Our Board

Laura Askew

Secretary of the SPPF Board

Expertise: Project Management for Innovation – I manage large, cross-functional teams to bring new product innovation to life.

Title: R&D – Global Innovation Process Manager, Transitions Optical, SPPF Board Secretary

M.A.S.T.R. Kids Attribute: Lead by example – I do Math like a girl, try to keep up. 🙂

Favorite Book: Still searching for the one…. I love adventure fiction.

Favorite Quote: “If you always do what you always did, you’ll always get what you always got”.

Mario Farias

Board Chair

Expertise:  Marios’s Consulting Group specializes in multinational business development strategies for start ups, relocations and expansions. Working extensively with several municipal economic development divisions and assisting with market placement.

Title:  CEO-Managing Partner at Farias Consulting Group

Vivian Fueyo
Expertise: Teacher training, curriculum development, and educational program development to help low-performing students achieve
Title: Founding Dean and Professor of Childhood Education Emerita, USF St. Petersburg College of Education
M.A.S.T.R. Kids Attribute: Attribute: Persistence and a Positive attitude. I believe that what matters most is to set high expectations for oneself and to persist until one succeeds.
Favorite Book: Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
Favorite Quote: “The time is always right to do what is right.” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Lisset Hanewicz

Board Vice Chair

Expertise: Law – former State and Federal prosecutor – over 15 years’ experience in civil and criminal law

Title: St. Petersburg City Council Member; Attorney; President of Crescent Lake Neighborhood Association; co-founder of Friends of Woodlawn Elementary

M.A.S.T.R. Kids Attribute: Practical, analytical and creative thinking – I think it is important to be practical when analyzing issues and use creativity in finding solutions

Favorite Book: “Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen

Favorite Quote: “The time is always right to do what is right.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

Linda Lerner
Expertise: Education, Knowledge of community organizations and governmental entities, Advocacy.
Title: Retired Pinellas County School Board Member
M.A.S.T.R. Kids Attribute: A little progress every day adds up to big results.
Favorite Book: I have many favorite books and cannot choose one. However I especially like historical novels.
Favorite Quote: “Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.”
Kaley Johnson

Expertise: Law practice primarily focusing on commercial real estate.

Title: Attorney

M.A.S.T.R. Kids Attribute: Desire to learn and improve and taking one thing at time to accomplish goals.

Favorite Book: Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann

Favorite Quote: You will face many defeats in life, but never let yourself be defeated. – Maya Angelou

Cosey Proctor Jr.

Expertise: K-12 Education

Title: Teacher/Entrepreneur

M.A.S.T.R. Kids Attribute: Humor is a great tool for deflection

Favorite Book: The Poverty Problem by Horacio Sanchez

Favorite Quote: “Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is like a broken-winged bird that cannot fly” – Langston Hughes

Bill Puller

CoFounder and Treasurer of the SPPF Board

Expertise: Fiscal Management/Accounting – I’ve managed large departments with staffing of 20- 30 people responsible for budget development and fiscal management, within Pinellas County Government –utilities and law enforcement. I’ve served in Financial Leadership roles for a number of nonprofit organizations (fraternity, church, Boys & Girls Club, Girls Inc., etc)

Title: CoFounder & Treasurer of SPPF

M.A.S.T.R. Kids Attribute: Don’t sweat the small stuff –I like to keep progressing, it’s the best way to accomplish something.

Favorite Book: “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz

Favorite Quote: “Don’t Kill a Good Idea with Perfection” Mordecai Walker

Virginia Valenote

Expertise: Insurance industry – I worked 25 years in the managed care industry. I built networks of physicians for insurance companies.

Title: Owner –I own my consulting business. I am a managed care advocate for physicians.

M.A.S.T.R. Kids Attribute: Self esteem- I will learn that I can do anything through education! I am the best at what I do!

Favorite Book: “Diary of Anne Frank”

Favorite Quote: “The miracle is not that we do this work, but that we are happy to do it.” Mother Teresa

Paul Steinhauser
Expertise: Extensive leadership and management experience in a broad range of professions including finance/investment banking, engineering, and mental health counseling.

Title: Founder and General Manager, ARCS Wellness, LLC.

M.A.S.T.R. Kids Attribute: Problem-solving, critical thinking, and active listening. Become a lifelong learner! Wisdom is the key to building a successful and fulfilling life.

Favorite Book: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey

Favorite Quote: “Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it.” – Henry David Thoreau
LaTasha R. Barnes
Expertise: LaTasha has been in the healthcare finance field for more than 24 years and runs L. Barnes Consulting, a company dedicated to providing services to new and existing businesses, non-profit organizations and offering interim or remote CFO services. Currently she serves on several boards of directors in St. Petersburg, Chattanooga and Washington, D.C.

Title: Principal Consultant, L. Barnes Consulting

M.A.S.T.R. Kids Attribute: Arts/Creativity and Reading – LOVE musical arts and exercising the creative side of my brain. Reading can be a form of knowledge and I love to learn. A welcomed respite since daily I’m SO left brained most of the time!

Favorite Book: Waaaay too many to choose just one. I LOVE to read!! Fiction especially.

Favorite Quote: “You can’t be what you can’t see.” – Marian Wright Edelman

Ways You Can Help


Sponsor a student for the summer $2000; pay for a writing class $50. Anything you can afford helps us close the achievement gap for students!


Sponsor a student for the summer $2000; pay for a writing class $50. Anything you can afford helps us close the achievement gap for students!

Become a Partner

Sponsor a student for the summer $2000; pay for a writing class $50. Anything you can afford helps us close the achievement gap for students!

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Pam Williams

Chief Operating Officer

As COO, Pam ensures the organization’s financial, data, fundraising, and HR infrastructure is strong today and ready for scale that multiplies impact in the years ahead. Pam’s 30+ years of nonprofit experience started with the turnaround of an organization in financial crisis, leading to the launch of a consultancy providing training, transition, and turnaround services to nonprofits and associations in the US and East Africa. In 2016, Pam became COO/CFO for the first women’s college in Rwanda, leading an international team across 3 continents and overseeing administration, finance and operations as the business grew from 50 students to over 400. Pam’s work consistently reflects a commitment to equity.

Darren Hammond

Site Operations Leader

Darren Hammond is currently serving as the Site Operations Leader for the Shirley Proctor Puller Foundation. He is a graduate of Florida State University with a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics Education. He also holds a Master of Science in Curriculum & Instruction, National Louis University, and an Education Specialist Degree (Ed. S) in Administration & Supervision, Nova Southeastern University. Darren spent 37 years with Pinellas County Schools transforming students to reach their ultimate learning potential using proven classroom strategies developed during his tenure in education. While working with Pinellas County Schools, he served as Teacher, Guidance counselor, Assistant Principal and as a Principal. Darren is a passionate educator who openly shares his love of learning with teachers, parents, and other educators! He was born and raised in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Keisha Snead

Academic Leader

B.S. in Elementary Education,Cum Laude, FAMU 1996

I have served 24 years within the Elementary school setting in various instructional roles.  I have also served as the Mentor Coordinator for new and returning teachers. 

I have led professional development for faculty at several schools within Pinellas County.  I have coached colleagues in the understanding and delivery of the standards of reading and writing.  My love for learning is what drives my passion for teaching.  When I look into the eyes of a scholar who needs me, that is where I find my passion!