Education Commissioner Manny Díaz has named seven new members to the Florida Education Foundation’s board of directors, including Rebecca Matthews as Chair.

Díaz announced Matthews’ appointment Friday along with that of Carlos O. Alvarez, Marcus D. Chambers, Steve Crisafulli, Melissa Anne Matz, Scott Ross and Andrea Tovar. Matthews will also lead a new Executive Committee for 2022-23, which includes John Merlino as Vice Chair, Ron Brisé as Treasurer and Andrea Tovar as Secretary.

“I am proud to appoint new board members who are bringing years of experience and immense value to the Foundation,” Díaz said in a news release. “Additionally, I have the utmost confidence in Chair Matthews to make an immediate, positive impact on furthering the Foundation’s mission.”

The Florida Education Foundation is the direct support organization for the Department of Education. It is led by a private sector board tasked with ensuring every Florida student has access to the highest quality educational experiences necessary for success.

Matthews is the vice president of Automated Health Systems and has represented the health care customer service vendors before policy makers, government and regulatory bodies. She is a subject matter expert for strategic business initiatives, procurement development and more.

Previously, she was the CEO of the Florida Healthy Kids Corporation as well as serving as the Chief of Staff for the state Office of Insurance Regulation.

Alvarez has served as the Principal at City of Hialeah Educational Academy since 2008. He is also the Board Chair/President of Pinecrest Academy Inc. Schools, a high performing network made up of 19 schools. He has been an educator for more than 25 years.

Chambers is the Superintendent of Okaloosa County Schools. Before becoming Superintendent in 2020, Chambers served in multiple school-based leadership positions in Okaloosa County, including Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction and Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources. He has been in education for more than 24 years.

Crisafulli was House Speaker from 2014 to 2016 and is the President of Crisafulli Consulting. He also serves as Senior Vice-President of his family’s agribusiness, Crisafulli Enterprises Inc., with cattle, citrus, real estate and development interests.

Matz is an 18-year educator and most recently served as a seventh-grade math teacher at Lakeside Junior High School in Clay County. She was selected as the 2023 Florida Department of Education Teacher of the Year from among nearly 185,000 public school teachers. During the 2022-23 school year, Matz will serve as the Christa McAuliffe Ambassador for Education, elevating and celebrating the teaching profession by promoting the contributions of Florida educators.

Ross serves as the managing partner for Capital City Consulting where he uses his legal and government expertise to advise and lobby for various regulated entities in the legislative and executive branches. Ross previously served as the chief regulator for gaming, alcoholic beverages and tobacco, hotels and restaurants, condominiums, timeshares, and mobile homes at the Department of Business and Professional Regulation.

Tovar is a partner and senior consultant of government affairs at Corcoran Partners. Before joining Corcoran Partners, she oversaw the marketing, communications, special events and business development efforts for the two largest revenue-generating operations at an iconic Miami Beach resort.

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