THE ENGAGEMENT Team
Beatriz Paniego Bejar
Kelli Karen Smith
Shana Fitzpatrick Zamikoff
Cindy Balistreri began working with The Patterson Foundation in October 2017. At The Patterson Foundation, she partners with Wendy Katz to promote and encourage participation and improvements in EdExploreSRQ, the website that connects teachers, administrators, and parents to hundreds of curriculum-aligned learning experiences for students.
Cindy moved to Sarasota in 1956 and has 38 years of experience in arts education and educational leadership in the Sarasota County Schools. During her career, she served on local and state curriculum standard and assessment writing teams. She served as president of the Florida Elementary Music Association, Florida Music Supervision Association, and the 4000+ member Florida Music Education Association. She was selected the Sarasota County Elementary Teacher of the Year and the Florida Music Educator of the Year. She received the Arts Education Leadership Award from the Sarasota County Arts Council/Arts and Cultural Alliance. She has presented at local, state, and national conferences, as well as authored articles for multiple publications on music and arts education, including arts integration.
Upon her retirement in 2009 from the school district, the Community/Schools Partnership for the Arts (C/SPA) initiated the “Cindy Balistreri Arts Leadership Award,” presented annually to an outstanding Sarasota teacher for achievements in arts education. Since 2009, she has worked part-time for the Arts and Cultural Alliance as the arts education manager in addition to consulting with local arts and education organizations in various projects. She has continued to work with the Arts Education Task Force and C/SPA to advocate for arts education K–12. She managed the Artists in Schools program that is part of EdExploreSRQ and created an educational program for Patriot Plaza, one of the original initiatives of The Patterson Foundation. She created school and adult tours for Patriot Plaza, developed Grades 4–12 education materials, implemented the Patriot Plaza Guide docent training, and scheduled tours for schools and the community.
She earned a Bachelor of Music Education from Florida State University in 1970 and a Master of Science in Educational Administration and Supervision in 1985 from University of South Florida. She is a classical pianist and clarinetist.
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Consultant,Sandy Beckley began working with The Patterson Foundation in January 2010 as the Military Consultant. She was tasked with developing a team to design a major enhancement to Sarasota National Cemetery and to develop a partnership with the National Cemetery Administration (NCA). Patriot Plaza was designed, constructed, and donated to the NCA in June 2014.
Sandy continues her contributions as the lead Patriot Plaza consultant and national liaison. She is responsible for managing connections with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs as well as communities near national cemeteries interested in pursuing projects similar to Patriot Plaza. She also works with the Arts and Cultural Alliance of Sarasota in the coordination of the Patriot Plaza Guides.
Sandy founded B Team Consulting, LLC, upon her retirement from the National Cemetery Administration, Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in December 2009. B Team Consulting is committed to providing “A” results and a continued commitment to honoring our nation's veterans. Sandy completed her 39 years with the VA as the Director of Sarasota National Cemetery. She was responsible for opening Sarasota and Georgia National Cemeteries. At both of these new national shrines, she worked directly with contractors and VA engineers to ensure that all milestones were reached and cemeteries opened on time.
Sandy began her career with the VA in 1971 as a personnel specialist in Danville, Illinois, before transferring to Danville (IL) National Cemetery as a technical assistant. In 1984, she became director of Florence National Cemetery in South Carolina. From May 1988 until her retirement, she was director of Barrancas (FL), Mobile (AL), Marietta (GA), Georgia, and Sarasota (FL) National Cemeteries. As director, she was responsible for all burial and maintenance operations.
Sandy and her husband of 50 years reside in Pace, Florida.
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Consultant,Bob Carter's professional background includes more than 40 years of organizational leadership experience. In December 2015, he retired as President & CEO of the regional nonprofit Friendship Centers (formerly known as Senior Friendship Centers), having served in that capacity for over two decades. Since January 2016, he has served as an independent consultant and strategic advisor for The Patterson Foundation’s Age-Friendly Sarasota Initiative.
A strong advocate for older adults as well as a community leader, Bob led numerous statewide and regional organizations including the Florida Council on Aging, Florida Association of Service Providers, Sarasota County Aging Network, and Glasser/Schoenbaum Human Services Center. He was the first chairman of the Sarasota County Seniors Advisory Council and also served as a delegate to the White House Conference on Aging.
