While her background is in accounting and auditing, giving back to her community has always been a part of Donna’s life. She volunteered in the Palm Beach County School District serving on the PTA and was an active Board member at the Children’s Place at Home Safe for several years.It was through Donna’s experiences at Children’s Place at Home Safe that she began to see the difficulties foster youth faced in school. With no one to help and guide them as they navigated through school on their own, she witnessed many foster youth fall behind in their studies and ultimately drop out of school as soon as they turned 18 and aged out of custodial care. It was from recognizing this devastating trend that Donna wanted to make a difference in the lives of our foster youth. Her passion has become helping kids in foster care develop into young, aspiring adults.
Debbie Ellman has volunteered tirelessly in the public school system in Palm Beach County for the past thirteen years. Through a community service project, she became acquainted with kids in foster care, and so the story begins. She continued volunteering in schools and spending more and more time in group homes for foster youth. It became very clear that school was not a priority in the lives of these kids. In fact, they typically fell through the cracks. The question she asked herself was, can something be done to help these kids experience school in a positive manner and could they achieve more?
For more than a decade, Caren Sollod has dedicated her efforts to making a difference in the lives of children. Starting in the public school system in some of the most underserved communities in Los Angeles and Miami, this former teacher has been an educator, mentor, and inspiration to those from difficult circumstances. She is skilled at the art of motivation, goal-setting, and helping those who might otherwise fall by the wayside recognize and achieve their full potential. As a program coordinator at Best Foot Forward, Caren’s dedicated and compassionate approach make her an ideal person to help improve the lives and educational outcomes of foster youth.
Believing that a stable home and a good education are two of the most important things a child needs to succeed in life, Luz came to Best Foot Forward to help improve the education of children without a stable home environment. Her main objective is to “set the children up to be successful by teaching them to read”. Earning a BS in Elementary Education from Pennsylvania State University, Luz’s career began with ten years in the Palm Beach Public Schools teaching ESOl, Chapter I as well as grades 1-3. During her teaching careers she was a grant and curriculum writer for the district and held various leadership roles. Luz spent 23 years as a volunteer in both private and public schools. She worked with children of all ages (K-12th grade) focusing her efforts in science and remedial reading. Luz also believes that daily exercise is important in the development of a child and was a middle school tennis coach as well as a running coach for six years .
Rosmery brings an extensive background in the college enrollment process to Best Foot Forward. Rosmery assists them with navigating the college system, helping them make appropriate sessions, and teaching them to self-advocate. She believes in guiding the youth while teaching them how to complete tasks, providing them with the skills they need to be independent, self-sufficient adults. With her by their side, our students will flourish in college, achieving both their academic and personal goals.
Board of Directors
Frank Barbieri’s law practice is concentrated in the areas of estate planning (including wills, trust, probate guardianship) and real estate. Mr. Barbieri, originally from Akron, Ohio, is licensed to practice law in both Florida and Ohio. He has lived in west Boca Raton since moving from Ohio in 1983, has been married to his wife Rita for 37 years and they have 3 children and two grandchildren.
As a concerned citizen of Palm Beach County, Mr. Barbieri has demonstrated a commitment to the area where he lives. This dedication to Palm Beach County is reflected in his current or past involvement with the following civic, governmental and community organizations: Palm Beach County School Board Chairman, Palm Beach County Zoning Commission, Palm Beach County Land Use Advisory Board, President- Loggers’ Run Homeowners Association, First Southern Bank, Advisory Board- Loggers’ Run Middle School, School Advisory Board- Sandpiper Shores Elementary School, School Advisory Board, West Boca Community Council- Board of Directors. Mr. Barbieri is a frequent lecturer and guest speaker and is currently participating or has in the past participated in the following programs: Adjunct Professor, Wills, Trusts and Estate Planning”, Florida Atlantic University Institute for Legal Assistants, Lecturer, Financial Strategies for Successful Retirement, presented to Motorola Employees & sponsored by Motorola human Resources Dept. Instructor, “Wills, Trusts and Probate”, Adult Education Programs at Olympic Heights Community High School, Spanish River Community High School and Loggers’ Run Community Middle School.
Paul J. Kilgallon brings more than twenty years of experience in the acquisition, development, construction, leasing and management of office properties. In 1999, Paul formed Mainstreet Capital Partners, Inc., a real estate investment and management company. Mainstreet Capital Partners has completed more than $850 million dollars of acquisitions totaling in excess of 5 million SF in Phoenix, Arizona; Denver, Colorado; Charlotte, North Carolina; Charleston, South Carolina; Tampa, Florida; Fort Lauderdale, Boca Raton and West Palm Beach in South Florida; and Atlanta, Georgia.
Paul holds a Masters of Management degree from J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois, and a B.S. in Civil Engineering from the University of Illinois, Champaign, Illinois. Paul has been a strong support and active volunteer with Best Foot Forward, both as a member and President of the Board of Directors and tutoring one on one with students.
