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The primary mission of the Marion County Hospital District (MCHD) is to improve the health of Marion County’s citizens.

As such, we developed Fitness and Nutrition in Schools (FANS)… an innovative chronic disease prevention program that incorporates increased physical fitness opportunities, improved nutrition and healthy lifestyle education for children in our school system. The goal is to reduce childhood obesity and to provide a healthy roadmap for children, parents and employees in the Marion County Public Schools.

Working in collaboration with key personnel at Marion County Public Schools,

we developed an initial plan to build crop-producing greenhouses and gardens at the seven high schools in Marion County (beginning with a state-of-the-art greenhouse at Vanguard High School). In subsequent years, MCHD plans to help the school system develop similar systems at the feeder schools.

Tracking point-of-sale data at school cafeterias, we can monitor how many children choose healthier food options (as well as the reduction in purchases of less healthy food options). MCHD will also assist with the development of FANS Clubs, comprised of students from each participating school with a mission to promote innovative health activities and to help disseminate information about student crops and healthy menu options. High school FANS clubs will also promote the program to middle and elementary schools in order to further teach the healthy lifestyle.

vanguard FANS

Our Latest Events

Raised Bed Dedication At Evergreen!

Raised bed dedication at Evergreen!

“Thanks to our friends with Feed the Need Gardens, we have this hands on "real life" experience for these kids!
read more
Greenhouse Groundbreaking At Vanguard High School

Greenhouse Groundbreaking at Vanguard High School

"Today we had the ground breaking ceremony of our new state of the art greenhouse.…

read more

Participating Schools

High Schools

Vanguard High School

Vanguard High School

James Travieso – FANS Club Sponsor

Jeremy Rhoden- Horticulture /Farm 2 School Coordinator

Tonya Travieso- ESE/Farm 2 School

Mike Bullock- ESE/Farm 2 School

Troy Sanford- Principal

Belleview High School

Belleview High School

Andy Edwards- Horticulture /Farm 2 School Coordinator

Mike Kelly- Principal

Middle Schools


Ft. King Middle

Nicole Casuso- AgriScience teacher

Gary Smallridge -Principal


Belleview Middle

Molly Rowe- Agriscience teacher

Dion Gary- Principal


Osceola Middle

Chris Roy- Agricience teacher

Melissa Kinard- Principal

Elementary Schools

east marion

East Marion

Suzette Parker -Principal

fort mccoy

Fort McCoy

Michael Hearn- Principal



Wayne Livingston- Principal

bell santos

Belleview Santos

Brian Greene -Principal



Dr. Stacy Varner- Principal

south ocala

South Ocala

Stephanie Callaway- Principal



Gay Street -Principal



Heather Lipira- Principal



Cynthia Brodie- Principal

Meet The Team


Heather Wyman

MCHD Project Director FANS

Heather holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Sports Medicine and Exercise Physiology, with an emphasis on Biomechanics from Georgia State University in 1998. She also holds a certificate in cervical and spinal rehabilitation from the University of Florida’s Med Ex program and is a certified Nutrition Specialist with the American Academy of Sports Dietitians and Nutritionists. She has been working in the wellness and prevention field, specifically childhood obesity prevention for over 10 years.

cheri photo

Cheri Potter

FANS Coordinator with MCPS

Cheri holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Physical Education/Sport Management with a minor in Business from Florida State University.  Her Master’s degree is in Educational Leadership from the American College of Education. Cheri has been an educator for MCPS since 2008 and has worked in various capacities as a teacher, dean, athletic director, and fitness instructor. Her previous work experiences were with the Orlando Magic, Florida State Athletics, and Florida Sports Foundation.

Contact Us

Additional Information


How does my school get involved?

An administrator should contact Heather Wyman (MCHD) 352-622-3662 or Suzanne McGuire (MCPS) 352-671-6847 to set up a meeting to discuss the FANS project.


How do I join a FANS club?

Currently Vanguard High School is the only school to host a FANS club. By Jan 2018 we hope to have one in every high school. If you are interested in starting a FANS club please contact Heather Wyman @ 352-622-3662 or

Stake Holders

Marion County Public Schools:

Dr. Heidi Maier Superintendent

Dr. Craig Ham Deputy Superintendent

Dr. Grantham Deputy Superintendent

Feed the Need Gardens

Rachelle Roper

Statewide Best Practices

Sarasota County 
Alachua County 
Edible Peace Patch- ST Petersburg
National Farm to School Network
USDA farm to School
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