Our diverse board of directors helps to guide the work of the Jacksonville Public Education Fund.
Brian J. Davis, a former prosecutor and civil litigator, is currently a U.S. District Circuit Court Judge for the Middle District of Florida. Formerly, for almost 20 years, he served on the civil, family, juvenile, and probate benches in Duval and Nassau counties as a state Circuit Court Judge. He is a native of Jacksonville and a graduate of its public schools, Princeton University and the University of Florida Law School. Judge Davis has actively volunteered with Leadership Jacksonville, NCCJ, the Urban League, the NAACP, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Jacksonville Community Council, Hubbard House, the Help Center, the PACE Center for Girls, the Jaguars Foundation, and OneJax. He serves on the boards of the Boy Scouts of America and the Jacksonville Public Education Fund. He and his wife, Tanya, worship at Ebenezer United Methodist Church. They are the grandparents of four, the offspring of two children, Brian and Cicely.
Kevin E. Hyde has lived in Jacksonville since 1988. He was elected to the City Council in 2003 and served as Council President from 2005-2006. Kevin is the Managing Partner of the Jacksonville office of Foley & Lardner. He practices labor and employment law where he focuses on resolving workplace disputes, counseling employers on employee relations issues, and training employees and supervisors. Kevin is certified by the Florida Bar as a specialist in the area of labor and employment law. Kevin has long been involved in leadership positions with the Florida Bar. He is a past chairman of the Florida Bar Labor and Employment Section and active in the community. He is an elder with the Lakeshore Church of Christ since 1992. Locally, he serves on the Board of Trustees of the University of North Florida, is a member of the Jacksonville Civic Council, and is a member of the Board of Directors of the Jacksonville Public Library Foundation and WJCT Public Broadcasting. Kevin and his wife Kathi operate a non-profit to provide summer camp scholarships to needy students, www.joelsloancampfund.org. Kathi is a homemaker who volunteers a great deal of her time to the Lakeshore Church of Christ and its children education program. Kevin and Kathi have two adult daughters, Virginia and Michal.
Marsha Oliver is Senior Director of Community Outreach at The Players/PGA Tour. Previously, she served as the Director of Public Affairs for the City of Jacksonville and as Assistant Superintendent of Communications for Duval County Public Schools for 16 years.
Oliver earned a BA in Public Relations (cum laude) from Florida A&M University and an MBA from the University of Phoenix, where she was chosen to serve as the 2001 Graduate Commencement Speaker. Oliver is as equally committed to her community, as evidenced by her memberships on a number of non-profit boards and organizations including the Women’s Giving Alliance; Leadership Jacksonville (2001); Eartha M.M. White Legacy Board; Community Hospice Board of Directors; Jack & Jill of America, Inc.; the Bold City Chapter of the Links, Inc.; Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., and others. In addition, Oliver is a certified Community Coach, designated by the Nonprofit Center (Community Foundation of Jacksonville).
An avid runner, Oliver enjoys running, riding her Vespa, and advancing the educational and recreational interests of her 18-year-old son, Joel.
Buck Williams, CFP® is a Financial Advisor with The Beard, Williams, Chappell Group at UBS Private Wealth Management. They focus their time working with 50-60 successful families, executives, foundations, endowments and corporate entities. Buck's community involvement is centered on the things he is most passionate about: youth development, education, and the outdoors. He is actively involved with the Sanctuary on 8th Street serving as Treasurer on the Board of Directors. His other involvement includes being Chairman of the Troop Committee for Boy Scout Troop 26 at St. Mark's Episcopal Church. Buck is a member of the St. Vincent's Shircliff Society and also a graduate of the Weaver Philanthropic Initiative Class of 2015. Buck, a 4th generation Jacksonville native, graduated from the University of Florida where he earned his bachelor’s degree in Food and Resource Economics and a minor in Business Administration. Before the University of Florida, he attended St. Johns Country Day School in Orange Park, FL. Buck and his wife Susannah currently reside in Ortega with their daughter Bebe and yellow lab Bertie.
