Achieving Kindergarten Readiness through Collaboration

Meet the People & Partners who help us Thrive

In order to ensure that all children in Pinellas County are ready for kindergarten, we rely on a diverse group of partners, committees, and individuals. Together, we can best align efforts and resources to make sure the right help gets in front of the right people — as efficiently as possible.

Leadership Council

Comprising key players in the early childhood landscape, the Thrive by Five steering committee provides strategic guidance, direct access to a breadth of knowledge and resources, and unique opportunities to collaborate and align endeavors.

Kathleen Beckman

Vice Mayor
Clearwater City Council

Dustin Becker

Director, Client & Community Relations
PNC Bank

Alyssa Bedard

Community Representative
Birthing through Life

Nicole Brown

Director of Education
United Way Suncoast

Paula Burns

Family Resource Specialist
Early Steps, Johns Hopkins
All Children’s Hospital

Dr. LaDonna Butler

Chief Executive Officer
The Well for Life

Lindsay Carson

Chief Executive Officer
Early Learning Coalition of Pinellas

Dr. Jesse Coraggio

Senior Vice President
of Community Impact
Community Foundation Tampa Bay

Dr. Rick Davis

Concerned Organization for Quality Education
for Black Students, Inc. (COQEBS)

Michael Feeney

Executive Director of Elementary Education
Pinellas County Schools

Denise Ford

Parent Representative
Ford Christian Academy

Joan Freese

Director of Education

Dr. Bilan Joseph

Strategic Initiatives Manager
Foundation for Healthy St. Pete

Dr. Amy Haile

Champions for Children

Ray Hensley

Healthy Families Director
Florida Department of Health Pinellas

Dianne Jacob

Community Member

Dr. James McHale

Executive Director
University of South Florida St. Petersburg Infant-Family Mental Health Center

Jennifer Mekler

Director of Early Education
Pinellas County Schools

Kelley Miller

Screening & Intervention Program Manager
Early Learning Coalition of Pinellas

Mary Jo Plews

Chief Executive Officer
Healthy Start Coalition of Pinellas, Inc.

Eliseo Santana

Community Representative
League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC)

Pastor Carlos Senior

Pastor Carlos Senior
New Hope St. Pete

Marlene Spalten

Chief Executive Officer
Community Foundation Tampa Bay

Madeleine Thakur

The Children’s Movement of Florida

Chuck Tiernan

Senior Director
LEAP Tampa Bay

Delquanda Turner-Smith

Equity Consultant
Pinellas Education Foundation

Work Groups

As part of the formula to achieve collective success in this critical work, Thrive by Five has established Work Groups dedicated to focusing on areas identified through comprehensive research and strategic planning. Work Groups are led by passionate volunteers and staff including a range of community members, organizations and businesses.

Business Engagement

Supporting family-friendly workplaces and private sector champions of early education

Children & Caregiver Success

Ensuring equitable access to quality programs while hearing and responding to the specific needs of families in Pinellas County

Systems Alignment

Working together to streamline processes for families to access services