Bob holds a Master of Public Administration degree and served as a United States Army Officer. Recent honors include the Friendship Centers' inaugural "Senior Advocacy Award," which now bears his name, and the Florida Council on Aging's "2016 Dr. Carter Osterbind Outstanding Member Award."
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As Founder and President of ASC Consulting & Marketing, Ashley Coone works as a connector and strategist for nonprofit organizations, businesses, and individuals.
She is a graduate of Florida Gulf Coast University where she earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management. She also holds a Master’s Degree in Management and Leadership from Webster University. She began her career in politics serving in the office of Congressman Connie Mack IV and has worked with numerous candidates. In June 2016, she was appointed by Governor Rick Scott to serve as DeSoto County Clerk of the Circuit Court.
Ashley has served on the Florida Commission on Ethics, the Early Learning Coalition of Florida’s Heartland, and the Florida Gulf Coast University Alumni Association Board. She is the co-founder of Links2Success and successfully spearheaded the efforts to open the first Boys & Girls Club in her hometown of Arcadia, Florida.
Prior to launching her consulting firm, Ashley served as executive director of the DeSoto County Chamber of Commerce. She is a graduate of Leadership Florida Connect, Leadership Lee County, Gulf Coast Leadership Institute, and Leadership DeSoto.
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Senior Consultant, TPF Administration; Consultant,
As an independent consultant, Michael Corley works with organizational leaders in a consulting and/or advising role for the purpose of improving operational effectiveness and expanding leadership. Michael began working with The Patterson Foundation in 2009, and he continues to lead various initiatives and provide operational oversight at TPF.
Previously, Michael served for six years as President/Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer for a $47 million professional employer organization (PEO) based in Sarasota, Florida. Earlier experiences in Nashville, Tennessee, include positions as the Vice President of Marketing for a healthcare IT company, Executive Director of a physician-hospital organization, and administrator for a 26-member physician practice.
Michael graduated from the University of Tennessee with a Bachelor of Science in Marketing, and he received his Master of Business Administration from the University of South Florida. He is Treasurer of the Board for Take Stock in Children Manatee and is active at Harvest United Methodist Church. Michael is married to Stacey, with whom he has two sons. He enjoys reading and training for endurance events.
Join Michael on Twitter: @michaelpcorley
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Wilma Hamilton Delp
Wilma Hamilton Delp is an eclectic educator, having served in both public and private schools and at the university level. She has been a teacher and a principal for students of all levels and abilities.
Wilma has served as a coordinator of gifted education, a director of special education, a secondary school director, and an associate superintendent for instruction (K–12). She retired as the Superintendent of Schools in Sarasota County, Florida. By the close of her tenure, student achievement was consistently among the highest in the state.
Wilma has also worked throughout the country as a consultant with private foundations and their partner schools/districts. All of this work has focused on improving student achievement and providing equity and opportunity.
Wilma's emphasis is — as it has always been — to ensure the quality of the school or system by developing the internal capacity of all staff members. She believes that systemic, sustainable, and mission-driven professional development, combined with ongoing coaching and staff support, is key. Leadership development remains a hallmark of her work.
She is currently working as an initiative consultant with The Patterson Foundation in Sarasota, Florida, a community that is coming together around the importance of early learning with particular emphasis on reading. She is committed to focusing the community's talent and resources on this opportunity to help improve the reading comprehension of children from all backgrounds.
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Deborah Gauvreau has successfully worked with people and organizations interested in the social sector for over 30 years. She gained expertise from her experiences with facilitating collaborative ventures, strategic planning, board development, capacity building, marketing, and research and assessment of diverse community challenges.
Deborah is deeply committed to bringing ideas into reality, supporting the development of synergistic systems, and contributing positive pathways to creating a world that works for everyone. Her work is consistently attuned to moving from vision to action through group process involving learning more, assessing needs and assets, identifying what is important, and implementing meaningful change.
Since relocating to Southwest Florida in 2007, Deborah has facilitated collaborative projects with the Southwest Florida Community Foundation, Collier Community Foundation, Cape Coral Community Foundation, and the Charlotte Community Foundation. Here in Florida and in California where she lived and worked for many years, Deborah has worked in leadership capacities with organizations as a consultant, chief executive, board member, officer, and volunteer. She has enjoyed the opportunity to be a part of The Patterson Foundation team working on initiatives and projects focusing on the acceleration of success for people, organizations, and communities.
