benjamin-cowins-and-kenneth-dose_web.jpgIn one of his last acts before leaving office, Gov. Charlie Crist appointed three South Floridians to the Florida Fund for Minority Teachers.The legislatively mandated organization helps to increase the number of minorities entering the teaching profession in the state by providing an annual scholarship through its minority teacher education scholars program.

One of the three South Florida appointees, Kenneth Dose, previously served on the fund. He said in his role as a professor of Education at Nova Southeastern University for 35 years, he has seen first-hand how the program attracts “highly, highly qualified students” into the teaching profession.

Dose, who has been a member of the board for nearly 13 years, calls it “the best use of taxpayer’s dollars in the field of education.”

He was initially appointed by the late Gov. Lawton Chiles and reappointed by then Gov. Jeb Bush. He left the board duet to term limits and then was reappointed by Crist. His multiple appointments were the result of being a “big supporter” of the fund, he said.

The other South Florida appointees are Piyush C. Agrawal, a Weston resident who is the president and CEO of APS Technologies Inc., and Benjamin B. Cowins Sr., 74,  a retired Miami-Dade County public school educator who lives in Miami Gardens.

Agrawal, Cowins and Dose were appointed for a term that began on Dec. 20, 2010, and will end on June 30, 2013.

The minority teacher education scholars program provides an annual scholarship of $4,000 for eligible minority students enrolled in one of Florida's public or private universities in their junior year who have been admitted into a teacher education program.

The program also assists with job placement and career development, as well as serving as a resource for students and educators.The program hosts an annual conference in an effort to help retain minority education students at Florida’s various colleges and universities.The conference is also used by district recruiters from across the state as a recruiting venue.

The other three appointees are Charles P. Ervin Jr. and Charles L. Evans Sr. of Tallahassee and Diane B. Briscoe of Tampa.

Renee Michelle Harris may be reached at

Photo: Benjamin Cowins and Kenneth Dose