Partnership for Strong Families is led by a board of passionate and dedicated individuals who are helping to create a brighter future for local children and families. Scroll down to learn more about this team, or click on the video below to hear Board Director Donavan Arnold share why he is committed to PSF’s mission.
Check out one of our board members, Donavan Arnold, share his “why” for National Foster Care Month. We are so thankful to have him on our team and for all he does to share our message throughout the community! #NFCM2018 #NationalFosterCareMonth #FocusOnFostering #RelativeCaregiver
Posted by Partnership for Strong Families on Monday, May 14, 2018
PSF’s Board of Directors can be reached via email at BoardChair@pfsf.org.
EDWARD C. PEDDIE – CHAIR
Mr. Peddie is the President & CEO Emeritus of Santa Fe Healthcare and a Visiting Instructor at the University of Florida, where he teaches a graduate Health Sciences course entitled “Entrepreneurship and Innovation.”
Mr. Peddie received his bachelor’s degree from the School of Psychology, Florida State University and his master’s degree in hospital administration from the School of Public Health, University of Minnesota. He is a 1990 graduate of the Harvard Business School’s Advanced Management Program.
A Vietnam veteran, Mr. Peddie served as a Captain in the U.S. Army Medical Services Corps and spent a year as advisor to the Republic of South Vietnam Armed Forces’ Surgeon General and the Minister of Health of Vietnam. He was awarded the Bronze Star for meritorious service by Military Assistance Command, Vietnam and an equivalent Medal by the Vietnamese Armed Forces Surgeon General for his meritorious work in Vietnam.
Mr. Peddie is a former Board Member of the American Association of Health Plans, the Hospital Research and Educational Trust of the American Hospital Association, the Florida Council for Economic Education, the Alliance of Community Health Plans, the Florida Hospital Association, the South Florida Hospital and Healthcare Association, and many others. Mr. Peddie currently serves on the Board of Directors of Webber International University and Partnership for Strong Families.
DR. MICHAEL BOWIE – CHAIR EMERITUS
Dr. Michael V. Bowie has a master’s degree from Penn State University and completed his Ph.D. at the University of Florida in Veterinary Medical Sciences. Dr. Bowie is the Executive Director of the Florida Fund for Minority Teachers, Inc, and the Director of the Office of Recruitment, Retention, and Multicultural Affairs for the College of Education at the University of Florida. He advocates for funding for educational programs, is responsible for raising $3 million in scholarships per year and hosts an annual conference for minorities in teacher education programs. His interest in education became a passion through his experiences with the College Reach-Out Program (CROP), a program for economically and academically disadvantaged youth, where he has served as a former coordinator, instructor and summer camp counselor. Dr. Bowie serves as the UF administrator for the College Reach-Out Program.
As President and Founder of Black AIDS Services and Education, Inc., President of the Alachua County Branch of the N.A.A.C.P., Board Member of the Cultural Arts Coalition and State Education Committee Member of the NAACP, Dr. Bowie is a pillar in the Alachua County and Gainesville communities. He has received hundreds of awards and honors.
KATHRYN (KITTY) MCELHANEY – SECRETARY
Kitty McElhaney obtained her Specialist in Education from Nova University and also holds a Master’s in Business Management from Central Michigan University and a Bachelor’s in Mathematics Education from Ohio Dominican College. She has received numerous honors and recognitions including Teacher of the Year and Assistant Principal of the Year. Ms. McElhaney has more than 40 years of experience in the school system serving in both teacher and administrative roles.
Ms. McElhaney is a member of Delta Kappa Gamma Society and currently sits on the Board of Take Stock in Children. She is also a member of Altrusa International, of which she sat on the Board for four years. She has taken an active role in her community and provides a keen insight into the needs of residents of Columbia County to PSF’s Board of Directors. Her experience in the education system helps to guide PSF’s Board in making important decisions to ensure children in our care have their academic needs and goals supported.
DR. TOM HAWKINS – TREASURER
Dr. William Hawkins has served on the boards of a myriad of professional societies and hospitals, including the Alachua General Hospital Executive Committee, the Alachua County Medical Society, the Florida Radiological Society, the United Way Alachua County, the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce, the American Cancer Society of Alachua County, the Gainesville Rotary Club, the Vestry Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, Atlantic Bank and the Gainesville Development Company.