Deborah is a BoardSource Certified Governance Trainer. She also has a master's degree in public health in human ecology and a master's degree in clinical psychology. She lives with her husband, Emile, and their dog Marco who defines the word Happy.
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Linda Gould serves as the Community Connection Consultant for The Patterson Foundation's Patriot Plaza initiative. In this role, Linda shares Patriot Plaza's story, purpose, and impact throughout our local region and community outreach. She also shares the many ways organizations can use Patriot Plaza at Sarasota National Cemetery. Linda is also a team leader in the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading (SCGLR). SCGLR is an initiative for Manatee and Sarasota counties that is designed to explore new ways to deliver the support and resources children need to achieve reading proficiency early in life and build a strong foundation for future success.
Linda retired as a Colonel from the U.S. Army in 2011, with more than 29 years of active duty service. She served first as a Military Intelligence Officer and then as a fully accredited Latin American Foreign Area Officer. Her career highlight was serving as the Commander of US Military Group Guatemala from 2006–2009, the first female Army officer to command a US Military Group in Latin America. She completed her final tour of duty as the Deputy Chief of Studies at the Inter-American Defense College at Ft. McNair, Washington, DC, in July 2011.
Linda holds a Master of Arts in Latin American Studies from the University of New Mexico and a Master of Strategic Studies from the US Army War College. She received her undergraduate degree in International Studies/Latin America from the University of South Florida and is fluent in Spanish.
Join Linda on Twitter: @llgouldsrq
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Lead Consultant, Strategy and Communications
As Founder and CEO of her own strategic communications firm in Sarasota, Florida, Roxanne Joffe helps organizations solve complex communications issues using today’s strategies and technology.
Roxanne is uniquely qualified to help organizations connect and do good in a resource-challenged world. She combines the insight of a founder of three very different companies with the skill of a master communicator. She leads The Patterson Foundation’s communications team. In that role, she continues to introduce innovative methods and techniques to the social sector.
Her experience in the nonprofit world includes many leadership positions from board chair of SCOPE (Sarasota County Openly Plans for Excellence) to chair of the Komen Vermont Race for the Cure. Roxanne is a graduate of Leadership Florida. She is a member of the International Women’s Forum, a prestigious consortium advancing women’s leadership around the world. She is also a recipient of the Athena Award and was named Woman Entrepreneur of the Year by the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce.
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Dr. Wendy Katz has been an educator for 44 years. She was born and raised in a suburb of Philadelphia, in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. She moved to Sarasota, Florida, in the summer of 1977. Her expansive career began as a special education teacher, a curriculum coordinator of Brentwood and Gocio Elementary Schools, and the admissions and curriculum coordinator for Pine View School. She then served as an assistant principal of Sarasota Middle School and subsequently became the principal of Laurel Nokomis School for eight years, currently the only K–8 school in Sarasota County.
In 2003, Dr. Katz was promoted to Director of Leadership Development for the Sarasota County Public Schools. During the next eight years, she created a distinct career pathway for aspiring administrators. She was responsible for all leadership training for aspiring administrators and for school-based and district administrators. She developed an induction program for new administrators, created a retired administrator mentoring program for new administrators, and developed a Leadership Academy for aspiring administrators. Dr. Katz also facilitated the state principal certification program. She actively coached new principals and established Transition Support Teams to set them up for success in their leadership roles. Also, she has developed programs that focus on customer satisfaction and gifted special needs populations.
In 2010, after a principal retired mid-year, Dr. Katz returned to a principal position where she was once again involved in the heart of education. “The school level is where there is daily contact with teachers, staff, children, and parents. The principalship was my favorite job as every day I had the opportunity to make a positive difference in the life of a child!”
In November 2012, she officially retired from the Sarasota County School system but since then has become more involved with her consulting firm: WJK Education Consulting. Initially, she consulted at private schools out of state but for the past six years has facilitated four leadership programs for Sarasota County Schools and continues to serve as the Initiative Co-Manager of EdExploreSRQ for The Patterson Foundation. In June 2014, she served as the Interim Director at Hershorin-Schiff Community Day School, formerly Goldie Feldman Academy.
