We start 2013 by featuring our Floridian of the Year. Please understand that this is not a lifetime achievement award, but rather recognition of a significant achievement that occurred in Florida during the past year.
This year’s Floridian of the Year, Jonathan Hage, is notable for his leadership position at the cutting edge of a trend — charter school growth. His Charter Schools USA, based in south Florida, now runs 37 charter schools in Florida and has become one of the fastest-growing charter school operators in the country.
Momentum behind charter schools, which remain controversial to some, is growing. Nationally, the number of charter schools has increased from fewer than 1,600 a bit more than a decade ago to 5,613 today. In Florida, we have more than 570 charter schools. Last year, more than 200,000 Florida students, or one in every 17, attended a charter school.
Joining the Floridian of the Year are notable newsmakers from every region of the state in sectors such as business, entertainment, health care and sports. And while Trend’s readers can argue endlessly about who most deserves this recognition, we find no lack of significant individuals to showcase.
On a more somber note, Florida Trend again recognizes the military men and women who gave their lives in defense of the United States. Please see their photographs and information at Florida's Fallen Soldiers.
This new year has special meaning for Florida. Exactly 500 years ago, Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon landed on the east coast, documented the arrival and gave a name to the area ... La Florida. American Indians, of course, were the original pioneers, dating back perhaps 12,000 years, but the Spanish claim did open a new era in history.
Florida Trend will recognize this rich history with a special issue in May highlighting Florida’s Hispanic heritage over the generations and noting the
Viva Florida 500 cultural events being organized statewide.
And 2013 is also important for Florida Trend itself. This year is the magazine’s “double nickel” 55th anniversary. From a 32-page black and white publication in 1958, Trend has grown to more than 52,000 monthly copies and more than 250,000 readers from the executive ranks of business, government and civic affairs. We are thankful for the many advertisers who reach this influential audience through our pages, and now through the FloridaTrend.com website.
During the year, Trend will continue its popular series of community portraits. In the coming months, you will see reports on Orlando in May, Tallahassee in June, Fort Lauderdale in October, Lee County (including Fort Myers) in November, and Seminole County in December in honor of that county’s 100th anniversary. We will also dive deeply into the High Tech Corridor, a ribbon from Tampa Bay through Orlando to the Space Coast that bumps up to include the University of Florida.
Only through the pages of Trend do readers see a detailed portrait of regions of the state where they don’t personally reside.
Fitness: I ran the first race of my life — the 5k Turkey Trot — on Thanksgiving Day. I finished in 33:12 for an average speed of 10:45 per mile, slightly better than expected. The hoopla certainly helped — costumed runners, bands along the road and thousands of fellow runners including our sons, who trotted along beside me.
My 2013 goal: After dropping 15 pounds and starting to run in 2012, I’ll certainly try to maintain that fitness. But the new biggie is to learn some Spanish. Hopefully, Santa will bring me the Rosetta Stone language software. Progress reports forthcoming.
— Andy Corty