Gov. DeSantis taps 4 for inaugural Florida Scholars Academy board of trustees

At least 2 of the 4 appointees should be familiar to those involved in Florida politics.

A new, unified school system under the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) now has its first inaugural board of trustees.

Gov. Ron DeSantis named four volunteers to guide the Florida Scholars Academy, which state lawmakers created last Session to help DJJ-involved youths attain high school diplomas or GEDs and enroll in postsecondary education programs.

At least two of those names should be familiar to those involved in Florida politics.

One is Marva Johnson, group Vice President of telecom giant Charter Communications. As Florida Politics previously noted, Johnson has been tapped for various roles under DeSantis and his predecessor in the Governor’s Mansion, now-U.S. Sen. Rick Scott.

She is the former Chair of the Florida State Board of Education and served on the Florida Constitutional Revision Commission and Enterprise Florida Board. Ahead of the 2020 General Election, she was part of the host committee for the Republican National Convention in Jacksonville.

Johnson, a Winter Park resident, has a law degree from Georgia State University, a master of business administration (MBA) from Emory University, and a bachelor of business administration from Georgetown University.

Another known name heading to the Florida Scholars Academy Board is St. Petersburg resident Robert “Bob” Ward, the President and CEO of the Florida Council of 100, a nonprofit coalition of business leaders who advise the Governor.

Ward’s other public involvements include service on the Florida Talent Development Council and Enterprise Florida Board and past memberships at the Florida Historical Commission and Government Efficiency Task Force.

Ward has dedicated nearly three decades to the public sector, according to the Governor’s Office. That includes work as Chief of Staff to former Florida House Speakers Allan Bense and Marco Rubio and education policy adviser to ex-Gov. Jeb Bush. He also served as deputy assistant secretary with the Department of Education, administrator with the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, and as Deputy Tax Collector in Pinellas County.

In a February opinion column in the Tampa Bay Times, Ward called for the Legislature to pass tort reforms, noting that the Sunshine State is alone in the nation in spending more than 3% of its GDP — some $40 billion — on torts yearly.

Ward holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Florida International University.

DeSantis also appointed Tallahassee residents Dan McGrew and Christopher Moya.

McGrew is Senior Vice President of CareerSource Florida, a statewide workforce policy and investment board and Chair-elect of the Leadership Tallahassee Board of Governors.

Moya is director of strategy and management consulting for Dean Mead, a commercial law and lobbying firm. He also serves on the Federal Judicial Nominating Commission and is Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis’ designee to the Florida Export Finance Corporations.

Both earned bachelor’s degrees from Florida State University. Moya also holds an MBA from Emory University.

According to SB 7014 — which authorized the creation of the Florida Scholars Academy, effective July 1 — the board of trustees comprises five members. Four are direct appointees of the Governor. The fifth is the DJJ Secretary, currently Eric Hall, whom DeSantis appointed in November 2021, or the DJJ Secretary’s designee.

Hall or his designee will chair the board for its first four years. Only the term of the Chair — four years — is specified in the legislation, which both chambers of the Legislature approved unanimously.

Prior to the creation of the Florida Scholars Academy, local school districts were charged with providing education services to the DJJ residential programs. Under the new system, the department can contract educational services statewide.

Jesse Scheckner

Jesse Scheckner has covered South Florida with a focus on Miami-Dade County since 2012. His work has been recognized by the Hearst Foundation, Society of Professional Journalists, Florida Society of News Editors, Florida MMA Awards and Miami New Times. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @JesseScheckner.


  • Earl Pitts "The Ronald's Un-Official Campaign Mananger" American

    August 25, 2023 at 8:11 pm

    The Ronald asked me, Earl Pitts Americsn, to serve on one of those all critical board posititions. But I asked that The Ronald please consider Marva as I, Earl Pitts American, feel I will be more effective working as The Ronald’s anonymous “Wing-Man”.
    Once The Ronald is safely installed in the White House I will slip back into my true Super Hero role behind the scenes. I, Earl Pitts American, will get on National TV and use that ink pen thingy from Men In Black to wipe everyones memory of me, Earl Pitts American. But relax America as I, Earl Pitts American, will always be with you. You may not see me but will feel my presence in your hearts.
    Thank you America,
    Earl Pitts “The Ronald’s Wing-Man” American

  • My Take

    August 25, 2023 at 8:46 pm

    Under the new system, the department can contract educational services statewide.
    Oh, no room for shennanigans there.

    • My Take

      August 25, 2023 at 11:03 pm

      Hillsdale College School for Christian Conservatism, Extension Service

Comments are closed.


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