Head Media Specialist, Chet's Creek Elementary
Karen "KK" Cherney is an exceptional educator and beloved by those who know and collaborate with her. She is a founding educator for the continuously number one rated elementary school in Duval County, Chet’s Creek Elementary, and has held the position of Head Media Specialist since 1998. In 2010, KK beat out educators across the nation to win the prestigious Alferd Williams Literacy Award given by Scholastic Books to honor those who inspire a love of reading. KK has won additional awards including “The Super Hero Librarian Award” by Channel 12.
As quoted by Chet’s Creek Elementary School principal, Susan T. Phillips, “KK understands the importance of relationships and seeks to know and love every child she serves. She is routinely sought out by students for celebrations of a goal achieved, help in completing a difficult task, or for a hug and reassurance that everything will be ok during times of disappointment and sadness. One of the greatest honors I receive is when a child mistakenly calls me Mrs. KK – I wish! She engages authors, illustrators, business partners, and community members in joining our mission to create truly meaningful learning experiences for children. She doesn’t know the word “no” and sees every obstacle to success as a mere challenge. I have never known an educator more passionate about creating a love of books in children. Her passion for the written word is contagious.”
KK currently serves the national Board of Directors for Scholastic Books and is a member of Mayor Curry's Literacy Task Force for Jacksonville. She was a founding member of the UNF Library Dean's Leadership Council from 2008 - 2011 and resumed her membership in 2017.
While pursuing degrees in Communications & Marketing at UNF, over the next two years, Ellen hopes to use her experiences over the last decade to help foster community and growth within the University Library and the Jacksonville community. Ellen is the founder of Art Sales and Stories and principal of River City Contractors, Inc. Ellen is a passionate arts advocate and enjoys business development, marketing, and client relations for both of her companies. Ellen joined the UNF Library Dean's Leadership Council in 2018.
Retired, Banking & Real Estate
Immediate Past President, Jacksonville Historical Society
Co-founder, Jacksonville History Consortium
Jeff Graf grew up in Tampa and is a 1973 graduate of the University of Florida. A career move brought him to Jacksonville and he has resided in the Historic Avondale neighborhood of the city since 1983. Now retired, Jeff spent his career in various aspects of executive banking, commercial real estate development, brokerage, and management. Jeff spent the majority of his career with Barnett Bank, and its successor, Bank of America, where he held strategic planning, retail product management, real estate management, and branch office network planning positions.
Jeff’s community service experience includes membership on the Riverside Avondale Preservation (RAP) board where, in his term as Vice Chair, he was part of a team that developed RAP’s first strategic plan. In addition, he headed RAP’s Governance committee which guided board development and education as well as the development of RAP’s policies and procedures. He was also involved with the creation of the Riverside Arts Market and co-founded the Jacksonville History Consortium, the collaborative network of more than 30 community history archives and museums in the city, of which the Thomas G. Carpenter Library is a member. In May 2016 the Jacksonville Historical Society (JHS) Board of Directors elected Jeff as President. Jeff was immediate-past JHS Vice-President and recently took on the role as Co-Chair of JHS’s Strategic Planning committee. Jeff and his wife, Kathy, are the parents of two grown sons, one a current Osprey. When not busy with their volunteer commitments locally, they enjoy spending time in their summer home in the mountains of western North Carolina. Jeff joined the UNF Library Dean's Leadership Council in 2018.
UNF Alum '99, Art Program Manager - Jacksonville Aviation Authority
Jen Jones Murray moved to Jacksonville from San Diego as a teen. She attended the University of North Florida and has a degree in English with a minor in Art History. She was Director of Sales and later owner of R. Roberts Gallery and Jen Jones Art Consulting from 1998 - 2014, providing art consulting and art and custom framing to hospitals, corporations, government buildings, and residences throughout the Southeast. Jen has overseen large civic projects for the City of Jacksonville, including her service as merchant association president of the Shoppes of Avondale from 2002 - 2007 -- in which she wrote the Town Center Visioning Grant to win funds for and oversee the restoration of this historic business district. In 2008, Jen organized, with then UNF Library Dean, Shirley Hallblade, the Art in the Library Collection, an original art collection installed in the Library and comprised of nearly 150 pieces of original art created by artists living and working in the Northeast Florida region. For this contribution, she was awarded the 2009 Outstanding Alumni of the Year Award from UNF. Recently, she stepped away from her service to the Library Dean's Leadership Council to support the Library as Marketing and Community Engagement Coordinator from 2017 - 2019, all the while managing the Jacksonville Airport system's public arts program. While she continues to manage this program, she has now received her certification in art appraisal and is growing this new venture. Jen is the mother of four children, her eldest a new UNF student as of August 2019. She has served the UNF Library Dean's Leadership Council since 2008 and is a founding member.