Additionally, Dr. Katz teaches as an Adjunct Professor in Education Leadership at the University of South Florida at the Sarasota-Manatee campus. She volunteers on the TEAM UP Volunteer and Partnership Council and on the Community/Schools Partnership for the Arts Steering Committee (C/SPA), and she serves on the Board of Trustees at Hershorin-Schiff Community Day School.
Dr. Katz is a graduate of Leadership Florida Education Class III. She graduated from the National Staff Development Council Academy program and served for three years as a member of the National Association for Secondary School Principals’ Principal Preparation Task Force. She has presented at national educational conferences, most recently in 2017 at the Learning Forward national conference – A Decade of Excellence: Growing Our Own Leaders. In 2018, Dr. Katz will be serving on the Wallace Foundation’s University Principal Preparation Initiative – Florida School Educational Leadership Enhancement Committee. She serves as a facilitator at the Harvard Graduate School of Education in the summer and has been published in Education Week (2012) relative to the successful results of a leadership development program she developed.
Dr. Katz received her bachelor’s degree in special education from Indiana University, a master’s degree in reading, a certification in gifted education, her specialist’s degree in educational leadership from Nova University, and a doctorate in educational leadership from Seton Hall University.
In addition to her professional career accomplishments, Dr. Katz is the proud mother of four highly successful children and six inquisitive grandchildren.
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Erika's professional career began as a tradeshow coordinator, handling all facets of trade show logistics and marketing. After accepting a managing position with Connecticut-based marketing agency, STAGE Active Brand Marketing, Erika took on the responsibilities of developing, implementing, and overseeing national experiential marketing campaigns. Past clients include Hawaiian Tropic, Victoria's Secret, The Cheesecake Factory, Chase Bank, and Nestlé. Campaigns under Erika's leadership included product launches, rebranding, causal fundraising, call-to-action, and general consumer retention and/or growth.
After seven years, Erika left corporate marketing and began independently consulting to have the opportunity to select projects that aligned with her core values and desire to create healthy, positive environments for generations to come.
Another driving force spurring her is a desire for more community involvement so she can create positive change locally, with the intention that it will produce a ripple effect spreading further than her immediate geographic focus or reach.
In 2013, Erika joined The Patterson Foundation as a consultant contributing to several initiatives: Legacy of Valor, Recoding Organizational DNA, Margin & Mission Ignition, Age-Friendly Sarasota, and the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading. Erika managed and coordinated various aspects of each.
Erika holds a B.S. in Business Administration with a specialization in Marketing from Bowling Green State University. While her alma mater gives her wings as a Falcon, she's a Columbus, Ohio, native making her a proud Buckeye for life. You can find Erika around town in various yoga classes, out on the water kayaking, or enjoying her latest adventure, SUPing.
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Pierrette Kelly is an independent, experienced, nonprofit executive and development professional based in Bradenton, Florida. Pierrette provided leadership as CEO of Anna Maria Island Community Center (AMICC) for over two decades and is a recipient of the H. Bunnel Humanitarian award in 1991.
Collaborating with the Board of Directors, donors, community, and staff, Pierrette established quality community programs with a particular focus on out-of-school educational enrichment programs — working to identify at-risk children and their families and connect them with volunteers, service organizations, and support, including innovative summer learning programs and scholarships for children from families with limited assets. In 1993, AMICC established a family therapy program with licensed clinical social workers and licensed marriage and family therapists to provide family therapy and parenting education. During that time, Pierrette established AMICC's Endowment Trust Fund and built a new community center.
Pierrette’s passion and role as an advocate are reflected by her varied educational interests: How to Change the World (Wesleyan University), Inspiring Leadership through Emotional Intelligence (Case Western Reserve University), Critical Thinking on Global Issues (University of Edinburgh), and Social Work (West Virginia University). She also studied international business management at Limerick University in Ireland, where she was President of the International Women's Organization and Vice President of the Professional Women's Network. While living in Ireland for eight years, she met her Irish husband, Paul.
