Dennis K. Baxley, Senator Florida Senate - District 12 Background Information Senator Dennis Baxley has passionately served the community for over fifty years. He started his career in funeral service by washing cars and mowing the lawn at Hiers Funeral Home in 1970. His dedication and hard work eventually led him to become a Partner and Principal Owner of Hiers-Baxley Funeral Services. He has been married to his wife Ginette for forty-eight years. Dennis & Ginette are parents to five children, three natural and two adopted children and eight grandchildren. Senator Baxley graduated from Florida State University in 1974 with a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology/Psychology, from Miami Dade Community College in 1975 with an A.S. degree in Funeral Service and from the College of Central Florida in 1972 with an A.A. degree. Dennis Baxley never imagined he would run for office, but he was asked to consider running for State Representative and was first elected to the Florida House of Representatives in 2000. He served as Speaker Pro Tempore under then-Speaker Marco Rubio during the 2007 term. Senator Baxley currently serves Senate District 12 representing the southern portion of Marion County, all of Sumter County, and the northern portion of Lake County. He sits on number of committees that include, Health Policy, Criminal Justice, Judiciary, Rules and he is the current chair of the Ethics & Elections Committee. He is an active member and elder at The Vine Community Church, a Southern Baptist work, and formerly served on the boards for the Florida Baptist Witness Publications. He currently serves on the boards of the Marion County Children’s Alliance, the Advisory Board of the Florida Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Student Leadership University and the Florida Council on the Social Status of Black Men and Boys. He is a past President and current member of the Belleview Rotary Club and a past President of the Belleview-South Marion Chamber of Commerce. He is also a current member of Gideon’s International, and the National Rifle Association. He is founding member and Florida Chairman of the National Association of Christian Lawmakers, and is a member of the Legislative Fellowship Prayer Group at the Florida Capitol.
Reggie Bellamy, County Commissioner, District 2 Manatee County Background Information Commissioner Reggie Bellamy was elected to the Board of County Commissioners in November 2018. His service to the public includes the Port Authority; Career Source Suncoast; Public Safety Coordinating Council, and the Tampa Bay Area Regional Transit Authority. He is a veteran of the United States Army.
Dr. James Bush, III., Representative Florida House of Representatives - District 109 Background Information Representative James Bush was elected to the House of Representatives from 1992-2000; re-elected in 2008 and 2018. He resides in Miami and is a retired teacher. His spouse is Bernadine Williams-Bush.
Tony Crews,Jr., M.S., FCCM, Instruction & Education Coordinator 'Florida Department of Management Services Background Information Mr. Tony Crews has proudly served as a Florida public servant for five years; and as an instructor for the Department of Management Services State Purchasing Division for three years. He is a combat veteran of the United States Armed Forces, and holds a Master’s Degree in Psychology from Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University. Mr. Crews is a current Mentor in the Kappa Alpha Psi Guide Right program of Tallahassee. He is also active with the Ahmed Temple #37 Prince Hall Shriners who support the Bond community of Tallahassee, FL. His contributions have been recognized by his leadership and peers for his unyielding devotion to serve those who serve the great state of Florida.
T. Willard Fair, President and Chief Executive Officer Urban League of Greater Miami, Inc. Background Information T.Willard Fair is President and Chief Executive Officer ofthe Urban League of Greater Miami, Inc. He is a powerful voice in the effort to improve his community. President Fair has met with four different Presidents of the United States, relative to Issues of concern to Black Americans. He was appointed by President George Bush, to the United State’s Advisory Committee on Cultural Affairs, where his duties, and responsibilities included visiting American embassies in Egypt, Oman and the United Kingdom to promote cultural diplomacy. He served on the United States People to People Ambassadors Program and traveled to Cuba to discuss issues related to child welfare and education. In 2010, he was appointed by President Barak Obama to the President’s Commission on White House Fellowships-Miami Regional Selection Panel.
Dakeyan C. Graham, Ph.D., Executive Director for the Office of Independent Education and Parental Choice Florida Department of Education Background Information Dr. Dakeyan C. Graham currently serves as the Executive Director for the Office of Independent Education and Parental Choice at the Florida Department of Education. He served as the Director of Instrumental Studies at his alma mater, C. Leon King High School from 2009-2020, the last year of which, he served as the 2020 Florida Teacher of the Year and Christa McAuliffe Ambassador for Education. He holds Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Music Education (University of Florida), a Master’s in Educational Leadership (Concordia University), and a Ph.D. in Music Education (University of South Florida). He is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in Learning Design and Information Technology from Florida State University. During his 10 years in HCPS, his students demonstrated determination, focus, and tenacity as they earned a performance position in the prestigious Carnegie Hall. While serving as the president of the Hillsborough Secondary Music Council and founder of the Eastern Coalition of Music Directors, Dr. Graham traveled around the state as an adjudicator for both the Florida Bandmasters and Orchestra Associations. His passion is to continue to positively impact the next generation of world changers.
