in improving educational outcomes to help students achieve success in their K12 to post-secondary learning journeys in Central Florida.

CFEED leaders shared updates on projects that encompassed a wide spectrum of educational initiatives, ranging from Early Learning research focused on literacy, to initiatives promoting dual enrollment and post-secondary readiness, as well as transfer programs, such as the collaboration between Valencia College and UCF. Additionally, they addressed the critical issue of chronic absenteeism. Ashton Terry highlighted how these initiatives have fostered meaningful collaborations with key education stakeholders, such as the Osceola Early Learning Coalition, School District of Osceola County (SDOC), Orange County Public Schools (OCPS), and others.

One of the standout achievements presented at the meeting was CFEED’s development of a live dashboard for each school district. Michael Holt shared how this dynamic tool leverages CFEED’s data models and is designed to identify high school students who are academically prepared for Dual Enrollment coursework. The dashboard’s exportable and interactive features empower educators and administrators in OCPS and SDOC to access valuable information, enabling them to better support students on their post-secondary journeys.

“CFEED has created this dashboard for each of the ecosystem school districts and it can pinpoint specific students at various levels of post-secondary readiness, with their core acceleration course history,” Holt said. “With this exportable interactive dashboard, the capability exists to ensure each high school in OCPS and SDOC has this information at their fingertips.”

Paul Perault, Vice President of Research & Evaluation, initiated the meeting with introductions and a retrospective look at CFEED’s journey. He emphasized the significant transformations that have occurred since its inception. Paul Luna, President & CEO of Helios, being the sole survivor from the original team. Luna elaborated on the initial conversations with Dr. Shugart, former president of Valencia College, who conceived the idea of creating an ecosystem where educational institutions collaborate and share data. This vision ultimately gave birth to CFEED. Luna underscored the novelty of this approach at the time and celebrated how the organization has transitioned to focus on post-secondary degree completion, highlighting the pivotal role played by CFEED in driving Helios’s mission forward.

Brandon McKelvey, Exec VP Administrative Services, Executive VP, Administrative Services, also shared insights during the meeting, providing further context and depth to the discussions.

For more in-depth information regarding this pivotal board meeting, please reach out to Diana Pienaar, Director of CFEED, at

In summary, the recent gathering of CFEED and Helios leaders showcased the impressive strides made in advancing educational initiatives in Central Florida. With a strong focus on data-driven collaboration and post-secondary success, this meeting exemplified the commitment of these organizations to shaping a brighter future for students on their educational journeys.

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