P.O. Box 11484, Tampa, FL 33680
Telephone: (813) 527-9991

Email: ican_cec@yahoo.com

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Bio Sketch
Michelle Tate-Martin
Founder & Executive Director

In August 2001, Michelle closed the chapters to 10 years as a state government professional and 4 years as a Hillsborough County Schools Adult Educator. Today, she pursues grassroots adult literacy as her higher calling and her contribution to the legacy of civil rights. Michelle began her professional career as a Florida A&M University journalism intern student in former Governor Bob Graham’s Press Office in 1984. After completing her Bachelors degree in 1985, she worked as a legislative aide for two legislators in the Florida House of Representatives. She later worked as an information specialist for the Florida Department of Natural Resources. In 1990, Michelle was hired by Education Commissioner Betty Castor to serve as her senior management analyst at the Florida Department of Education.

She managed the commissioner’s correspondence, wrote speeches, and served as editor of the department’s weekly, statewide newsletter. She was later promoted as public information officer for Adult and Community Education. Michelle served on several education policy committees including the school improvement and accountability coordinating committee after the passage of the Florida School Improvement Law. She was recognized with two special achievement awards, certificates of appreciation, and an Excellence Through Teamwork award. Michelle received a graduate fellowship from the Florida DOE Adult Education Office to obtain a masters degree in adult education administration.

Community-based Adult Education Journey

Michelle relocated to Tampa in September 1996 to pursue a doctorate degree in Adult Education at the University of South Florida. She postponed her graduate degree goal. Michelle was inspired by her volunteer service as a tutor at a Hillsborough County Public Schools' community-based adult learning center. The Adult Education Director offered Michelle a position as an Adult Literacy Instructor.  She was promoted to serve as a Family Literacy Instructor following training at the National Center for Family Literacy. A year later, she resigned the position to pursue a second masters degree in teaching English. She returned to the school district in 1999 to teach English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL). That year, she was awarded the 1999-2000 Outstanding Adult Education Rookie Teacher. She later transferred to another adult learning center to restructure the Adult Basic Education /GED/ESOL learning programs, as well as to teach and manage the computer-based learning center.

A Community-Based Literacy Mission

In January 2001, Michelle was promoted to develop and to teach in the school district’s first reading literacy computer lab for adult nonreaders. She left the school district later that year to teach English and reading at Hillsborough Community College. In her free time at home, she tutored a few former reading literacy students. Inspired by her students and a higher calling, Michelle designed a comprehensive, individualized, education program for adults and older youth with special learning needs. She recruited colleagues to establish a nonprofit, 501 (C)(3), community-based organization entitled I CAN Adult Literacy Outreach Program, Inc, which became incorporated in February 2002. The organization has since grown, and the name has changed to: I CAN! Community Education Coalition, Inc. I CAN operates an Intensive Learning Program in northeast Tampa.

Education Credentials

Michelle has a Bachelors Degree in Journalism and a Masters Degree in Adult Education Administration from Florida A& M University. She received a Masters degree in Teaching English from the School for International Training in Vermont. Michelle’s international teaching internship was at a college in Port Elizabeth, South Africa where she taught English for Academic Purposes.

Personal Background

Michelle is a native of Washington, DC. She has been living in Florida since 1980. She is married to Greg Martin.  They are proud guardians of her nephew Jomarr Tate, who entered Florida A&M University's School of Architecture in 2011.