Jerome K. Hill - Council Chairman, Program Administrator Agency for Health Care Administration Background Information Jerome Hill was appointed to the Council in 2017 by Deputy Secretary for Medicaid Beth Kidder. He currently serves as a Program Administrator for the Miami Medicaid Fair Hearing Unit located in Doral, Florida. Mr. Hill has extensive courtroom and administrative experience practicing law enforcement in the state of Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Florida. He began his career as a law enforcement officer for the Allegheny County Housing Authority Police Department then transitioning to Baltimore City Police Department. Mr. Hill later served as an Unlicensed Activities Investigator for the Department of Health, State of Florida, a position he held until he transitioned into various roles for the Agency of Health Care Administration.
Mike Mason, Assistant Deputy Secretary for Health Florida Department of Health Background Information Mike Mason is a graduate of Florida A& M University. He has served in various capacities during his 27 years with the Florida Department of Health (Department). Currently he is the Department’s Assistant Deputy Secretary for Health. Prior to his appointment as Assistant Deputy Secretary, he served as Contract Administrator for the Department’s Division of Disease Control & Health Protection and Director of the Department’s Office of Minority Health & Health Equity prior to that. Other post held by Mr. Mason include Deputy Bureau Chief of the Bureau of Chronic Disease Prevention and Administrative Director for the Department’s Healthy Start Program. Prior to coming to the department Mr. Mason served as director of a community-based-alcohol and drug treatment facility in Gadsden County.
Keantha B. Moore, Workforce Programs Administrator Florida Department of Economic Opportunity Background Information Keantha B. Moore currently serves as a Workforce Programs Administrator with the Department of Economic Opportunity’s (DEO) Division of Workforce Services, Bureau of One-Stop and Program Support. In this capacity, she is responsible for overseeing policy development and guidance for Florida’s 24 Local Workforce Development Boards, workforce training, grants management and programs/services for special populations. Mrs. Moore joined DEO in 2016 following nearly an eight-year tenure within Florida’s workforce development system at the local and state levels. Her workforce experience spans from working directly on the front lines assisting job seekers in need to serving as a member of senior leadership helping to establish the strategic direction for workforce programs and policies. Prior to her work in the workforce development arena, Mrs. Moore also had several years of management experience within various affordable housing programs. She has a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Flagler College and holds certifications as a Florida Certified Workforce Development Professional and Florida Certified Contract Manager.
Justine D. Patterson - 1st Vice Chairperson, Regional 4 Director for Community Corrections Florida Department of Corrections Background Information Justine Patterson was appointed to the Council in 2018 by the Secretary of the Florida Department of Corrections. She currently serves as the Region IV Director for Community Corrections. She began her career with FDC in 1988 as a Correctional Probation Officer and rose through the ranks. She was appointed as the Regional Director of Region IV Community Corrections in April 2016. Region IV consists of six Judicial Circuits, Circuit 11 Miami-Dade, Circuit 15 Palm Beach, Circuit 16 Marathon (Keys), Circuit 17 Broward, Circuit 19 Ft. Pierce, and Circuit 20 Ft. Meyers. Mrs. Patterson holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Bethune-Cookman University and a Master of Science Degree from Columbia Southern University in Criminal Justice.
Marva H. Preston Grace Embraced Ministry, Inc. Background Information Marva Preston has 32 years of experience in public service and has focused on ethics; values; and integrity. She served as a sworn police officer with the City of Miami Police Department, where she received an honorable retirement after 26 years of service. She and her husband Clyde Preston; are the founders of Grace Embraced Ministry, Inc., a non-profit outreach ministry. This service has given her opportunities to organize/facilitate seminars; events; programs and to encourage healthy lifestyles. She and her husband reside in Wakulla County and are currently involved in several community organizations.
Ben F. Shirley, Jr. - 2nd Vice Chairman, Regional Economic Self Sufficiency Director Florida Department of Children and Families Background Information Ben F. Shirley, Jr. was appointed to the Council in 2011 by former Secretary David Wilkins of the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) in which he served for two years. Mr. Shirley was re-appointed to the Council in 2016 by Secretary Mike Carroll of DCF. He currently serves as the Regional Director of the Office of Economic Self Sufficiency (ESS) within the Suncoast Region. In his role he’s responsible for all aspects of ESS Programs and Operations. Mr. Shirley has decades of systems and operational expertise and experience. He has held various leadership positions within the Department. Mr. Shirley has a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University. He is also a Certified Public Manager and a Florida Sterling Examiner.
