Mrs. Rachel Mas (2018) and Dr. Jesse Bryson (2017) teaching our curriculum to their students.


Character education is about celebrating and teaching positive human qualities … qualities that lead to productive lives and a thriving society. Good character doesn’t just happen; it must be taught and modeled. Many states, in fact, mandate the teaching of character education in schools. Uncommon Friends Foundation is dedicated to character education and has as its mission instilling ethics, moral values, and a sense of purpose in tomorrow’s leaders.

The Foundation’s Character Education program for grades 3-8 and for high school students teaches such traits as honesty, integrity, friendship, cooperation, and perseverance—the quality characteristics of the five uncommon friends who were Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Harvey Firestone, Dr. Alexis Carrel, and Charles Lindbergh—all intellectual giants who helped shape the 20th century.

Our character education curricula are available at no charge in SMART Board format through the Character Education Sharepoint and in Safari Montage. The character education programs meet the Florida educational standards and are easily aligned with the standards of other states.


The Uncommon Friends Foundation recognizes an outstanding local educator annually who teaches “Lessons Learned from the Uncommon Friends in his or her classroom. Elementary, middle and high school teachers in public, private and charter schools in Lee, Charlotte, Collier, Glades, and Hendry counties are eligible for the award and can nominate themselves or be nominated by others. Nominated educators must have taught lessons from the Uncommon Friends Foundation’s Character Education Curriculum in his or her classroom, exhibit characteristics of the uncommon friends in their personal and professional lives, and have the endorsement of a school administrator.

2021 nominations for the Character Education Champion Teacher of the Year award are open now. 

The 2021 Character Education Champion Teacher award will be presented during the annual Uncommon Evening Gala in November 2021.

2019 Character Education Champion Teacher Award – Julia Parada


Past Character Educator of the Year winners:

2019 – Julia Parada, North Fort Myers Academy for the Arts
2018 – Rachel Mas, Cypress Lake Middle School
2017 – Yvonne Caldwell, James Stephens International Academy
2016 – Dr. Jesse L. Bryson, Fort Myers High School
2015 – Patricia Cicero, Pinewoods Elementary School
2014 – Maggie Walters, Mariner Middle School
Deborah Marino – Sea Gate Elementary School
Trish Engvalson – Tropic Isles Elementary School
2013 – Dr. Karen Serrell
2012 – FGCU Character Education Curriculum Technology Graduate Internship Team: Amy Rothenberg, Ana Del Moral, Melody Hazeltine, and Adam Ryansburger
2010 – Maria Cardenas, Orange River Elementary
Kerrie Colleran, Edgewood Academy
Marianne Maresca, Mariner High School

Rachel Mas’ classroom at Cypress Lake Middle School, 2018

Royal Palm Yacht Club Ladies Visit Burroughs Home

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Uncommon Evening 2011

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Champion Teachers

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Business Ethics Award Recipients

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Historic Images

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Honorary Lifetime Membership Winners

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Uncommon Friends Membership Meeting 2011

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Business Ethics Luncheon 2012

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Business Ethics Lunch 2016 at FGCU

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Annual Meeting 2012

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Scholarship Recipients

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Uncommon Evening 2012

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2016 Scholarship Recipients

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Uncommon Evening 2016

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2018 Scholarship Reception

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2018 Reflections on the River Gala

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2019 Business Ethics Luncheon at FGCU

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2019 Uncommon Evening: Pearls of Wisdom

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