Claudia Sáenz Amlie is the Chief Human Resources Officer of Acosta Inc., a sales and marketing solutions provider for brands and retailers, with over 30,000 employees across North America. Previously, she served for four years as executive vice president and Chief Human Resources Officer of EverBank prior to its sale to TIAA. Her experience in HR includes oversight of talent management and development, employee relations, talent acquisition, compensation, communications and HR information systems. She began her professional career over 25 years ago as a corporate and securities law associate at the law firms of Stearns Weaver Miller, Foley & Lardner and Edwards & Angell in Miami and Palm Beach. Her legal experience includes nine years as chief compliance officer and deputy general counsel of Lighthouse Investment Partners LLC, a hedge fund manager based in Palm Beach Gardens, and as general counsel of a publicly-traded nationwide printing and office products company.
She received her B.A. cum laude from Vanderbilt University and her J.D. with honors from the University of Florida. She has served on the Board of Trustees of Episcopal School of Jacksonville for eight years, most recently as Board Secretary. She grew up in Jacksonville and moved back to the area with her husband Karsten and two children more than ten years ago.
Lakesha Burton is the Assistant Chief of Community Engagement and a 19-year veteran of the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office. She holds the distinctions of having been the second African American woman to obtain the rank of police lieutenant and fourth African American woman to be appointed as a member of the Sheriff's staff to Assistant Chief in the 190-year history of Jacksonville Law Enforcement agencies. She is currently serving as the First Female Executive Director of the Police Athletic League of Jacksonville in over 47 years of its existence. PAL is 501(c) (3) youth serving organization.
Chief Burton is a native of Miami, Florida. She moved to Jacksonville with her family as a young child where she began her secondary education. Chief Burton excelled in sports, especially basketball and upon graduation from Wolfson High School she received a basketball scholarship to attend the Lake City Community College. After two years and earning an associate’s degree she accepted a scholarship to the University of Central of Florida where she later graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Criminology.
Chief Burton was hired by the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office in 1999. She quickly established herself as one of Jacksonville’s finest on and off of the job. She has worked in a multitude of areas including the patrol division, community affairs, recruiting, detectives division and the field training unit, to name a few. Chief Burton continued her education, earning a Master’s Degree in Criminology from Florida Metropolitan University in 2002, and she is currently working on her terminal degree in Christian Counseling.
She is the recipient of numerous awards and honors and a lifelong member of Hopewell Church.
Chief Burton is married to Assistant Chief Gregory Burton and they have five children, ranging from ages 8 to 30.
Poppy Clements is a native of Jacksonville, Florida. She attended boarding school at The Taft School in Watertown, Connecticut. Her post-secondary education includes a Bachelor of Arts degree from Vanderbilt University and a Master of Science degree in Education from Wheelock College. Mrs. Clements returned to Jacksonville in 1994 and has served on the boards of The Baptist Health System Foundation, The Bridge of Northeast Florida, City Year Jacksonville and the Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens. She currently serves on the board of Wolfson Children's Hospital. She is married to Rob Clements, and they have four children: Ann, Curry, Ross and Phoebe.
John A. Delaney is a shareholder with the Rogers Towers Law Firm and Principal with the Fiorentino Group, a government affairs consulting firm. He retired as the University of North Florida's fifth president in 2018. Previously, he served two terms as mayor of Jacksonville, the country’s thirteenth largest city, spearheading major initiatives including The Better Jacksonville Plan, a $2.2 billion improvement plan that gave the city new public facilities and other amenities. He also created the Preservation Project, a massive land conservation program giving Jacksonville the distinction of having the largest urban park system in the United States. Prior to that, he served as the chief assistant state attorney, the number two prosecutor for Northeast Florida, and as the general counsel for the City of Jacksonville. He has served on numerous non-profit and corporate boards. Delaney and his wife, Gena, have four children and three grandchildren.
Ashley is the Vice President and Head of Human Resources for Deutsche Bank's Jacksonville, FL and Cary, NC locations. She has 15 years leadership experience in Human Resources specializing in business advisory, leadership development and coaching, talent and performance management, and employee relations. Ashley began her HR career in the Automotive Industry focusing on leadership development and business advisory. Ashley joined Deutsche Bank in 2012 as a HR Business Partner for the Jacksonville, FL campus. In 2014 Ashley joined the Employee Relations team supporting the US Region, in 2016 was promoted to the HR Site Lead in Cary, and in 2018 further expanded responsibilities becoming the Head of HR for the Jacksonville, FL and Cary, NC locations.