Marcus Smith, Vice Chairman, Programs and Policy Chief, Office of Prevention and Victim Services Florida Department of Juvenile Justice Background Information Marcus Smith was appointed to the Council in 2017 by Cristina Daly, Secretary for the Department of Juvenile Justice. He currently serves as Programs and Policy Chief in the Office of Prevention and Victim Services. Mr. Smith is a native of Gretna, Florida, where he also serves as Senior Pastor of the Beulah Hill Baptist Church. He previously served as Deputy Director of Legislative Affairs and Statewide Coordinator for the Department’s Disproportionate Minority Contact Initiative. Mr. Smith has extensive programmatic and contractual experience serving in many professional roles throughout DJJ. He has a long history in community planning and engagement. Mr. Smith currently serves on the board of directors for the Bethel Empowerment Foundation Inc., and was appointed to the Florida Faith-based and Community-based Advisory Council in 2015 by Governor Rick Scott. He is a graduate of Florida A&M University with a major in Public Management.
Pat Smith, CPM, Executive Director, Florida Children and Youth Cabinet Florida Department of Children and Families Background Information Pat Smith has more than 20 years of experience in the areas of community development, leadership, and communications. She joined the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) in 2007, and currently serves as the Executive Director of the Florida Children and Youth Cabinet. She has held various communications positions within DCF, including Northwest Regional Communications Director, Press Secretary, and Community Relations Director. She is a motivational speaker and former radio talk show host on WTAL-1450 AM. She is a certified public manager from Florida State University and known for her community engagement. Specifically, for forging strong relationships among faith-based and community leaders. She believes in giving back to her community. She enjoys mentoring young women and girls, as well as serving on a host of state and local boards; as a gubernatorial appointment to the Florida Faith-Based and Community-Based Advisory Council, the Renaissance Charter School, Ladies Learning to Lead, and formerly serving on the Leon County Commission on the Status of Women and Girls. She has received honors and recognitions from various organizations, including the Tallahassee Democrat’s 25 Women You Need to Know, Tallahassee Community College, Florida Public Relations Association, and the NAACP. She is a proud mom, grandmother, and wife.
Perry E. Thurston, Jr., Senator Florida Senate - District 33 Background Information The Honorable Perry E. Thurston, Jr. was appointed to the Council in 2017 by Senate President Joe Negron. He is currently a Florida Senator to district 33. Senator Perry Thurston is an Attorney. He is a graduate of the University of Miami School of Law, J.D., Morehouse College, and School of Business, B.A., Finance.
Dana Trabulsy, Representative Florida House of Representatives - District 84 Background Information Originally from Atlanta Georgia, Representative Trabulsy moved to Florida in 1986, and has called St. Lucie County her home since 1991. With the encouragement of family and friends, She created All Things Treasure Coast in 2016; a top ranked marketing and digital advertising agency. She recently gifted her business to the St. Lucie County Chamber of Commerce and took a position as Director of Marketing for the Treasure Coast Food Bank. This position allows her to the flexibility to focus on her commitment as a legislature when she must work remotely. In addition, Representative Trabulsy also co-owns The Treasure Coast Business Summit; the premier business to business event within a four-county area. Prior to pursuing her passion to be an entrepreneur, she was Director of Marketing and Public Relations for Panera Bread on the East Coast of Florida. Although she has and continues to belong to and participate in many professional and nonprofit organizations, her heart is devoted to helping break the stigma of mental illness. More than anything, Representative Trabulsy is most proud of her children, whom she claims raised her, her husband and a successful and loving blended family. She firmly believes that it’s not what you have in life, it’s what you do with what you have.
Paul V. Wilson, Senior Associate - Education PCG Education Consulting Background Information Paul V. Wilson was appointed to the Council by Governor Rick Scott. He currently serves as the Senior Associate with the PCG Education Consulting firm. Mr. Wilson began his career with Miami-Dade County Public Schools as a teacher. He has served in the capacity of assistant principal and principal. As the father of two boys, and being a husband, he truly understands the value of being a positive role model in the lives of children. Mr. Wilson is also the son of Congresswoman Frederica Wilson, founder of the 5000 Role Models of Excellence Project. He holds an Elementary Education Degree; Florida A&M University, Tallahassee, Florida, a Master’s Degree in Urban Education; Florida International University, and a certification in Educational Leadership.
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For information regarding the Florida Council on the Social Status of Black Men and Boys, please contact:
Florida Council on the Social Status of Black Men and Boys
107 West Gaines Street
Tallahassee, Florida 32301
Florida Council on the Social Status of Black Men and Boys
107 West Gaines Street
Tallahassee, Florida 32301