Advisory Council Goals

The goal of the Polk Academies Advisory Board is to link the resources of business, education, and local community in order to promote higher education, career pathways, and active civic participation. Board members assist academies by providing:

  1. Industry expertise to support Academy curriculum
  2. Assist in student recruitment
  3. Provide internships for academy students
  4. Encourage other community businesses to support academy initiatives
  5. Advocacy to promote workforce education to political leaders and the business community
  6. Financial assistance to secure funding for program activities, internships, and scholarships

With the current focus on “high skill, high wage, high demand” employment, it is critical that we work together to ensure that the next generation of employees and leaders are prepared to maintain the future growth of our economy.



Polk Academies Advisory Board

The goal of the Polk Academies Advisory Board is to link the resources of business, education, and local community in order to promote higher education, career pathways, and active civic participation.

With the current focus on “high skill, high wage, high demand” employment, it is critical that we work together to ensure that the next generation of employees and leaders are prepared to maintain the future growth of our economy.

Polk Academies Executive Advisory Board

  • Melony Bell, Florida House of Representatives, Alignment Chair
  • Dr. Naomi Boyer, Boyer Construction, Vice Chair
  • Debbie Burdett, Central Florida Speech & Hearing Center, Executive Board Chair & Academy Development Chair
  • Steven Cochran, Workforce Education, Secretary
  • Kim Long, Polk Vision
  • Cindy McCalla, Lakeland Electric
  • Stephen Senn, Peterson & Myers, P.A., Parlimentarian
  • Rick Wilson, Board of County Commissioners




Polk Academies Advisory Board

  • Gospel Witte, Badcock Home Furniture
  • Dr. Brenda Hardman, Bartow High School
  • Sean Malott, Central Florida Development Council
  • Lindsey Zimmerman, Central Florida EDC
  • Jay Robinson, City of Bartow
  • Ryan Leavengood, City of Lake Alfred
  • James Ring, City of Lakeland PD
  • Patricia Jackson, City of Polk City
  • Trudy Block, Community Member
  • Carole McKenzie, Farm Bureau
  • Carmen Smith, GEICO
  • Trish Pfeiffer, Greater Bartow Chamber
  • Diana Simmons, Greater Mulberry Chamber of Commerce
  • Alice Hunt, Hunt Construction of Central Florida
  • John Clancey, iBuild
  • Derek Adams, Keiser University
  • Kevin Kieft CEcD, Lake Wales Area Chamber of Commerce & Economic Development Council
  • Laura Taylor, Lakeland Economic Development Council
  • Alaina Johnson, Lakeland Regional Health
  • Michael Paruta M.S., ILR, Lakeland Regional Health
  • Wesley Barnett, Noble Hour
  • Ashley Bell Barnett, Noble Hour
  • Meri Mass, Polk Arts Alliance
  • Carol Walker, Polk County Property Appraiser
  • Hazel Sellers, Polk County School Board
  • Jeanette Crowley, Polk County Schools
  • Joy Clancey, Polk Manufacturing Association / MSCA
  • Dr. Patricia Jones, Polk State College
  • Maria Lehoczky, Polk State College
  • Orthai Northern, Polk State College
  • Martina Warner, Polk State College
  • Robert Clancey, Polk State College-Corporate College
  • Howard Drake, Polk State College-Corporate College
  • Christopher Yannes, Polk State College-Corporate College
  • Gina Hunt, Publix
  • Michelle Patten Wilde, Publix
  • Ana Rivera, Puerto Rican / Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Polk County, Inc
  • Dr. Wayne Dickens, Ridge Techinical College
  • Larry Bull, Rockford Ettco Procunier
  • Amy Trimble, Southeastern University
  • Danny Kushmner, SWWMD
  • Seretha Tinsley, Tinsley Family Concessions
  • Ryan Taylor, Town of Dundee
  • David Wiggs, Traviss Techinical College
  • Mark Jackson, Visit Central Florida
  • Andrea Prather SPHR, SHRM-SCP, W.S. Badcock Corporation
  • David Byrd, Warner University
  • David McCraw, Warner University
  • Bruce Lyon, Winter Haven Economic Development Council




Workforce Education

  • Shaquita Armstrong
  • Leann Bennett
  • Steven Cochran
  • Amanda Cook
  • Tamarah Fields
  • Doug Harwell
  • Kristen Hathcock
  • Valarie Henry
  • Namita Jaitly
  • Henry Koger
  • Misty Lynn
  • Tanya Peavy
  • Serena Peeler
  • Tina Sparr
  • Paul Webb
  • Luke Witte
  • Derrick Woodard