Elevate Jacksonville Staff
Jon Heymann M.Ed., Executive Director
Jon Heymann has a professional background spanning 30 years that ranges from private ministry to his current position as the Executive Director of Elevate Jacksonville. He was former CEO of the Jacksonville Children’s Commission, providing $38 million dollars to support numerous child-serving non-profits.
He holds a Masters Degree in Education (University of Florida), and has completed Graduate work in Psychology, and Doctoral work at the University of North Florida.
Clemson University awarded Heymann their top national award (Crystal Award) for his work in drop-out prevention, and Stanford University named Heymann a “Transformational Leader”.
Mr. Heymann serves as a Board member of numerous national organizations as well as state and local agencies:
He has been a keynote speaker at national conventions, government and civic groups and a host of regional and local businesses:
"You can’t burn out until you’ve caught on fire”
He believes that our grandest hour has yet to be lived, and our greatest accomplishments have yet to be achieved by those who dare to be great.
Carla Austin, Program Director
Carla Austin has an extensive background working in the non-profit sector spanning 18 years. Formerly the Interim CEO and Vice President of Youth and Family Services for Community Connections of Jacksonville, Carla’s major role was to oversee the daily operations of planning and implementing youth servicing programs.
Carla grew up in Alabama and holds a Bachelor’s degree from Tuskegee Institute (now Tuskegee University). In her spare time, she enjoys traveling and reading. She serves on the advisory board of Lutheran Services of Florida Head Start Program. She is a wife, mother of a daughter and son and a very happy grandmother to her grandson.
“If not You, Who? If not Now, When?”
After a few years working in non-profit, Carla decided her true calling was working with and serving people, particularly youth. Over the years, she has seen hundreds of students graduate, athletes become pro players, families purchase their first home, homelessness decrease and many more wonderful stories to tell. Carla says it is her profoundest joy to support and inspire young people to do their best, be their best!
Bob Baldwin, Director of Development and Operations
Bob brings over 25 years of experience in nonprofit, corporate, and small business to his current position as Director of Operations and Development. Besides his many years at the Jax Chamber, he was most recently the Executive Director of PARC Foundation, a private foundation associated with PARC Entertainment.
Bob holds a Bachelors Degree from Stetson University, and is certified in Myers Briggs and DISC personality profiles as well as a Covey "Seven Habits" facilitator. Bob presently serves as the Vice Chair for the Public Service Grant Committee for the city of Jacksonville, and past President of the Board for Hubbard House, as well a Board member of "Lifework Leadership" and "Her Song".
When Bob is not at work he enjoys running and photography. Most of all he enjoys spending time with his wife of 47 years, two daughters and two grandchildren.
Jazmine McCoy, Pipeline Coordinator
Jazmine McCoy knew at an early age that she wanted to make a difference in the lives of others. She believes that if we each take the time to help just one person, there is a greater chance that everyone would be successful. Jazmine has been working with youth since high school as a Girl Scout Leader In Training.
Jazmine was raised in Jacksonville, FL, where she attended and graduated First Coast High School in 2007. Upon graduating, she attended Bethune Cookman University in Daytona Beach and earned a degree in Communications.
Although Jazmine studied Communications, her passion was to make a difference in the lives of children. She began her career in education as an after-school Program Director with Community Connections of Jacksonville, and then with Communities In Schools of Jacksonville. She planned and implemented program offerings in association with these highly successful after-school program.
Jerome Robinson, Teacher Mentor (Raines High School)
Jerome Robison has over 11 years of teaching experience working with Middle ad High school students. He has taught Health, History and various subjects.
Jerome was raised in Jacksonville, FL, where he attended and graduated from William M. Raines High School. Upon graduation, he attended Florida Memorial University where he earned a Bachelor degree in Business Administration.
While he enjoys mentoring youth in his community, as a certified Life Coach, Jerome is also skilled in assisting others reach their goals for success. He believes that you have the power to change your life through perseverance and determination.