Ashley has a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications from the University of North Florida and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Jacksonville University. Ashley is a Senior Sponsor for the Jacksonville Ambassadors and serves on the Board for the Jacksonville Public Education Fund and the Jacksonville Women’s Leadership Forum.
Mark L. Griffin is an accomplished minister and accountant. Griffin has been the Pastor of Wayman Ministries since 1995. Under his leadership, the church has grown from 75 to more than 1,400 members. Since 1995, Wayman Ministries has grown from a small, Sunday morning worship ministry to a two-campus ministry that includes two additional corporations, Wayman Community Development Corporation and Wayman Academy of the Arts, Inc. Currently, the ministry and its related corporations employ well over 100 people.
In 1995, Pastor Griffin founded Wayman Community Development Corporation, and serves as the Chairman of the Board of Directors. This corporation operates two fully licensed daycare centers, three after school programs, Summer Camp, Mentoring Program, Life Change Youth Counseling, Transformations Car Wash, and other community service projects. Funding is provided by various federal, state and local governmental agencies, as well as private donations and service fees.
In 1999, Pastor Griffin founded Wayman Academy of the Arts, Inc., which is an Elementary Charter School. He currently serves as the Chairman of the Board of Directors. In August 2000, the school opened its doors to 131 Kindergarten through 5th grade students. Now in its fifteenth year of operations, the school has an enrollment of approximately 375 students, and is rapidly acquiring a reputation of excellence educating children from low socio-economic backgrounds. The school is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
In addition to being an accomplished pastor and community leader, Pastor Griffin is also a successful entrepreneur. In 1990, Griffin started his own accounting firm, originally called Mark L. Griffin, Certified Public Accountant, and subsequently renamed to Griffin & Company, CPA’s. For over eleven years, the firm developed a reputation for excellence in auditing, accounting, and tax consulting services. The firm has served clients in the governmental, business, non-profit, church and individual arenas. He eventually closed the firm to focus full time on the ministries of Wayman Chapel A.M.E. Church.
Pastor Griffin graduated from Florida A&M University in 1982 with a B.S. degree in accounting. Two years later, he passed the C.P.A. examination. In 1989, he received his M.B.A. from the University of North Florida. He is currently pursuing his Doctorate of Ministry degree from United Theological Seminary. He accepted the call to ministry in 1988, and was an associate minister at St. Paul A.M.E. Church, Jacksonville, Florida until 1992. In 1992, his first pastoral assignment was at Mt. Pisgah A.M.E. Church, Starke, Florida. In 1995, he was assigned to Wayman Chapel, where he continues to serve as the leader of one of the most dynamic ministries in the area, and in January 2007, Pastor Griffin launched inaugural worship services at a second location on Jacksonville’s Westside, the Spirit of Life Worship Center.
As a community leader, Griffin is frequently consulted by leaders and other advocates on issues that affect the citizens of Jacksonville. He served as a Board Member of the Florida Consortium of Public Charter Schools; Past President of the United Community Outreach Ministries, Inc.; Past President of the A.M.E. Church, East Conference Ministerial Alliance; Catholic Charities of Jacksonville, JCCI, Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., and other various community and civic organizations.
Griffin performs workshops and lectures for numerous church and non-profit groups, including the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce, the African Methodist Episcopal Church, the Florida State Primitive Baptist Church Convention, the Institute of Church Administration and Management, and many local church groups and congregations. He is a member of the General Board of the African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E.) Church, and also serves on the Executive Committee of the General Board. He is also the Accountant for the 11th Episcopal District of the A.M.E. Church.
Griffin has been married for 34 years to Dr. Cynthia Roberts Griffin. They have two daughters, Whitney and Crystal; one son-in-law, Tony; and two grandchildren, Marcus and Maya.
