Our diverse board of directors helps to guide the work of the Jacksonville Public Education Fund.
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.
Buck Williams, CFP® is a Vice President-Wealth Management and Private Wealth Advisor with The Beard Williams Group at UBS Private Wealth Management where 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. In addition to serving on the Board of JPEF, he is actively involved with the Sanctuary on 8th Street serving as Treasurer on the Board of Directors. His other involvement includes being a past chairman and current member 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. Buck and his wife Susannah currently reside in Ortega with their 3 daughters Bebe, Cameron and Palmer and their yellow lab Bertie.
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.
Terry’s experience in career consulting, career development, and executive search services span her 30-year career. Since 2008, she has focused on providing job search, résumés, interview skills, and career strategy coaching for young adults through Terry Patrick Walton Consulting, and recently with Early Stage Careers in New York. She is the author of the book "Yes! The Job is Mine; 4 Steps to Get the Job” and founded 20sEmpowered.com, and previously My Career Catapult, to focus on young adult career development. Her previous experience includes Partner and Consultant with Heidrick & Struggles, an international executive search firm. Terry has a Myers-Briggs (MBTI) certification, Change Leadership certificate from eCornell, and a degree in Psychology from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.
Claudia Sáenz Amlie is the Chief People Officer at Pet Paradise. She previously served as 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.
Lisa is a transformational technology executive with diverse experiences across the healthcare and financial services industries. She joined Vystar as the Chief Information Officer in July 2021, bringing 25+ years experience leading technology organizations at global banks including Citi and Bank of America, as well as small and mid -size organizations. Lisa focuses on simplifying technology and reducing friction for members by making technology simpler and easier to use. Lisa began programming computers at the age of 12, and is passionate about closing the digital divide in under served communities where STEM education isn’t readily available.
A member of Woodlawn Presbyterian Church since relocating to Jacksonville from New York in 1972, Dr. Barbara Ann Darby retired as president of the North Campus and the Nassau Center of Florida State College at Jacksonville in July 2015. She held this position since 1998. Dr. Darby received her Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing from Hunter College in New York, a Master of Education degree from Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University and a Master of Science in Nursing from the University of Florida. She received her Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership from the University of North Florida. In 2021 she was awarded the Distinguished Alumni Award from UNF.
Among her leadership roles, Dr. Darby has served as president of Delta Sigma Theta Jacksonville Alumnae Chapter; president of the Links, Inc., Bold City Chapter; and chair of Leadership Jacksonville. She currently serves on the board of directors for the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, and has served on the board of directors for Kids Hope Alliance, City Rescue Mission, City Year Jacksonville and Volunteers in Medicine. She gives God, the Center of her life, all praise and glory for whatever she has accomplished.
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.
John Hirabayashi is president and chief executive officer of Community First Credit Union. Community First is headquartered in Jacksonville with 18 branch locations and $1.5 billion in assets. He has led Community First Credit Union since 1996.
Mr. Hirabayashi previously served as president and chief executive officer at Cal State 9 Credit Union from 1990 to 1996, chief financial officer at Patelco Credit Union from 1989 to 1990 and served in various positions at Pentagon Federal Credit Union from 1980 to 1989.
Mr. Hirabayashi is a member of the boards of directors of the Jacksonville Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens, the Jacksonville Public Education Fund, and the Davis College of Business, Jacksonville University, executive advisory board.
Mr. Hirabayashi received his MBA in finance from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and his bachelor’s in finance from the University of Colorado at Boulder and holds the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation.
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.
Whitney Meyer is the Senior Vice President and Chief Community Impact Officer for the Jacksonville Jaguars. She is responsible for the development and implementation of the Jaguars community impact initiatives, including operations of the Jaguars Foundation, Inspire Change and Social Justice Initiatives, and community activities in connection with local development projects.
She previously worked as the inaugural Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer at the University of North Florida. In that role she advised University leadership on diversity, inclusion and racial equity pertaining to strategies and policies, learning and research, community relations and the recruitment, retention and admission of faculty, staff and students of color.
Currently, Whitney serves on the Florida Sports Foundation Board, PS27 Foundation Board, JAX Chamber Hightower Fellowship Board, and the World Affairs Council Board. She also is a frequent volunteer for the Friends of Boone Park South.
