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Coalitions

Meet the CCEP Board

At the state level, the Office of Early Learning oversees funding authorized by the legislature and federal funding from the Child Care and Development Fund. The CCEP board determines the program’s annual budget, distributes funds to local early learning coalitions and makes policy decisions about administering the program. The board consists of six members appointed by the governor, including a representative of the Executive Office of the Governor. The other members are from the corporate or child care community.

Robert H. Buesing, Chair

A senior member of the Trenam Kemker law firm in Tampa, Robert Buesing has been with the firm since 1977, co-chairing the firm’s commercial litigation practice group for many years. His practice includes construction law and government contracting, arbitration, and eminent domain and condemnation. Buesing graduated from the University of Wisconsin and went on to earn a Juris Doctorate from their law school. Active in the community, Buesing has been on the board of the YMCA Tampa Metro since 1992, serving as chair from 2008 to 2011. He has been on the board of the Early Learning Coalition of Hillsborough County since 2005, serving as secretary and member of the executive committee since 2007. He has been on the board of the Children’s Forum since 2003 and has board chair since 2010. He is also on the boards of Tampa’s Tiger Bay Club and the Florida Council of Economic Education. In 2012 he received the YMCA Red Triangle Award, the highest honor given to volunteer who has made a significant and lasting impact on the organization.

Brandi Gunder, Vice-Chair

Deputy Policy Coordinator for the Executive Office of the Governor’s Office of Policy and Budget Education Unit, Brandi Gunder has worked for Governor Rick Scott since Nov. 2012, serving as the unit’s budget chief from Jan. 2015 to March 2016, and before that as a governmental analyst making recommendations to the Governor regarding education issues.

Before joining the Governor’s Office of Policy and Budget, Gunder served for several years as a legislative analyst in the Florida Senate Majority Office. Prior to that she was an associate in the Law Office of Collin Cherry, P.L., in Tallahassee.

Gunder graduated from the University of West Florida in Pensacola with a degree in accounting, earned a Juris Doctorate from Florida State University College of Law and was admitted to the Florida Bar in Oct. 2009.

Susan Duda Hanas

Superintendent of St. Luke’s Lutheran School in Oviedo, Susan Duda Hanas was a student at St. Luke’s before she became a school parent, principal and then superintendent. After earning a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from the University of Tampa, she began teaching at St. Peter’s Lutheran Elementary School in Belle Glade, later becoming school principal. She moved to St. Luke’s Lutheran School as principal in 1999 and became superintendent in 2010. She serves as chairman of the Lutheran Haven Board of Trustees in Oviedo, on the oversight board of Sewell Charter School of Belle Glade, chairman of the Ferdinand and Anna Duda Foundation, and chairman of the board of directors of A. Duda & Sons, Inc. She also serves on the board of trustees and is on the leadership and executive ministry teams of St. Luke’s Lutheran Church and School and is a member of the board of Lutheran Counseling Services.

Christine Myers, RN

A registered nurse and pediatric case manager with Shands Children’s Hospital, Christine Myers was born in Buffalo, N.Y., and moved to Hollywood, Fla., in 1964. After graduating from high school, she worked as a part-time nursing assistant and in factories while attending school for practical nursing. In 1974, she started her nursing career as an LPN. She went on to obtain her RN in 1990 as an independent learner through the University of the State of New York, incorporating her experience as an LPN. She later earned a Legal Nurse Consultant credential. When she began working as an RN in pediatrics, she discovered that she loved working for and with children. In 1992, she moved to Crystal River losing everything in the 1993 Storm of the Century. After relocating to Gainesville, she worked at North Florida Regional Medical Center from 1993 to 1996, transferring to Shands at Lake Shore in 1996 where she assisted in opening and working on the pediatric and adult floors. In Jan. 2000, she accepted a transfer to UF Health Shands and has been a pediatric case manager since 2008. With fewer resources available for children, she investigates, searches for and finds resourceful ways to meet the children’s needs.

Javier A. Soto

Javier Alberto Soto is president and CEO of The Miami Foundation, a community foundation that uses civic leadership, community investment and philanthropy to improve the quality of life in Greater Miami. Soto has transformed the foundation’s business model and recently led development of two foundation projects: "The Our Miami Report," a biennial data-focused picture of Greater Miami’s quality of life, showing the community’s greatest challenges and opportunities, and "Give Miami Day," a 24-hour, annual online charitable giving event that has raised almost $10M for more than 500 Miami-Dade County nonprofits since 2012. Before joining the foundation, Javier served as senior vice president and general counsel at Grayling, a multi-disciplinary public affairs firm. He spent much of his career in the public sector as a litigator in the Miami-Dade County Attorney's Office; the county's director of intergovernmental affairs; and chief of staff to County Mayor Alex Penelas. Active on community and professional association boards, he is on the boards of directors for TotalBank, the Council on Foundations and the Florida Philanthropic Network. He chairs the Knight Foundation's Miami Community Advisory Committee and is a member of the Orange Bowl Committee. Javier earned his undergraduate degree from Florida State University and his J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center. He is also a 2013 Henry Crown Fellow, an Aspen Institute leadership program that engages next-generation leaders to develop community-spirited leadership and put thought into action.

Dr. Sherry A. White

Dr. Sherry White has served as President/CEO of Capstone Adaptive Learning and Therapy Centers (formerly United Cerebral Palsy of Northwest Florida) since April 1991 and has nearly 30 years of experience in the nonprofit sector working for the Association of Retarded Citizens (ARC), YWCA and Capstone. She has an undergraduate degree in business administration from the University of South Alabama, a master’s in public administration from the University of West Florida and a doctorate in public administration from the University of Alabama. During her 25 years with Capstone, Dr. White has been responsible for elevating the nonprofit agency from a deficit budget situation in 1991 to a nearly $5 million annual budget. Capstone has grown from serving fewer than 50 individuals in Escambia County to serving more than 400 infants, children, youth and adults in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties, through 12 program sites including group homes for youth and adults; public charter schools for infants to 5-year-olds; an adult program in Pensacola; the Milton Child Care Center for infants to 5-year-olds; a transition center; and two newly opened stand-alone children’s therapy centers. Striving for advancement and well being for infants, children, youth and adults with significant disabilities in Northwest Florida, Dr. White serves on local, state and national committees and boards on behalf of people with disabilities. She is past chair of the United Way Agencies Directors Association, past member of the United Way Board of Directors and past chair of the Escambia County Early Learning Coalition. She is a member of the Florida Association of Rehabilitation Facilities serving as chair in 2003/2004; a member of the American Society of Public Administrators; U.S. Autism and Asperger Association; NAEYC; and past member of UCP National Association.