Ms. Ester Tibbs has a Master’s degree in Social Work from Atlanta University and a Bachelors’ of Arts in Sociology from Alabama A&M University. In 2011, Ms. Tibbs retired from the Department of Children and Families, where she served children and families of our community for nearly 35 years. She began working as a social worker for the North Florida Evaluation and Treatment Center and was later promoted to Director of the Psychiatric Unit. Beginning in 1984 and until she retired, Ms. Tibbs held several management positions with the state serving District 3, the most recent of which being Circuit Administrator for the Department of Children and Families’ Circuits 3 and 8. In this position, she had a significant role in the privatization of child welfare locally and worked closely with PSF to ensure the child welfare system provided a strong safety net for this community. Ms. Tibbs actively serves the community as a Board Member of the Community Foundation of North Central Florida, Chair for the Women’s Giving Circle, Vice-Chair for Friends of Children, Inc., as well as an active member of United Way, Altrusa International and Gainesville Women’s Forum. In addition, she mentors students through Take Stock in Children and is a Reading Pal through United Way. Ms. Tibbs brings a wealth of knowledge and strong commitment to serving children and families to the Board and to our community.
DR. MUTHUSAMI KUMARAN
Dr. Muthusami Kumaran is the Assistant Professor of Nonprofit Management & Community Organizations, Department of Family, Youth & Community Sciences, College of Agricultural & Life Sciences, University of Florida. He has a Ph.D. in Public Administration and a Ph.D. in Urban & Public Affairs. His teaching, research and service works revolve around management capacity building for nonprofit organizations. He teaches various courses on nonprofit management. He has assisted numerous nonprofits in the USA and NGOs in India, South Korea and The Bahamas in enhancing their organizational capacities and management practices. He currently serves on the UF President’s Council on Diversity and as the Chair of UF International Center’s India Working Group.
He also serves on the boards of Florida 4-H Foundation, Alachua Conservation Trust and as a Trustee of Sethu Valliammal Education Trust, a large educational NGO that operates schools and colleges in India. He has received several honors and awards in recognition of his teaching, research and service excellence including: The Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonel, UF/IFAS International Achievement Award, NACTA (North American Colleges & Teachers of Agriculture) Educator Award and Social Reformer Award.
Diana McPherson holds a bachelor’s in Education, a master’s in special education and a law degree. Ms. McPherson is a former legal services attorney with the Eight Judicial Circuit and is experienced in the fields of law and mediation, particularly involving family law issues. Before her retirement from practicing law, she held several gubernatorial appointments and was active on city, county and non-profit organization boards of directors including the United Way of Alachua County, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, ACORN Health Center and the Alachua County Department of Corrections Advisory Board.
Ms. McPherson joined the board of PSF in 2013 and serves on the Community and Government Relations Committee. She is also active in the Alachua County branch of the NAACP (Secretary 2004-2010), ACT-SO Chair 2008-2010), the Cultural Arts Coalition board of directors and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority (President 2005-2007, Financial Secretary 2009-2012).
Donavan Arnold was born and raised in Gainesville. Mr. Arnold attended Lake City Community College and Santa Fe College before earning his real estate license. He is currently a realtor for Keller Williams Realty in Gainesville, which has given him a strong ability to build relationships and network within the community. His business background and experience in the Gainesville community have made him a welcome addition to the board.
Mr. Arnold became passionate about child welfare in 2013 when he became the permanent guardian for his two nephews. Mr. Arnold is a great asset to the board as he has worked with PSF first-hand and has a unique understanding of the issues that children and families in our care can face. He has a great commitment to helping PSF expand our presence in the community.
Barbara Locke is a 50-year resident of Florida, with more than 40 years of service to the Florida Department of Health. She holds a Master’s Degree in Public Health and a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing. Ms. Locke lives in Levy County, is currently the Administrator for the Dixie, Gilchrist & Levy County Health Departments, and oversees the Healthy Start and Healthy Families programs. She has served on the Board of the Rural Health Network for 15 years, the Early Learning Coalition of the Nature Coast for 10 years, Suwannee River Area Health Education Center for six years, Whispering Winds Charter School and FACCHO for five years and the North Central Florida Health Planning Council for three years. She and her husband have one son.
