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The University of Florida Lastinger Center for Learning improves the quality of teaching, learning, and childcare. We research, develop, and scale equitable educational innovations for adults and children that put all learners on trajectories for lifelong success.

Our team of over 100 associates combines research, practice, and policy to improve teaching and learning. 

We promote learning that is:

  • Competency-based, leading to the demonstration of new knowledge and skills 
  • Technology-enhanced, including personalized and adaptive learning opportunities 
  • Research-informed and validated, shaping the ongoing design and implementation of solutions 
  • Rooted in public-private partnerships, leveraging catalytic philanthropic investments toward sustainable public support 

“I’m one of those first-generation college people. Education changed my life, and Allen I both want that for other young people.”

Delores Lastinger


UF alumni Allen and Delores Lastinger envisioned a center where high-impact education programs would be developed by strategically integrating research with frontline educator experience. Their generous gift and vision brought forth the Lastinger Center for Learning in 2002. 

Donald Pemberton, Ph.D., established the Center’s foundation of education innovation. Leveraging the intellectual resources at the University of Florida, the Lastinger Center generated a number of programs in its early years primarily focused on developing educator leadership and instructional quality, quickly seeing impressive results in improving teacher effectiveness.

In 2018, Philip Poekert, Ph.D., became the Center’s director, focusing on accelerating the growth of products across Florida and the country. In 2021, the Lastinger Center was selected to administer the nation’s largest home book delivery program, the New Worlds Reading Initiative. The Florida legislature’s $200 million investment provides students not yet reading on grade level with free access to quality reading materials and resources. 

The Center prioritizes ongoing market and academic research to ensure products meet educator and student needs, from integrating technology to utilizing competency-based instruction approaches in professional development. This research informed multiple flagship programs – Math Nation, Flamingo Early Learning Florida, and Flamingo Literacy Matrix – supporting hundreds of thousands of educators and students across the country.

The remarkable scope of the Lastinger Center’s work and the impact of its collective efforts consistently draw state, national and international recognition and investment.

Discover more about our history and impact on our 20th Anniversary page. 

Allen and Delores Lastinger

Delores and Allen Lastinger

20th Anniversary

The Lastinger Center celebrated its 20th year as an education innovation incubator in 2022! We spent some time reflecting on our past, present and future during our anniversary year. Check out our interactive timeline and the Lastinger Legends podcast to learn more about where we started, where we are now, and hear some stories about our journey along the way.

2022 Annual Report

Read the 2022 Annual Report to learn how the Lastinger Center has worked to transform teaching and learning through creative, innovative approaches to education since 2002.

public and private funding raised

educators served annually

children reached each year

states are benefiting from at least one Lastinger innovation

Strategic Plan

As we celebrate our accomplishments, we are also looking to the future. We are working to identify and meet the most pressing needs of our educators and children. We hope you’ll take a moment to review our 2022-2025 Strategic Plan that details our approach for maximizing growth, impact, and sustainability.