Jacqueline Centeno was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico on November 11, 1961. She grew up between Brooklyn, New York and Manatí, Puerto Rico. She has two older siblings, Ivonne and Luis. She has four children from a previous marriage and four grandsons. She came to Orlando, Florida in September of 1996. She learned the struggles of learning a second language at the age of 8 years old in New York. Her parents emphasized the need to learn English and to ensure that her Puerto Rican heritage remained intact by placing value on cultural and traditions within the family structure.
Ms. Centeno has been an educator for the past 20 years. She has worked at the schooland district level and in higher education. She began her career as a special education teacher in middle school. She worked at Orange County Public Schools (OCPS) in the following areas: teacher, administrative Dean, district instructional coach for Multilingual Department, ESOL Compliance Teacher, and district ESOL trainer. In higher education, she worked as Faculty and Curriculum Director at Ana G. Mendez University in Orlando. She currently works for Osceola County Public Schools, Kissimmee Elementary as Exceptional Student Education-Resource Compliance Specialist.
Ms. Centeno is a lifelong learner with a Bachelor’s of Science (Human Services), aMasters in Science (Community Psychology- both from Springfield College, MA), a Masters in Arts (Spanish-Latin American Literature and minor in Peninsular Literature from University of Central Florida), an Education Specialist in Educational Leadership (Administration and Supervision from National Louis University) and is currently completing her doctorate degree in Educational Leadership from National Louis University. She strongly believes that education is a lifelong process and that we learn something new every day.
Ms. Centeno is also very involved in her community. She leads, as President, the Orlando Hispanic Lions Club – a not-for- profit humanitarian service organization. She also serves in various boards including: Professional Opportunities Programs for Students, Orange County Citizens Commission for Children-Community Review Panel, and Puerto Rican Summit Education Chair; and previously served in the City of Orlando Arts and Cultural Affairs Council Review Panel.
She is a proud member of the Classroom Teachers Association (previously in OCPS, now in Osceola), Florida Education Association, National Association of Bilingual Educators, Phi Delta Kappa International, Latina Role Model, Tertulia Cuatrogatos Literary Circle, and the Holocaust Center Literary Circle. She has earned several awards from the Lions International Foundation, First Teacher of the Year for Wonderworks, Coqui de Oro in Education from La Casa de Puerto Rico, Women of Distinction Award from La Prensa Newspaper, and Woman to Watch from Orlando Woman Newspaper in 2010.
She is an active member of her community and has been assisting with organizing relief efforts for Hurricane Irma and Maria.