Marjorie Margolies earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from The University Of Maryland, College Park and her Juris Doctor degree from Nova Southeastern University. She is a partner with the Law Offices of Weisman, Brodie, Starr & Margolies, P.A. She concentrates her practice in the area of real estate law. She serves as a Board Member for Ruth Rales Jewish Family services Forster Family Kosher Food Pantry. Margie has been a member of a special task force for the City Council of Boca Raton investigating our public schools. She has also served on the PTA and SAC at Boca Raton schools. She has been involved with a variety of charity work in Boca Raton since 1988. Margie is married to Marc and they have two sons currently in college.
Lisa is retired from a career with JM Family Enterprises, Inc. where she worked for 23 years in various capacities, including Vice President of Project Management for World Omni Financial Corp., Vice President of Learning and Organizational Development and Vice President of Client Servicing for CenterOne Financial Services.
JM Family is an eleven billion dollar diversified automotive corporation whose principal businesses focus on vehicle distribution and processing, finance and warranty services. Wheeler graduated Magna Cum Laude from Furman University with a double major in Computer Science and Mathematics. She serves on the Advisory Council of Furman University and is on the Board of Directors of Paradise Bank and Best Foot Forward Foundation. She was very active at Pine Crest School in Fort Lauderdale, FL where she served on the Advisory Council, the Founder’s Council, and was President of the Middle and Upper School Parents’ Association.
Lorraine D. Cross was the Director of Program and School Initiatives in the Office of Academic and Student Services at Florida Atlantic University. In this role, she served as chair of the Secondary Teacher Education Coordinating Committee (STECC), working closely with the College of Science and College of Arts and Letters to strengthen secondary education programs. She also served as the program coordinator for Effective Teaching Practices and Music Education for the Department of Teaching and Learning in the College of Education. Teaching and helping to better prepare future educators is her passion and lifelong endeavor. In addition, Mrs. Cross was the FAU faculty liaison and trainer for Academic Service-Learning (A S-L) and facilitated numerous A S-L Faculty Learning Communities at Florida Atlantic University as well as presented A S-L workshops at FAU and other institutions helping faculty from a variety of colleges and departments integrate Academic Service-Learning into their course curriculum. In 2008 she was selected as a Florida Campus Compact (FCC) Certified Scholar. Before that position, Mrs. Cross taught music and drama kindergarten through eighth grade for 30 years at the A. D. Henderson University School where she also served as the chairperson for the Specialist Division and Staff Development Team.
Sherry is a certified Health coach, specializing in exercise counseling, nutrition, and therapeutic massage. She holds degrees in Nutrition, Social Science and Education. Sherry has been involved with numerous charities over the years, all revolving around the betterment of children. While volunteering for the Literacy Coalition, she became involved with several schools in Palm Beach County, and was overwhelmed with the progress of the students. This became the catalyst that inspired her to go back to school for a Masters degree in Exceptional Education. “I wanted to learn more so I could help more students”, and that is what guides her day to day life. Sherry resides in Boca Raton, Florida with her husband and three furry children.
J. C. Perrin is a Senior Vice President and Lead Accelerator at Seacoast National Bank. J.C. has 29 years of experience in meeting clients’ financial needs, as well as those of their business or profession. J.C. leads a team of experienced Accelerators in Ft. Lauderdale, Boca Raton, and Palm Beach Gardens that provide commercial banking services to businesses, owners and employees throughout South Florida.
He began his career in 1985 with Barnett Bank in West Palm Beach, Florida. Via Wachovia, SunTrust, 1st United Bank, JP Morgan, and U.S. Trust, he has provided comprehensive banking and wealth management services to clients in South Florida.
Community minded, he served as a Director of the Greater Boca Raton Chamber of Commerce, Chairing the organization in 2000-01. He was recognized as Business Leader of the Year in 2006. Having a passion for education, he currently Chairs the Chamber’s Golden Bell Education Foundation, was the founding Chair of the Career Academy Advisory Board at West Boca High School and received the prestigious 2010 ACTE National Carl Perkins Humanitarian Award, and volunteers regularly with the George Snow Scholarship Fund. He also is a past director of the Governing Board of West Boca Medical Center, current Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Mae Volen Senior Center, and Director at the Unicorn Children’s Foundation.
Plum Productions is headed by award-¬‐winning producer Jennifer Jager. Jennifer has worked as a television professional for more than a decade and has produced
segments for many world¬‐renowned corporations like Bentley Motors, Cotton Incorporated and Dow Building Solutions. Since founding Plum Productions in 2009, Jennifer has been helping local businesses grow through the power of video. She is also an Entrepreneur Magazine Contributor. Jennifer is skilled in every facet of the video production process, including writing, producing, shooting, and editing.
She supervises every Plum project to make sure each piece gets the special finesse only a video professional with her level of experience can deliver. Jennifer is very involved in the Boca Raton community.
She is an active member of the Boca Raton Chamber of Commerce, serving as Chair of Leadership Boca, Chamber Ambassador, past Chari of Leads group #1, and as a member of both the Marketing and Tech Committees. She was also named one of Boca Life Magazine’s “40 under 40 to Watch.” Jennifer is originally from Greater Boston, and has been fortunate to call South Florida home for the past decade.