Board of Directors

A message from Charlie Kennedy, Board of Directors Chair

I have been a member of the Step Up Suncoast Board of Directors since 2015. I originally joined the board as the representative of the Manatee County School Board. In my role as a board member, with both Manatee Schools and Step Up Suncoast, I strongly believe education is the best path out of poverty, our primary mission. In addition to educational supports, other programs and services provided by Step Up Suncoast align with that mission. When I joined the Step Up Suncoast board, I believed I would serve only one year. However, I've renewed my commitment each year, due to the strength of the leadership and staff, the proven results, the financial strength, and most of all, seeing for myself the joy and success of the students and families served by Step Up Suncoast.

Step Up Suncoast has an exceptional President and CEO in Barbara Patten. She has been with the agency since 2009 and has compiled a strong group of directors and managers who are skilled and dedicated to making Step Up Suncoast a nationwide leader among community action agencies. I look forward to a long future ahead of working with this team that is true to its core values, serves clients with respect and integrity, and working toward our ultimate goal - moving our clients out of poverty and toward self-sufficiency.

Sherod Halliburton
Barbara Harvey
Charlie Kennedy
Jenny Koselak
Jesus Nino
Tyquilla Reed-Lee
Jacqueline Rivera
Leland Taylor
Dr. Robin Thompson
Keenan Wooten

Not pictured: Lauri Benson, Esther Bragg and Priscilla Villanueva

The Board of Directors at Step Up Suncoast is a tripartite board structure, which is comprised of members from the private sector, local government, and the low-income community. Each member has an equal voice in setting policy and program development.

The board meets on the last Thursday of every other month at 8:00am. If you are interested in learning more or applying to be a board member, please contact Meredith Gromko at 941-827-2887 or email for more details.