Gov. DeSantis appoints Simone Marstiller as AHCA Secretary
Simone Marstiller

DJJ Secretary Simone Marstiller
Shevaun Harris has been the agency's Acting Secretary since Mary Mayhew left the administration.

Gov. Ron DeSantis has appointed Simone Marstiller to lead the Agency for Health Care Administration.

Marstiller’s appointment comes amid a shuffle among the Governor’s top officials.

The Governor’s Office announced Friday that Marstiller would permanently take over the role left as Acting AHCA Secretary Shevaun Harris moves over to lead the Department of Children and Families. The office also announced DCF Secretary Chad Poppell‘s resignation Friday.

Since 2019, Marstiller has served as the Secretary of the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice.

“Florida is fortunate to have some of the most talented leaders in the nation, and I’m proud to announce Simone Marstiller as Secretary of the Agency for Health Care Administration and Shevaun Harris as Secretary of the Department of Children and Families,” DeSantis said in a statement. “Simone has top-notch credentials, is a former judge, and knows how to build and motivate a team to achieve results.”

Marstiller was born in Monrovia, Liberia, and grew up in St. Petersburg, Florida. Before DeSantis appointed her to lead DJJ in 2019, she served six years as a judge on the First District Court of Appeal.

Marstiller said she was grateful for the Governor’s confidence in her ability to take over at AHCA during the pandemic.

“The Agency for Health Care Administration has been at the forefront of the COVID-19 public health emergency and ensuring vaccines are available to our most vulnerable Floridians, particularly long-term care residents,” Marstiller said. “I am humbled by the opportunity to further the agency’s ongoing mission to achieve better health care for all Floridians and am thankful to have served two years as the Secretary for the Department of Juvenile Justice, where under this Governor’s leadership, we have made great strides in supporting Florida’s at-risk youth.”

Florida Politics broke the news Friday of Poppell’s resignation.

“The First Lady and I thank Chad Poppell for his years of dedication and service to the state of Florida,” DeSantis said. “As the Secretary of the Department of Children and Families, he has brought about transformational change to Florida’s child welfare system and was instrumental in the passage of the DCF Accountability Act. We wish him well as he moves on to new opportunities.”

“This has been, without question, the most fulfilling time of my professional life,” Poppell wrote in his resignation letter Friday. “I am excited about beginning the next chapter of my professional life and being able to focus more of my energy on my own family. Their sacrifice made my time at DCF possible and I am eager to try and repay that gift.”

Harris served an interim role at AHCA after former Secretary Mary Mayhew resigned to take the Florida Hospital Association’s helm as CEO.

Marstiller and Harris’ shuffling come soon after DeSantis cross the halfway mark into his first term as Governor.

Halsey Beshears announced Jan. 15 that he was stepping down as secretary of the Department of Business and Professional Regulation.

The Governor’s Chief of Staff, Shane Strum, is scheduled to interview next week to become chief executive officer at the North Broward Hospital District, one of the largest public-hospital districts in the nation. Strum is one of three candidates being interviewed, according to district officials.

Meredith Beatrice, a spokeswoman for DeSantis, said Josie Tamayo, who had been serving as Marstiller’s Chief of Staff, will be acting secretary at the Department of Juvenile Justice.


The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.

Renzo Downey

Renzo Downey covers state government for Florida Politics. After graduating from Northwestern University in 2019, Renzo began his reporting career in the Lone Star State, covering state government for the Austin American-Statesman. Shoot Renzo an email at r[email protected] and follow him on Twitter @RenzoDowney.


  • Douglas Adkins

    February 5, 2021 at 5:23 pm

    Gov DeSantis continues to lead with strength and sound decision making. This is a great choice for the Agency for Health Care Administration. We all look forward to working with the new Secretary for AHCA!

  • James Francis Mcauley

    February 6, 2021 at 11:18 am

    I have known Ms. Marstiller for quite a few years and so has my wife. She is a true public servant who has served in the Judiciary, private law practice and now back into a leadership role in state government. That state is lucky to have her talent at work.

Comments are closed.


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