UNF Alum '98, Owner - SPS Coaching LLC
Stacie Perron-Smith holds a Master of Business Administration from Florida State University and a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of North Florida. From 2014 to the present she has led SPS Coaching & Consulting and from 2006-2014 Stacie was the Human Resource Director at Florida Coastal School of Law. As an a strategic HR leader and consultant she has expertise in Strategic Leadership & Planning & Change Management, Leadership Development & Strength Management, Talent Acquisition & Retention – Job Descriptions, Competencies, Recruitment Software, Onboarding, Talent Management, Employee Training & Development & Learning Transfer, Communication & Collaboration Programs & Resources, Culture & Engagement, Coaching & Mentoring and offers training and support in many more areas of the field as well. Stacie joined the UNF Library Dean's Leadership Council in 2018.
Stephen Pollan is a Jacksonville native and successful entrepreneur with more than 20 years’ executive leadership experience. After progressing through operations management and human resources positions with international food-industry corporations, he chose to take advantage of new entrepreneurial opportunities developing in Jacksonville when creating Assessment Technologies Group (ATG). ATG provides human resource consulting to organizations through the provision of four key elements; organizational design and development, executive coaching and performance enhancement, workforce planning, sourcing and selection, and leadership training and development. Stephen is a well-respected businessman and devotes a great deal of his time improving the Jacksonville community as a philanthropist and working member of many local education, arts, and business-based boards and councils. Recently, his company was awarded the Small Business Leader of the Year Award from the JAX Chamber. On the UNF campus, Stephen supports both the Military and Veterans Resource Center, as a mentor helping Vets transition to the civilian workforce, and the UNF Library, as a member of the Library Dean's Leadership Council since 2018.
UNF Alumni '16 - College of Engineering, Civil Engineer
Jorge Rodriguez-Baz is the product of Cuban and Panamanian immigrants. He was born in Florida but raised in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico until the age of seven, then moved to Boca Raton, Florida. Working at an early age, he became comforted by hard work and, in doing so, observed the critical thinking skills and composure brought on by those with education. He felt passion in being a creator and dreamed of one day becoming an engineer. After high school, he ventured to Tallahassee, Florida with the intent of attending Florida State University, however in this college town he met the most influential figure in his life, Angellica. She pushed him to an unknown level and urged him to apply to many universities based on his accuracy and skill in construction. In June 2013, he was accepted to the University of North Florida.
He came to UNF seeking knowledge to support his aspirations for a better life for him and Angellica. He immersed himself in the UNF College of engineering, becoming highly involved in several student organizations. As is true of most engineering students, he frequented the university library - so much so that he found comfort in it. Later, he became a student assistant at the UNF Thomas G. Carpenter Library.
Working in the library provided him with a sense of belonging - as though he was not only a student but a contributing member of the UNF community. In the spring of 2016, he became a Civil Engineer and immediately began working in the heavy civil industry. As a professional, he has worked on many large-scale heavy civil construction jobs here on the First Coast.
Jorge has been a member of the UNF Library Dean's Leadership Council since 2018.
Felecia obtained her bachelor’s degree in Organizational Management from Warner Southern University. In 2002, she made the decision to pursue her law degree and is an alumna of Florida Coastal School of Law. Felecia joined the law firm of Edwards & Edwards, P.A. in 2016 after being in private practice for many years. Edwards & Edwards, P.A. is a full-service law firm providing legal assistance in a variety of areas, including family law, real estate, landlord/tenant, estate planning, business issues, and probate.
