About Us

Our Mission & Vision

GLSEN aims to create a safe, welcoming, and supportive K-12 education for every student in Collier County by working to eliminate anti-LGBTQ+ bias, harassment, and bullying in schools today and advancing racial, gender, and disability justice outcomes in education.

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Our Story

GLSEN Collier County is part of an organization that is nationally aligned but locally relevant. As one of more than forty chapters across the United States, we seek to unify our organization in order to strengthen our impact in a manner that best serves the LGBTQ+ students of Collier County.

We recognize that foundational to this work is the need to advance racial, gender, and disability justice so as to create a system that allows every student to thrive. We seek always to center those most impacted as we grow and learn across generations.

It was only in 2003 that the first GSA club on a public school campus in Collier County began, thanks to Thom Croce, a teacher in the district who fought for the club to meet in his classroom at lunch and have the same rights afforded to every other club on campus. Despite this victory, very few GSA clubs popped up in Collier County schools.

GLSEN Collier is born

In the spring of 2012, a community member reached out to help. A local realtor heard homophobic slurs in his gym and confronted the speaker. He asked the speaker what he did for a living and the speaker shared that he was a teacher. This sparked some conversations with friends and this community member found one of the GSA sponsors who had been hungry for more organization and support district-wide. This was the beginning of GLSEN Collier.

We continue to support GSAs and other similar student-led clubs in schools. We have also pivoted much of our approach by providing our students with safe, inclusive, and affirming educational spaces in the community where they are free to express their queer identities.

GLSEN Collier County Board Members 2023
GLSEN Collier County booth at Naples Pride 2023.

GLSEN Collier trains and supports local educators and support staff who wish to provide support to LGBTQ+ students in their classrooms but are not sure how to do so within the restrictions of the recent laws.

We continue to be present and vocal at all CCPS School Board meetings as we advocate for LGBTQ+ inclusive and affirming policies in our schools.

While much of our programming has shifted out of schools and into the community, our audience has remained the same, and our work is as important as the work Thom Croce started twenty years ago. We will continue to work towards the safe, supportive, inclusive, and affirming education every student of Collier County deserves both in the classroom and in the community.

GLSEN Collier Leadership

Our local chapter is comprised of eight board members, an intern, and a network of volunteers that make the work we do possible.

Board Members

Chris (she/her) - co-chair
Emily (she/her) - co-chair

Sheila (she/her) - treasurer
Tom (he/him) - co-secretary
Brad (he/him) - co-secretary
Jana (she/her) - professional development
Daniel (he/him) - SHINE coordinator
Cindy (she/her) - contributions

Additional Team

Trish (she/her) - intern, MSW student
Derrick (he/him) - digital engagement
Meg (she/her) - policy coordinator

GLSEN National

GLSEN is a multi-racial, intergenerational LGBTQ+ organization working nationally and locally to transform K-12 educational systems in the United States. Each year, GLSEN programs and resources reach millions of students and educators in K-12 schools via action at the national, state, and local level. Since 1990, GLSEN has improved conditions for LGBTQ+ students across the United States and helped launch an international movement to address LGBTQ+ issues in education. For more information, visit glsen.org.