Achieving Kindergarten Readiness through Collaboration

Meet the People & Partners who Help us Thrive

In order to ensure that all children in Tampa Bay 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 leadership council provides strategic guidance, direct access to a breadth of knowledge and resources, and unique opportunities to collaborate and align endeavors.

Rebecca Bacon

Executive Director
The Children’s Board

Croley Todd Baird

Early Childhood Specialist, ESE
Pinellas County Schools

Ric Banciella

Director, Bosses for Babies
The Children’s Movement of Florida

Dustin Becker

Director, Client & Community Relations
PNC Bank

Kathleen Beckman

Thrive by Five Tampa Bay

Alyssa Bedard

Community Representative
Birthing through Life

Nicole Brown

Vice President, Commmunity Impact
United Way Suncoast

Dr. Sheron Brown

Director of Education & Youth Opportunities
City of St. Petersburg

Tracye Brown

Chief of Student Support and Federal Programs
Hillsborough County Schools

Christie Bruner

Vice President of Advocacy
St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce

Paula Burns

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

Lindsay Carson

Chief Executive Officer
Early Learning Coalition of Pinellas County

Dr. Jesse Coraggio

Senior Vice President
of Community Impact
Community Foundation Tampa Bay

Anna Corman

President & CEO
Hillsborough Education Foundation

Kyandra Darling

Innovation Officer
Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg

Michael Feeney

Executive Director of Elementary Education
Pinellas County Schools

Joan Freese

Director of Education

Dr. Amy Haile

Champions for Children

Audrey Harrell

Thrive by Five Tampa Bay

Ray Hensley

Maternal & Child Health Director
Florida Department of Health Pinellas

Dr. Fred Hicks

Chief Executive Officer
Early Learning Coalition of Hillsborough County

Dr. Doug Holt

Hillsborough Director
Hillsborough Department of Health

Dianne Jacob

Community Member

Kim Jowell

Chief Executive Officer
Pinellas Education Foundation

Dr. Lisa Lopez

Professor & Program Coordinator
University of South Florida-Tampa

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

Marisa Mowat

Executive Director
Healthy Start Coalition-Hillsborough

Amanda Payne

President & CEO
Amplify Clearwater

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


Vice President, Commercial Banking

Marlene Spalten

Chief Executive Officer
Community Foundation Tampa Bay

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 & Family Success

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

Systems Alignment


Working together to streamline processes for families to access services



Increasing overall awareness of Thrive by Five resources and initiatives and expanding social media presence and engagement