Will Halvosa has served the Gainesville Police Department (GPD) for over 30 years, rising steadily through the ranks and earning multiple awards for his merit and dedication to the force. These include the prestigious RT Angel Award for outstanding detective work, as well as two RB Ward Awards for supervisory excellence.
Mr. Halvosa holds a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice from the University of Florida and currently serves as the Disproportionate Minority Contact Coordinator at the GPD. He continues to be a steady lead on many GPD initiatives involving racial and ethnic disparities, youth, and the community’s relationship with the justice system. He also helped develop and now teaches the Department of Juvenile Justice’s DMC and Procedural Justice Training program around the state of Florida through the Fox Valley Technical Institute.
In addition to being on PSF’s Board of Directors, Mr. Halvosa also serves on the board of the Child Advocacy Center and IWI YouthBuild.
Beyond his work, Will enjoys exercising, golf, old cars and raising a variety of farm animals. He and his wife have three children.
Linda Tatum is the retired treasurer of the Tatum Brothers Lumber Co. in Lawtey, Florida, as well as a former member of the Bradford County Library Board (1991-1997). After its establishment in 1999, she also spent 15 years as Chair of Bradford County’s Communities in Schools (CIS) program for at-risk kids. During that time, CIS introduced the Take Stock in Children initiative, which was designed to help those at-risk children attend college.
In 2001, Linda was asked to join the board of what is now known as CareerSource of North Central Florida. Since then, she has at been Vice Chair and Chair, and now serves on both the Executive and the Finance Committee. Linda is also currently Chair of the Affordable Housing Board for the State Housing Initiative Program.
In the past, she served on the Transportation Boards in Gainesville and Starke, as well as in Gainesville’s Chamber of Commerce as President of the Chamber.
Today, Linda is a valued member of PSF’s Board of Directors and a member of our Community and Government Relations Committee. She is a volunteer Guardian ad Litem which gives her a unique prospective and viewpoint of the children in our care.
For all her years of service and commitment to making a positive impact on her community, Linda has been named a “Woman of Distinction” by Santa Fe Community College. Linda has been a Florida resident for over 70 years, and is a beloved mother, grandmother and great-grandmother.
Elizabeth Mitchell is an active member of her Hamilton County community and brings both professional and personal experience with social work to her role as a Partnership for Strong Families board member. Ms. Mitchell graduated from Florida State University in 2004 with a degree in social work and currently works as a guidance counselor at Hamilton County High School in Jasper. She spent years working as a social worker and also has experience as a relative caregiver, caring for and eventually adopting her biological nephew James.
She presently serves as a member of the Hamilton County Strategic Healthcare Planning Committee, and is an active Sunday School Instructor and Vacation Bible School Music Director at First Presbyterian Church of Jasper. She previously served as a Board Member of the United Way of the Suwannee Valley and participated in the Hamilton County Child Abuse Prevention Taskforce.
Beverly Pope is a married mother of seven children and lives in Lake City. In addition to adopting three of her sons, Ms. Pope and her husband served as foster parents for five years and non-relative caregivers to two children for a year. She works as an Administrator at the VA Medical Center in Lake City, where she has been employed for over 27 years.
Through her role as a Partnership for Strong Families board member, Ms. Pope aspires to “Be about the change.” She is passionate and eager to bring additional ideas concerning resources for foster parents and children. In her spare time, she serves as President for both the local Foster Adoptive Parent Association and Woman Missionary Society.
AMANDA WILLIAMS CRUCE
Amanda Williams Cruce brings extensive experience as an advocate for foster children and as a foster parent to the Partnership for Strong Families board. She has fostered for over six years and is known in the community for going above and beyond for her children, even donating a kidney in 2018 to save the life of her foster son.
Ms. Cruce is one of the founding members of the Birth and Foster Parent Partnership, an initiative to push the boundaries of birth parent and foster parent collaboration. She also served as President of the Alachua County Foster Adoptive Parent Association. In addition, Ms. Cruce is an active consultant with the Capacity Building Center for States and travels across the country to assist the implementation of federal legislation. She has a Masters in Social Work from The University of Texas at Arlington and works as a medical social worker in the community.
ADVISORY BOARD MEMBERS
SHERIFF ROBERT SCHULTZ