Family Initiative has selected Elizabeth “Lisa” Cannon as the inaugural principal for Thrive Academy, the first school in Southwest Florida for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
Currently, Cannon is an educational consultant for Thrive Academy responsible for training instructional faculty and staff in the best way to educate students on the autism spectrum. She also researches and implements curriculum for students of ranging cognitive abilities to further enhance their life skills. In 2023, Cannon became trained in Youth Mental Health First Aid through Lee Health.
Thrive Academy was piloted in 2022 as a micro school to serve high school students with autism. During the 2022-23 school year, there were 10 children on the autism spectrum enrolled. Family Initiative recently received $5 million in state funding for Thrive Academy. Additionally, the funding will allow Family Initiative to build a special needs shelter to support children and their families in the event of a natural disaster. By this fall, Family Initiative plans to enroll 50 students in Thrive Academy providing wrap-around specialized education, vocational training and clinical support.
“Providing a quality education for our students is a top priority at Family Initiative,” said David Brown, president and co-founder of Family Initiative. “We are honored to introduce Lisa Cannon as our first principal at Thrive Academy and grateful for the leadership and expertise that she brings to our school, our students and their families.”
Prior to joining Family Initiative, Cannon was an assistant principal at Cape Coral Charter School Authority and previously served as a teacher. Cannon is also the recipient of several awards and acknowledgements and was a 2017 nominee and a 2018 winner of the Lighthouse Award for Teacher of the Year by the City of Cape Coral Charter School Foundation.
Cannon is an alumna of Barry University, Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) and Florida SouthWestern State College (FSW). She earned her Associate of Arts from FSW in 2006 and graduated with her Bachelor of Arts in secondary social sciences education in 2008. In 2019, Cannon graduated with her Master of Science in education leadership from Barry University.
To learn more about Family Initiative, the services they offer and their work in the community, visit FI-Florida.org or call 239-910-0712.
About Family Initiative
Established in 2015, Family Initiative, Inc. is a Florida-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organization dedicated to supporting children with autism and strengthening their families. Its team of clinicians serves children from compassionate, personalized approach through Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) and Occupational Therapy (OT) services, and offers autism play groups, teen meetings, parent education, community conversations and more. In addition, the organization provides child welfare caregiver training and support through its Family Impact Program. Visit FI-Florida.org or find Family Initiative on Facebook and Instagram at @FamilyInitiative and on Twitter at @FI_Inc.