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Education Committee Advisory Council

The RCSA Education Committee Advisory Council consists of 15-20 diverse community members representing a wide variety of backgrounds, professions and perspectives. The Council is tasked with advising the RCSA Board of Directors and staff on issues in education, public charter school arena and the Jacksonville community. The Council also offers guidance on the RCSA strategic plan and specific issues facing the schools. Finally, the Council helps promote RCSA to the wider community.


The 2017 Education Committee Advisory Council consists of 19 community leaders. They are:


Dr. Edythe Abdullah- dean of the Division of Continuing Education of the University of North Florida. Dr. Abdullah brings more than 33 years of experience in higher education to the council having worked on the executive level in various and universities for many years.


Alison Carlson, owner, Jax4Kids. Carlson is the owner and operator of, a website dedicated to all things kids in Jacksonville. Carlson is an expert in the families of Jacksonville and brings decades of media experience.


John W Chappelear- president and principal curriculum development officer at Changing the Focus, LLC. Chappelear is an author and speaker offering workshops on leadership development and establishing a culture of success.


Michelle Cook- Atlantic Beach Chief of Police. Cook previously served as the director of patrol and enforcement in Jacksonville and began her career with the JSO in 1992.


Dan Croft- director of account services, Ruckus Advertising + Public Relations. Croft is a seasoned communication expert with more than twenty years’ experience in strategic marketing.


Scott Eder-president, the Eder Group. Eder is a retired special service agent with the Central Intelligence Agency with vast experience in the aviation and aeronautics industry.


Dr. Marie Foster Gnage- vice president for institutional effectiveness and advancement, Florida State College of Jacksonville. Dr. Gnage previously served as president of the Downtown Campus of FSCJ. She holds a Ph.D from Florida State University and has decades of experience in higher education.


Maria Hane -executive director, Museum of Science and History. Hane has held a long and successful tenure at the MOSH museum, guiding the museum through expansion including the creation of the planetarium. She has spent her career working in nonprofits and communications.


Toni Hernandez- founder, Leading Ladies 904. Leading Ladies is a movement of female leaders in the Jacksonville area.


Dr. Tiffany Hunter- dean of education, Florida State College Jacksonville Downtown Campus. Dr. Hunter joined FSCJ in 2011 after a long career in early childhood education, bringing a wealth of education experience to the council.


Tom Kuhn, vice president of marketing, PGA TOUR. Kuhn directs the overall marketing strategy for the PGA TOUR after working 17 years at Proctor & Gamble. Kuhn specializes in brand strategy and business strategy development.


Edward Lombard- associate vice president, Ameriprise Financial Services. Just as Lombard guides his clients as a financial advisor, he brings significant investment and financial planning experience to the Council.


Kiaira Nixon- district executive secretary, Florida House of Representatives. Nixon has worked as a journalist and in several capacities of the state legislature, bringing a unique political perspective to the Council.


Michelle Joy Nixon- educator, life coach. Nixon offers motivational speaking and life coaching to a variety of audiences based on her background in education and communications.


Jeff Smith- director of arts, Duval County Public Schools. Smith designs, implements and evaluates all arts programs for DCPS schools. Smith combines a passion for art with years of experience in education and nonprofit management.


CC Underwood- owner, Sellin' With CC. Underwood is a Jacksonville native and leads a real estate team.


Capt. Howard Wanamaker- retired commanding officer of Naval Air Station Jacksonville. Capt. Wanamaker retired in 2016 to pursue a career in the private sector.


Tina Wirth-vice president of education and workforce development, JAXUSA Partnership. Wirth supports economic growth in the region through career and work-readiness programs.


Dr. Wenying Xu- professor, Jacksonville University. Dr. Xu served as provost of Jacksonville University and brings years of experience in academia and higher education to the Council.