Coley Jones is Market Executive for North Florida, South Georgia and Gulf Coast for Business Banking at Bank of America. Prior to this he served as Vice President for SunTrust Bank in the Institutional and Government Banking Group. He has also held numerous leadership positions with Wachovia/Wells Fargo Bank. Currently, Coley’s clients consist of governmental entities as well as commercial and industrial companies with revenues of $50M-$500M, providing lending, cash management, capital markets and investment services. In his current role with TD Bank, he manages over $250M of the bank's assets. Coley supports his community by serving on the Leadership Development Committee for Leadership Jacksonville. As well as serving on the board of directors for Jacksonville Community Council Inc. and Eldersource as Treasurer. Coley is a graduate of Leadership Jacksonville class of 2014. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of North Florida in Jacksonville, FL, where he met his wife Nicky. Coley and Nicky live in Jacksonville, FL, with their five children.
Ronnie King is certified Software Engineer and owner of Scratchwerk, LLC. Scratchwerk provides software development and testing services, specializing in Java and Guidewire integrations. Ronnie is an active community volunteer and serves as the Chair for the Board of Library Trustees. He has also served on the boards for Mentoring Families and Kids and Hubbard House. King has held leadership positions in several community organizations including National Society of Black Engineers, 100 Black Men of Jacksonville, National Pan-Hellenic Council and the Urban League Young Professionals. He is also a proud member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, and served as president of the Jacksonville graduate chapter. Ronnie studied at the University of Florida where he earned his Associates Degree while playing basketball for the Gators. He later earned his Bachelors in Computer Science from the University of North Florida. Ronnie is also a husband and father of two beautiful girls, Jada and Bostyn.
Donna Orender is the Chief Executive Officer and Founder of Orender Unlimited, LLC, an independent marketing, media, and strategy company. She has more than 20 years of sports business experience. Orender also served as President of the WNBA from 2005 to 2010. Earlier in her career, Donna spent more than 17 years with the PGA Tour, serving as Senior Vice President of Strategic Development in the Office of the Commissioner, where she developed and managed all strategic direction of the PGA including new media, Internet, advertising and brand management. Donna also has experience in television production that began with her work for ABC Sports and SportsChannel. She later founded her own production company, Primo Donna Productions. She recently launched Generation W, a brand focused on educating, inspiring and connecting women and girls. The inaugural conference, held in April 2012, featured over 25 national speakers and 700 attendees. She currently serves on the boards of the Monique Burr Foundation for Children, the V Foundation for Cancer research, co-chairs the UJA Sports for Youth Initiative and the board of W.O.M.E.N., a mentoring organization.
Marcus Rowe serves as Vice President and Resident Director at Merrill Lynch Wealth Management where he focuses on delivering a comprehensive approach to managing wealth that begins with listening to a client’s needs and helping to ensure every strategy is grounded in understanding what each client wants to achieve. His access to the investment insights of Merrill and banking convenience of Bank of America helps address the various aspects of clients’ financial lives. He is driven by his passion for delivering excellent service and helping clients pursue their goals.Community involvement is an integral part of how he interacts with clients and communities. He is enthusiastically involved with volunteering and fundraising for various non-profits in the Jacksonville community as well as internationally. In addition to serving on the JPEF Board, he currently serves as the Board Chair of the Early Learning Coalition of Duval and on the Board of Directors for City Year. His passion has ignited a strong desire to coach, mentor, encourage and inspire young people to help them make a positive impact in their life and in their respective communities.
Anita Vining has been a Realtor with Berkshire Hathaway Home Services (formerly Prudential Network Realty) for 18 years, and has been the recipient of numerous local and national awards, including the Top Producing Agent in the company in 2013. Anita was born in Meridian, Mississippi, and moved to Jacksonville in 1983. She currently sits on the board of the San Marco Merchants Association and is a member of Assumption Catholic Church. She and her husband, Pete Vining, have two children, Neill Lasher and Trip Vining, and three grandchildren, Wyatt, Lawton and Harbor.