Pierrette is a Eucharistic Minister for her parish, St. Mary Star of the Sea, and Vice President of the Pastoral Council. She also serves as a Board Member for Manatee County Children’s Services Advisory Board and the Sarasota Student Health Advisory Committee.
As a consultant for the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading (SCGLR), Pierrette’s role is to connect community, donors, and foundations, thereby weaving a tapestry of community support for all children — especially those from low-income families. SCGLR focuses on giving every child opportunities to succeed in school and life by ensuring they read at grade level by the end of third grade.
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Heather Koester is a high-energy community connector adept at working strategically with both nonprofit organizations and businesses to align mission with purpose and achieve the best impact for targeted clients. Heather can see the big picture while at the same time precisely and efficiently managing all critical aspects of multi-faceted projects.
Heather demonstrates a strong connection to her community through civic leadership, serving as an Executive Board Member for nonprofits, volunteering, and physically training older adults. Her leadership skills were honed through a decade of military service, first as a Combat Medic for a U.S. Army Military Police Battalion, then through her appointment to lead a public relations initiative over a six-state region.
After acquiring a Master’s Degree in Business Administration with a Minor in International Business and completing a certification program from Cornell University in Marketing Strategy, Heather worked at The Ritz Carlton and opened Fit 2 Bee Well, a post-rehabilitation fitness company.
In 2015, Heather joined The Patterson Foundation as a consultant with the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading. Her work as Lead Engagement Team Coordinator positively impacts Charlotte, DeSoto, Manatee, and Sarasota counties.
When not working, Heather keeps busy running marathons, SUPing off Sarasota Bay, serving as president of her church board, and raising Abigail, her amazing teenaged daughter.
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Valarie Law attended Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida, and in 1981 received a Bachelor of Science in Accounting. After graduation, she worked as a Sales Tax Auditor with the Florida Department of Revenue. In 1988, while employed as a Supervisor and In-Charge Accountant with Thompkins and Company, PA, in Miami, Florida, she receive her certification as a Certified Public Accountant.
After moving to Sarasota, Florida, in 1990, Valarie worked as an independent contractor for Uniroyal Technology as an accountant and at Staff Leasing as a tax specialist. In 2000, she accepted a part-time accountant position with Sarasota Memorial Healthcare Foundation Inc. and has been there for more than 18 years. Since 2010, Valarie has provided her accounting services to The Patterson Foundation.
Currently, Valarie has clients in both the nonprofit and for-profit sectors. Her professional skills include accounting and tax services, payroll services, seminars, representation before the IRS, and other services as requested. Valarie's more than 28 years of experience enable her to offer a variety of services to her clients and consistently meet their expectations.
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Scott Lempe retired from the School Board of Sarasota County in June 2018. While there, he played several vital roles including that of Deputy Superintendent. In his roles, he was responsible for managing the business programs that support the success of teachers and students in the classroom, including facilities maintenance, custodial, transportation, food and nutrition services information technology, construction, long-range planning, communications, and school safety and security. Scott supervised a team of 1,300 people and oversaw the execution of a $125 million annual capital budget and a $60 million annual general fund budget. He moved to Sarasota in June 2003 and has worked for the School Board since May 2003.
Prior to his School Board assignment, Lieutenant Colonel Lempe spent 26 years in the Air Force on active duty, holding positions from aircraft mechanic to squadron commander to most recently, the chief of personnel programs for United States Central Command under the Command of General Tommy Franks. In this role, he managed personnel programs impacting people from all four services assigned in the continental United States and 25 countries in the Arabian Peninsula, the horn of Africa, and five former Soviet provinces.
Colonel Lempe has a Bachelor of Computer Science Degree — summa cum laude — from Chapman University and a Master of Science Degree in Manpower and Personnel Management from the Naval Post Graduate School. He is a graduate of Squadron Officer School, Air Command and Staff College, Joint Forces Staff College, and the Department of Defense Executive Leadership Development Program.
Colonel Lempe is the recipient of many military awards and decorations to include the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Air Force Meritorious Service Medal, the Air Force Commendation Medal, the Joint Achievement Award, and the Air Force Achievement Medal. He is married to the former Tracy Jenkins of Sentinel, Oklahoma. They have two daughters, Jennifer, 36, and Sara, 34, and five grandchildren.
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