Jerome enjoys reading and watching college football as well as spending quality time with his family. Parenting has been the greatest experience of all. He is a loving husband, proud father of five children and four grandchildren.
Joslyn Graham, Teacher-Mentor (Raines High School)
Joslyn LeAnn Graham is a native of Jacksonville, Florida and a graduate of Robert E. Lee High school and Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University. She currently attends St. Thomas University where she is obtaining her Masters degree in educational leadership.
Her passion is to impact the lives of children by opening up her own school catered to urban youth students. At FAMU, Joslyn was an Initiate in the ORIGINAL Beta Alpha chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated, where she also served as Miss Senior Attendant.
One of Mrs. Graham's favorite bible verses is Psalms 91:4 "He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart." - a daily reminder to always trust in God.
Janea Pugh Teacher-Mentor (Raines High School)
Ms. Janea Pugh was born and raised in Jacksonville, Florida as a middle child of three. She has always had a strong love for education and has shown this gracefully during her youth in school. Janea graduated from Samuel W. Wolfson High school, and later attended the Great Bethune-Cookman University graduating Summa Cum Laude with her B.A. in Political Science. She then moved back home to teach secondary African American History, and for five years taught World History, US Government, and Economics.
During her undergrad experience, Janea served as a peer mentor to incoming freshmen and knew she needed to be a part of helping her peers build character and understand the importance of simply doing the right thing. Teaching gave her the perfect opportunity to implement the skills of character, hard work, and decision making in the classroom. Janea is excited to elevate and teach urban students the importance of character qualities, and how to use those qualities to become as successful as they can imagine!
Janea is very bubbly and may be compared to sunshine in human form. She aspires to continue to work with urban youth and obtain her Master's in Public Administration. She has plans of being a wife, mother, and lifelong mentor. She spends most of her time teaching, enjoying family, adventuring with friends, cooking, reading, and listening to endless hours of music. Janea truly believes "when you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change" (Dr. Wayne Dryer). If students are exposed to what Elevate has to offer, they will reach levels of unimaginable success with the perfect character qualities to carry them on.
Jordan Earle Teacher-Mentor (Raines High School)
Jordan Earle was born in Bronx, NY but at the age of eight moved to Orlando, FL where he was raised. At ten years old he decided that he wanted to pick up piano and since then he has never stopped playing. He attended West Orange High School where he was able to continue the cultivation of his love for music by joining the school’s piano and chorus program.
Upon graduating from West Orange, he got his AA in piano performance from Valencia Community College. After that, Jordan attended the University of North Florida where he attained his B.M.A in Piano Performance. During his time there he was highly involved in the music program. He was the secretary for the MTNA Collegiate chapter at UNF, volunteered to help professors put on recitals, competitions, masterclasses, and teacher-student workshops, and an in-school accompanist for fellow students.
After graduating from UNF in 2018, Jordan has been a dedicated piano teacher at multiple schools in the Jacksonville area. He believes that anyone can learn anything if they have the passion, dedication, and patience to do so.
Alexis Cheatham, Teacher-Mentor (Ribault High School)
Alexis Cheatham has been actively involved in the life of youth for about 10 years. Alexis has served youth in every area and activity from teaching dance in local studios, to holding community events for teenage girls, to being a Youth Specialist with Boys and Girls Club, to leading FYRE Student Ministry at St. Paul Church of Jacksonville.
Alexis was born in Virginia but grew up in Florida. She graduated from First Coast High School, then went on to receive a Bachelor of Arts degree in Liberal Studies with a concentration in Mass Communication from Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach, FL.
Out of all the things Alexis has accomplished, her greatest accomplishment is her family. She is happily married to the love of her life and they are the proud parents of two sons.