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.
Susan B. Towler is executive director of the Florida Blue Foundation, established in 2001 as the philanthropic affiliate of Florida Blue. She is also executive director of corporate social responsibility (CSR) for Florida Blue and has responsibility for the company’s philanthropic strategy.
Prior to joining Florida Blue, Towler held previous public relations roles at Robin Shepherd Public Relations, Gulf Life Insurance Company, BancBoston Mortgage Corporation and was president of SEB Communications. She is an accredited member of the Public Relations Society of America.
Towler is actively involved in the philanthropic and social responsibility sector. Towler serves on the board of directors for several nonprofits including the Children’s Movement of Florida and Florida Humanities. She is the 2021-23 chair of the Florida Chamber Foundation. Towler is active with the Florida Philanthropic Network where she served as chair in 2016. She is also a graduate of Leadership Florida and served as its 2012-13 chair. Towler served as the 2013-14 chair of Volunteer Florida, the Governor’s Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service, and is past chair of the University of Florida Public Relations Advisory Council. She also served as vice-chair for the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens. Towler is an honorary member of Leadership Jacksonville and Florida Blue Key
Towler was named a “Woman of Heart” by Jacksonville Magazine and American Heart Association in 2021; “Woman with Heart” by Volunteers in Medicine Jacksonville in 2017; and a “Woman of Influence” by the Jacksonville Business Journal in 2004. The Girl Scouts of Gateway Council honored her with the “Women of Distinction” award in 2006. Towler was an EVE Awards finalist in 2013. She was chosen in 2018 as a Miami Herald “Influencer.” Florida Trend recognized Towler in the Florida 500 list of the state’s most influential business leaders for the past three years. Towler holds a Bachelor of Science in public relations from the University of Florida. She is married to Jim Towler and they have one daughter, Emma.
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.
Darryl Willie is a proud military child that has attended both low and high performing public schools. He has used the education he was afforded to work passionately for students for the past 15 years. He comes from a family of educators and deeply understands the value and potential of high-quality public education. As a former teacher, he has taught in both K-12 and university settings. He knows what it takes to prepare students to be successful on various levels. In his current role, he recruits, selects and trains new teachers and education leaders for Title I schools in Duval County. His “on the ground” experience has allowed him to partner with Duval County Public Schools Human Resources and certification staff, Principals, Duval Teachers United, parents, veteran teachers, and other invaluable community and school-based partners.
Dr. Dana Kriznar began her service to Duval area students in 1986 as a mathematics teacher after graduating from Iowa State University. She taught at John Gorrie Junior High School and then at Mandarin Middle School until 1993, when she entered school administration.
From 1993 to 2001, Dr. Kriznar served as a vice principal and assistant principal at multiple schools. As a first-time principal in 2001, she improved Thomas Jefferson Elementary School from a “C” to an “A” grade in just two years. She then transitioned to Kirby-Smith Middle School (now known as Springfield Middle School), where she again improved the school from a “C” to an “A” grade over three years. Her success in school leadership led to district-level leadership positions, including:
In May 2023, the Duval County School Board selected Dr. Kriznar to serve as the superintendent of schools for a six-month period while it conducts a national search for the successor to former superintendent, Dr. Diana Greene.
Upon being selected to serve during this interim time, Dr. Kriznar said, “At my core, I am Duval proud and grateful for this opportunity to work with our principals, teachers, and staff in this capacity. When it comes to student success and great schools, so much positive momentum has been generated in recent years, and I will be working with our school leaders to keep that momentum moving in a good direction.”
Dr. Kriznar is married to Brad, a retired Navy Senior Chief and Duval County Public Schools teacher. They have two adult sons, who both graduated from Duval public high schools, and a wonderful dog named Pete.
Gustavo Guzman is the VyStar Duval County Teacher of the Year. He grew up in Belle Glade Florida, the son of agricultural laborers. Early on, he learned the value of education. In high school, he had teachers and mentors who encouraged him to pursue education and helped him get admitted to Edward Waters College and University, becoming the first in his family to graduate from college. Upon graduating, he began teaching Biology at Terry Pines High School where he is also site director for 5000 Role Models of Excellence.
DID YOU KNOW?
of public schools in Duval County earned an "A," "B," or "C" in 2021-2022.