Felecia resides in the beautiful city of St. Augustine and spends as much time as possible in the mountains, on the water, and traveling. She is a classically trained pianist and loves live music and Broadway shows. She also believes it’s important to give back to the community, therefore Felecia volunteers her time as a Guardian Ad Litem for children who are victims of abuse, neglect, or sexual exploitation. She also volunteers hundreds of hours per year at St. Johns Legal Aid serving indigent people who cannot afford legal representation. Felecia joined the UNF Library Dean's Leadership Council in 2019.
Owner, LEARN INC
Organizer, Women's March Florida - Jacksonville Chapter
As the owner of LEARN INC for the past 20 years and the founder of Women Writing for (a) Change®, Jacksonville, Jennifer uses writing as a powerful tool to help actualize personal, community, and organizational change. She conducts private and public classes for individuals, community organizations, non-profits, and corporations. Jennifer believes libraries, whether in the home, in the community, and particularly at a university, are a central and critical tool for building community engagement and knowledge. She spent much of her youth with her nose in a book, either at Carnegie Library in Pittsburgh, at the Trinity College library in Hartford, and at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism library in New York. She currently facilitates writing circles at the Main Library downtown and in the Duval County jail system, among others, as part of her company outreach programs. Jennifer has provided programs for the Women’s Center at UNF and serves on the communications team for Generation W. She also serves on the Board of City Beautiful Jax and is the editor of Dorothy’s List, a non-partisan newsletter aimed at raising women’s voices, values, and leadership in Jacksonville. Jennifer taught at Tulane University while raising her two children. She has served the UNF Library Dean's Leadership Council since 2017.
Charter members are founding members of the UNF Library Dean's Leadership Council. In 2018 they enter their second decade of continual service to the Library and will maintain both active and financial support of the Library's enrichment needs. Charter members are noted by this designation* at right.
Distinguished members served the UNF Library Dean's Leadership Council for 10+ years, maintain ex-offico council participation, and their annual pledge -- which provides critically needed support for student and Library-user enrichment.
Dr. Walter R. Graham, Jr. and Ron Stephan were awarded Distinguished Memberships on November 15, 2017. Continue reading to meet them below.
Dr. Walter R. Graham, Jr.
Dr. Walter R. Graham, Jr. is a dermatologist by practice yet his greatest love is the intellectual and spiritual journey books and art provide to their patrons. These are just two areas of the UNF Library which Dr. and Mrs. Graham have invested in order to inspire students and library visitors alike. Dr. Graham was a founding member of the Library Dean's Leadership Council in 2007 and since then has underwritten the development of UNF's first and only student art gallery with a focus in teaching business fundamentals such as marketing and curation, the large-scale botanical sculptures adorning the Library's second floor by then UNF student Mary Ratliff, the publishing of a full-color book entitled "Writing on Water, Writing on Air" by English department faculty member Clark Lunberry, provided funding for framing needed for the Library's museum-quality Art in the Library Program, donated a mass collection of valuable art books, and so much more. Dr. Graham is also the recipient of the 2018 University of North Florida Honorary Alumni Award.
Chief Executive Officer, RealtyWEB.net
Ron Stephan is the CEO of the Northeast Florida Multiple Listing Service, Inc. as well as its subsidiary Metro Market Trends, Inc. He is a graduate of Robert Morris University and has earned a Certificate in Non-Profit Management from the University of Chicago. Ron serves on the boards of Northeast Florida MLS the Northeast Florida Association of REALTORS and many committees of the Florida Association of REALTORS ® most recently as a director on the Real Estate Industry Solutions Board of Managers. Ron’s career spans many years with information technology companies such as Mellon Bank, NCR Corporation, Tandy Business Systems and currently www.RealtyWEB.Net which provides services for Northeast Florida MLS, Northeast Florida Association of REALTORS ® and Metro Market Trends. During his time in Jacksonville, Ron is most proud of securing funding over the years in order to build two homes for HabiJax, establishing the Art in The Library Fund as well as the Technology Fund for the Thomas G. Carpenter Library. He is a Past Chair of the Library Dean’s Leadership Council and is a founding member of the council.