Ellen is a real estate management/marketing professional (President, Homkor Florida) and community volunteer. She has led several nonprofit efforts in the areas of education and social justice. She serves as Co-Chair of Florida Women’s Funding Alliance (an affinity group of The Florida Philanthropic Network), President Emeritus of the Women’s Giving Alliance, Founder/President of READ USA, Inc., and serves the boards of City Year, Jacksonville Public Education Fund, Teach For America, Hubbard House Foundation, World Affairs Council, serves the Steering Committees for Beaches Community Fund, Jacksonville Women’s Leadership Initiative, Mayor’s Youth at Work Partnership, serves the Kids Hope Alliance Literacy Task Force, and serves as a trustee member of Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce. She is a leader for Lift Jax (formerly #nopovertyjax), an all sector movement aligned with global, national and state 2030 agendas around the common agenda for eradicating poverty in all of its forms. Ellen collaborates with other nonprofits working to improve literacy, education and health opportunities for low-income youth and families, women and girls. Ellen is married to husband Jim and has three children.
Dr. Diana Greene became the Superintendent of Duval County Public Schools on July 1, 2018. Prior to her work in Duval, she was the Superintendent of the School District of Manatee County, where she made significant strides forward academically, financially and in terms of its public perception.
Known for her positive nature and engaging personality, Dr. Greene initiated her time as Superintendent in Manatee County by putting forward a leadership plan that consisted of what she named the Five C’s: Calmness, Consistency, Civility, Confidence and Community. Leading by example, Dr. Greene has overseen a district that has improved academically to the point that it received a B grade from the state two of the last three years (2015, 2017), after receiving a C grade the previous three years, even in the face of more rigorous standards. In addition, the Manatee District’s graduation rate rose 5.6% during the 2015-2016 school year, and was 2.8% higher than the statewide graduation rate.
On the financial front, the Manatee District’s fund balance (reserve fund) increased from $17.3 million to more than $25.5 million in the last three years, causing global credit ratings leader Fitch Ratings to raise its financial rating of the District two times in the last three years. Those accomplishments led directly to the passage of two separate countywide tax referendums in a span of 16 months. The first came on November 8, 2016, when Manatee County voters approved the renewal of a 15-year half-cent sales tax to help fund school district capital needs. The second came on March 20, 2018, when voters approved a four-year, one-mill property tax increase to help fund more competitive teacher and staff pay, and to add a half-hour of instruction for students each day. Combined, the referendums are expected to add more than $60 million annually to the District’s budget.
Prior to becoming Superintendent, Dr. Greene served as Deputy Superintendent of Instructional Services in Manatee County. During her 33-year career as an educator, she has spent time as a teacher, assistant principal, principal as well as in curriculum development, staff development and in senior executive leadership. On a personal note, Dr. Greene is the daughter of a father who served in the Air Force, and she grew up living in locations all over the United States and abroad. She is married to James Greene, an independent financial advisor, and they have two sons, Aldon and Joshua.
Sarah Pasion, 2019 Florida Blue Duval County Teacher of the Year, teaches fourth grade math and science at Sadie T. Tillis Elementary School. Ms. Pasion is a proud educator who aims to make a contribution in shaping the world of tomorrow. She says that her most significant goal is to impact the lives of each and every student that she teaches.
The Honorable Warren A. Jones represents District 5 and believes that having a well-educated and qualified workforce is a critical consideration for businesses that are looking to locate or expand in Jacksonville. He graduated from the University of Florida with a Bachelors of Arts degree in Political Science. During his 28 years as a Jacksonville City Council Member, he served as a member or Chairman of various standing committees and special committees and was also elected as City Council President in 1991 and 1992. As a City Council Member, he supported education through partnering with community associations and the Duval County Public Schools to provide funding for swimming pools, walking trails, and playground equipment for various schools. He currently serves as a board member for Visit Jacksonville and Gateway Community Services. He has also coached the Redcaps youth baseball team for the Paxon Improvement Association and previously served as a board member for Jacksonville Electric Authority, the Museum of Science and History, Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens, Northeast Florida Community Action Agency, Jacksonville Area Legal Aid, Lackawanna Community Association, and Paxon Improvement Association. He resides on the Westside with his wife Vanessa, who has retired from Duval County Public Schools.
Photo credit: Courtesy of Duval County Public Schools
EDTalks is an annual speaker series and luncheon that brings education's greatest thought leaders to Duval County. Mark your calendar for October 8!
In JPEF's 2019 Public Perceptions Poll, the Jacksonville community said once again they would support a small tax for schools.
85.1 % of students district-wide graduated high school in 2018, a record high.