Bryant Wilcox, Teacher-Mentor (Ribault High School)
Bryant Marshall Wilcox is a graduate of Bethune Cookman University. During his time at Bethune Cookman, Bryant was an intern at the Howard Thurman home in Daytona Beach as an archivist, community organizer, and docent. This home commemorates the life of Howard Washington Thurman, a prolific author and educator. At this museum, Bryant organized summer enrichment programs for the youth in the community and was awarded the MLK scholarship, given to him because of his commitment to community service and scholastic achievement.
He is a native of Jacksonville where he graduated from Paxon School for Advanced Studies. While in Jacksonville, Bryant was the president of the Links Leadership Academy under the supervision of now retired president of Florida State College, Kent Campus Dr. Barbara Darby.
Being raised by both of his parents, who are retired educators and church leader. Bryant is very passionate about serving his community, including being very active in his home church as the youth minister.
Most recently, Bryant was a 6th grade Math Teacher at the KIPP school in Jacksonville. His ability to relate to young people is what motivates Bryant to make a difference.
William Robinson III, Teacher-Mentor (Ribault High School)
Early on, William Robinson III recognized his passion as an educator and his calling to meet the holistic needs of both students and families.
Born and raised in Jacksonville Florida, William matriculated through the Duval County Public School system, and upon graduating Samuel W. Wolfson high school he was accepted into Bethune Cookman University in Daytona Beach where he obtained his B.A. degree.
William has served his community through numerous civic and faith-based organizations throughout the state of Florida. Notably, he helped to create and administer the Tiphne Darshay Hollis Foundation. The organization was founded in honor of an innocent victim of a drive-by shooting in Jacksonville, Florida, with the core aim of helping youth commit to ending violence in their lives, homes, and communities.
Semara Watkins, Teacher-Mentor (Ribault High School)
Semara Watkins was born and raised on the north side of Jacksonville, Florida . During her high school years , Semara attended Paxon School for Advanced Studies and graduated with honors. She then went on to Florida A & M University in Tallahassee, Florida where she graduated with a Bachelors of Science , followed by her Masters Degree in Public Health from the University of North Florida.
Semara’s passion to teach came shortly after becoming a substitute teacher while pursuing her Masters degree. Teaching was not her career goal, but having two parents as educators became a great influence on her decision to become a teacher. Semara also had a love for nonprofit organizations, where she enjoyed giving back to the community and helping others. Becoming a part of Elevate, Semara is able to use her skills in education while also working for a nonprofit organization.
Recently , Semara became a Spring 2021 initiate of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc where she will continue to serve the community. One of Semara’s greatest accomplishments is becoming a mother to her son. While Semara is a very outgoing, ambitious woman, her son has now added an abundance of love and joy to her life.
Adrian Toney, Teacher-Mentor
Adrian Toney is a native of Sebring Florida. At the age of 10 he relocated to the great, bold city of Jacksonville Florida and at 14 he moved to Middleburg, Florida where he graduated from Middleburg High School.
Mr. Toney attained his Bachelor of Arts degree in Religion and Philosophy from Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach, Florida where he was privileged to become part of the Progressive Black Men Inc. organization. He’s had the pleasure of serving as the parliamentarian, community service chair, membership general and was the 2020-2021 President. He also served as Resident Assistant for two years at Bethune Cookman University.
He attributes his grandparents for giving him a great appreciation for the impartation of wisdom from one person to another. He remains active in his community through his local church International Kingdom Ministries.
One of Mr. Toney’s passions is to help people cultivate the gifts that are inside of them, and guide them in the path that their gift would be most effective. His passion for gift discovery and interpersonal engagement allows him to be transparent and impactful to those whom he meets.
Lucious Freeman, Teacher-Mentor
Lucious Freeman is a native of Savannah, GA, and a proud graduate of Georgia Southern University where he earned his BA in History. He has an abundance of experience working with youth for the past 20 years.
During his career working with youth, Mr. Freeman has been a Teacher, Mentor, After School Counselor, Summer Camp Counselor, Summer Camp Administrator, Camp Director, Teen Program Coordinator, Teen Program Manager, and Director of Program Services just to name a few. He has also received numerous awards and accolades throughout his career.