Gov. Ron DeSantis appointed Shevaun Harris on Friday to serve as the Florida Department of Children and Families’ Secretary.
The appointment comes after DCF Secretary Chad Poppell tendered his resignation on Friday. Poppell’s last day will be Feb. 19, according to the resignation letter.
“Thank you for our call this week, as we discussed, it is time for me to step aside and let the next Secretary continue the journey you set for DCF upon coming into office,” Poppell wrote.
Harris most recently served as Acting Secretary for the Agency for Health Care Administration. DeSantis appointed Harris to the position in October 2020.
In a press release, Harris thanked DeSantis and described DCF’s mission as “sacred.”
“Early on in my career, I pursued my master’s degree in social work because I wanted to make a difference,” Harris said. “During my time at the Agency for Health Care Administration, I spearheaded initiatives focused on quality improvement and policies that support better outcomes for children and families. I look forward to applying these experiences at the Department of Children and Families in support of the Governor and First Lady’s initiatives to serve our most vulnerable, particularly in the areas of mental health and fighting against substance abuse.”
Since joining AHCA in 2005, Harris has served in multiple leadership roles. The agency oversees the Florida Medicaid program and regulates more than 40,000 health care facilities in the state.
DeSantis credited Harris for negotiating multi-million dollar contracts and implementing quality improvement initiatives.
She also “spearheaded” Florida’s Canadian Prescription Drug Importation program, the news release said.
“Shevaun has steadily risen through the ranks and secured historic wins for the people of Florida, paired with her background in social work and health care, I have no doubt she will build upon our foundation to serve Florida’s most vulnerable,” DeSantis said in the announcement.
Harris holds a Master of Business Administration from Quinnipiac University, a Master of Social Work from Florida State University and received her Bachelor of Science in Psychology and Minor in Business from Florida State University.
DeSantis, meanwhile, appointed Simone Marstiller to lead the Agency for Health Care Administration.
Poppell’s resignation letter is below.