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LeDawn Gibson

Distinguished Alumni May 2012

LeDawn Gibson, a 1986 graduate of Winter Haven High School, attended Polk State College from 1986 to 1988, and later returned to finish her Associate in Arts in Elementary Education in 1995. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in Business from Warner University in 1999, and a Master’s in Educational Leadership in 2006 from Argosy University.

In high school, LeDawn played basketball and earned “Most Athletic Player” for rebounding and scoring. Her commitment and devotion earned her a basketball scholarship to Polk State College, where she helped the team to the 1987 state playoffs and was the top free-throw shooter for junior colleges in 1988.

LeDawn worked for the Polk County School Board for a total of 19 years. She began as a paraprofessional and then secretary, returning to school to become a certified teacher. She served as a teacher and then Dean of Discipline at Winter Haven High School.

As coach of the WHHS girl’s basketball program for 12 seasons, the team was ranked number one in Florida for nine straight seasons (2000-2008) and listed in the Top 25 high school teams by USA Today. LeDawn compiled a 331-48 record including two state championships, seven finals appearances, and nine District Eight Regional titles. Her accolades include 2006-2007 Class 5A Coach of the Year and six-time Ledger Coach of the Year, among others. Additionally, LeDawn was honored with the 2002 WHHS Teacher of the Year, Polk State College Athletic Hall of Fame induction, and the 2008 Girls, Inc. of Winter Haven “She Knows Where She’s Going” Award.

In 2008, LeDawn was tapped to be the women’s basketball coach for Florida A&M University. As a first-year coach, LeDawn led the Lady Rattlers to a 14-17 season. In 2012, her team achieved an impressive 14-game winning streak; it was the first time the team had over 20 wins in a season since 1997. The remarkable season ended with Gibson being named Mid Eastern Atlantic Conference Coach of the Year.

Through her work on the court, LeDawn also helped over 30 young women attain basketball scholarships at some of the top women’s basketball programs. She has a 100% graduation rate among her players.