Mara Vertrees began her career in education 20 years ago after first working as a newspaper reporter and as a child advocate and parent education leader. She taught middle school Language Arts and Social Studies for eleven years before going into administration. After working as an Assistant Principal at a middle school and a K-8 school she was offered the position of Principal at Diplomat Elementary.
Mrs. Vertrees is honored to be working at Diplomat Elementary with such a very fine and dedicated staff of teachers and support personnel. And she is fully committed to the vision of Diplomat as a Quality School with high expectations of learning for all.
Since the young age of eight, Mrs. Wilcken has resided and worked in Lee County. She attended Caloosa for her elementary and middle school years, then earned her high school diploma from North Fort Myers High School. While attending Florida Gulf Coast University, her passion for education ignited a change in majors to pursue teaching. She embarked upon her teaching journey in August 2002 with the Lee County School District. After several years as a teacher and teacher leader, she completed a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership with the vision of contributing to the functionality and excellence of administration. Her move into leadership began at Veterans Park Academy of the Arts as an Assistant Principal followed by Diplomat Elementary School. She is thankful to be a part of Diplomat and is dedicated to the safety and education of each child. In Mrs. Wilcken’s spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family and Labradoodle, boating, camping, sports, and refinishing furniture.
Mrs. Edwards spent her childhood growing up in Minnesota and helping her mom run a children’s entertainment company. It was this experience that motivated her to pursue a career in education. She moved to Florida to attend Florida Gulf Coast University and eventually earned a master’s in Educational Leadership. She began her teaching career at Diplomat and has been happily teaching children in grades 2, 3, and 4 for over 14 years. This year, Mrs. Edwards became part of the administrative team as a Teacher on Assignment.
Mrs. Edwards is proud to be a member of a Quality School that focuses on the whole child, not only through academics but also socially and emotionally. She believes Diplomat’s mission to develop dedicated and responsible learners, and respectful and compassionate individuals is important to our future community and our competitive world. In her spare time, Mrs. Edwards enjoys traveling, reading, and spending time with family.