Evans Community School Director Jarvis Wheeler grew up here in Orlando, was an Orange County Public Schools student and was raised in a single-parent home. During high school, he kept a tight schedule working 30 hours a week at Chick-fil-A and participating in varsity football and weightlifting. Although Mr. Wheeler graduated from Dr. Phillips High School, he spent much of his time in the Pine Hills community with church family and friends. Upon his graduation, Mr. Wheeler attended Florida State University (FSU) as a sports management major. During his first year at FSU, he was paired with a mentor. Initially, Mr. Wheeler was skeptical about the value of having a mentor. However, as time progressed, the relationship had a profound impact on his life.
The mentor spent time helping to groom him as a young man and student. Mr. Wheeler also gained valuable advice that would change his life forever. As Mr. Wheeler matured, he realized that youth cannot emulate what they do not see. “If my friends and I had role models when we were younger, we could have escaped traps during our teenage years and avoided pitfalls. I want to mentor students in the same way, so they can have different experiences than I did,” Mr. Wheeler said.
As Mr. Wheeler matriculated at FSU, he realized his passion was to help students in the way his mentor helped him. Upon graduating, he entered FSU’s graduate school and received master’s degrees in social work and public administration. During that time, Mr. Wheeler developed and participated in several mentoring programs.
Prior to becoming director, Mr. Wheeler served as the ninth-grade Avid teacher at Evans. He truly believes in the Avid program and was honored to help mold students and prepare them for college. Although he is not in the classroom anymore, he still plans to remain active with the AVID program at Evans.
As Evans Community School Director, Mr. Wheeler can continue to impact students’ lives but now has a bigger responsibility to also help create unity among students, faculty, staff and the community so students can achieve lifelong success. “When we create more unity, we will also increase accountability because we’re not only upholding principles for ourselves but also for those who will work alongside us,” Mr. Wheeler explains. Moreover, he would like to make more people aware of one of Pine Hills “best-kept secrets” by bringing more engagement, visibility and accessibility to the great programs Evans Community School offers.