An Ode to the SWAT Advisor
June 10, 2015

Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) has accomplished so much this year; working to establish a new flavored tobacco resolution in the Town of McIntosh, keeping our elected officials informed about tobacco issues at the annual Legislative Delegation Hearing, and demonstrating commitment to the cause through community performances and a box office flash mob. With all of what SWAT has achieved in our community, none of it would be possible without the guidance of our skilled and valued SWAT Advisors.

Phyllis Sherman, the Art teacher at Fort King Middle School in Ocala, has been a reliable and exceptional Advisor to the Fort King Middle SWAT Club. She is a terrific role model and advocate representing the best qualities of an Advisor. She is both driven and passionate as an educator and in promoting a tobacco free lifestyle.

Phyllis Sherman

“I have been the SWAT advisor at Ft. King Middle for three years.  Each year we try new ways to reach the school population.  I became a smoker because both my mother and father smoked.  My father died young at the age of 53 from a heart attack which I am sure was partly caused by his smoking.  My mother tried for years to stop and finally, at the age of 70 with failing health, finally quit.  As a young adult I smoked heavily, but realized it was a life and death activity and that I was playing with my life.  I decided to quit after smoking for ten years, but found it was much harder to do than just making the decision.  I tried three times and finally managed to get the addiction off my back. I want to help students get the information that I never had available to me.  With this information I hope they will make better choices than I and NEVER BECOME ADDICTED TO TOBACCO.”

A new addition to our SWAT Advisors was Andrez Towns who works at the Marion County Boys & Girls Club (BGC). She was an exceptional SWAT leader this year despite this being her first year learning and sharing about the SWAT approach. Her SWAT Club is like no other. SWAT at the Boys & Girls Club has become known to all of the Club’s members because of the dance and step team as well as Andrez’s popularity with the young people who go there. Her SWAT youth attended a number of local events; representing both BGC and SWAT with their dance and step routines, they also performed at health fairs, the annual Red Ribbon Kickoff event, and even a grand opening ribbon cutting ceremony for a local community partner. We look forward to our continued partnership with the Marion County Boys & Girls Club!

“The kids are so shocked and jumping out of their seats when they hear all the crazy facts about smoking and Big Tobacco!”
-Andrez Towns


Finally, the most recent addition to our Advisor squad was Nicole Sasnett, an Earth Science teacher at Dunnellon High School. We are so privileged to have her join our SWAT mission! She is extremely resourceful and independent. Equally, she is admired by her students. She joined SWAT mid-year and already earned her stripes as an Advisor by participating in Kick Butts Day and Through with Chew Week activities. She began with a “fired up” attitude, and stayed true to her potential through the end of the school year.

Dirty Laundry
“Airing Out Tobacco’s Dirty Laundry” display at Dunnellon High School

For more information on the Marion County SWAT Program, contact Manette Cheshareck at