Readout of Secretary DeVos’ Meeting with Florida Education Leaders

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US Department of Education

August 30, 2017
Contact: Press Office
(202) 401-1576 or

Readout of Secretary DeVos’ Meeting with Florida Education Leaders


Meeting between the U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, Reverend Dr. RB Holmes and K-12 and HBCU Leaders


Wednesday, August 30, 2017, 11:45 – 3:00 p.m.


Bethel Family Life Center

406 N Bronough Street Tallahassee, FL 32301

Today, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos met with a broad spectrum of education leaders in Florida.  The meeting was divided into two 45-minute sessions.  The first session was titled “Saving, Sustaining and Strengthening Public Education and Schools of Choice” and the second was titled “Saving, Sustaining and Strengthening HBCUs and Higher Education.”

In each session, the group discussed:

  • Policies and Procedures
  • Challenges and Concerns
  • Recommendations and Solutions

Secretary DeVos offered the following comments on the meeting:

“As we confront the many challenges facing our education system today, it is paramount that we hear from those on the front lines: local leaders who confront these issues head on each and every day. Today’s discussions were great examples of how local leaders – whether they are administrators, educators, elected officials or religious leaders – can come together to share best practices and work together to find innovative solutions that help our students and communities succeed.

“I want to thank Rev. Dr. RB Holmes for convening this summit, and also, more importantly, for his long track record of working on behalf of often-disadvantaged students who without his tireless efforts would not have the opportunities they enjoy today.”


Reverend Dr. RB Holmes, Pastor, Bethel Missionary Baptist Church

Pam Stewart, Commissioner, Florida Department of Education

Education Roundtable Participants Invited to Attend:

  • Dr. Timothy Moore, Director of Research, Florida A&M University
  • Rodner Wright, Provost, Florida A&M University
  • Dr. Castelle Bryant, Past President, Florida A&M University
  • Dr. Henry Lewis Lewis, Past President, Florida A&M University
  • Ms. JoLinda L. Herring, Esq. - Florida Memorial University, Board of Trustees
  • Dr. Freddie Grooms-McLendon - Edward Waters University, Chairman, Board of Trustees
  • The Honorable Senator Bill Montford - Florida Senator
  • The Honorable Congressman Al Lawson - United States Representative
  • Chancellor Hershel Lyons - FL State Dept. of Education K-12 Chancellor
  • Commissioner Pam Stewart - Commissioner of Education
  • Chancellor Rod Duckworth - Career and Adult Education
  • Superintendent Alex "Lex" Carswell, Jr. - Columbia County
  • Superintendent Dr. Patricia Willis - Duval County
  • Superintendent Traci Moses - Franklin County
  • Superintendent Marianne Arbulu – Jefferson County
  • Ms. Beverly Owens - Leon County Schools Office of Federal Programs & Charter School
  • Mrs. Diane Townsend – Principal, Tallavana Christian School
  • Dr. Roslyn Wilson- Principal, Bethel Christian Academy
  • Dr. Julius McAllister – Trustee, Edward Waters University; Pastor, Bethel AME Church
  • Dr. Joseph Wright - Florida Baptist General State Conventionm Pastor, Jerusalem Baptist Church
  • Bishop A.J. Richardson - Bethune-Cookman University, Board of Trustees,
  • 14th Episcopal District, African Methodist Episcopal Church
  • Pastor Lee Johnson- Pastor, Trinity Presbyterian Church
  • Dr. Richard Mashburn – Associate Minister, Bethel Missionary Baptist Church
  • Dr. Isaac Manning – Moderator, 1st Bethlehem Baptist Association
  • Dr. Ronald Holmes - Holmes Education Post
  • Dr. Marvin Henderson - Retired Deputy Superintendent, Leon County Schools
  • Ms. Georgia "Joy" Bowen - President, Leon County School Board
  • Mrs. Caroly D. Cummings, Esq.
  • Mr. James Coleman - Vice-Chair, Board of Trustees, Bethel Missionary Baptist Church
  • Dr. Elaine Bryant - Chair, Board of Trustees, Bethel Missionary Baptist Church
  • Mr. James Mathews – Chairman of Finance, Bethel Missionary Baptist Church
  • Dr. Barbara Barnes - Retired Provost, Florida A&M University
  • Mr. Malcom Barnes - Retired Professor, Florida A&M University
  • Dr. Malinda J. James – Educational Consultant
  • Reverend Dr. RB Holmes, Jr. - Pastor, Bethel Missionary Baptist Church
  • Dr. Gloria Holmes – Administrator, Bethel Christian Academy
  • Dr. Shawnta Friday-Stroud - Dean of the School of Business and Industry, Florida A&M University
  • Superintendent Rocky Hanna - Leon County Schools
  • Dr. Patricia Green-Powell - Interim Dean and Professor, College of Education, Florida A&M University
  • Dr. Charles Weatherford- Title III Programs, Interim Executive Director
  • Mr. Christopher Petley - Project Manager, Office of District Communications
  • Dr. Linda T. Fortenberry – Director of Christian Education, Bethel Missionary Baptist Church
  • Ms. Taralisha Sanders, Office Manager, The Capital Outlook