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.
William Robinson III, Pipeline Coordinator (Raines & Terry Parker High School)
William was 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 in Religion & Philosophy.
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.
Jerome Robinson, Teacher-Mentor (Raines High School)
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.
Jerome has over 11 years of teaching experience working with Middle and High school students. He has taught Health, History and various subjects.
He is a loving husband, proud father of five children and four grandchildren. He believes that you have the power to change your life through perseverance and determination.
Joslyn Graham, Teacher-Mentor (Raines High School)
Joslyn 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.
Jordan Earle Teacher-Mentor (Raines High School)
Jordan was born in Bronx, NY and at the age of eight moved to Orlando, FL. He attended West Orange High School and upon graduating from West Orange, he got his AA in Piano Performance from Valencia Community College. Jordan enrolled at University of North Florida where he received his B.M.A in Piano Performance.
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 Morrison, Teacher-Mentor (Raines High School)
Alexis is a native of Jacksonville, FL, and a graduate of First Coast high school. She received a Bachelor's degree and Master's degree in Criminal Justice from The University of Central Florida.
While serving as a substitute teacher and mentor in college, Alexis gained the passion of mentoring and wanting to lead youth in the right path of life. She also has the experience of working with youth as a Mental Health Therapist and a Case Manager. Alexis lives by the quote "Youth are the hope of our future".
Lucious Freeman, Teacher-Mentor (Terry Parker High School)
Lucious 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.
Marissa Clowers, Teacher-Mentor (Terry Parker High School)
Marissa is a native of Jacksonville, FL, and a graduate of Jean Ribault Senior high school. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from University of South Florida in 2018, and a Master of Arts in Public Relations degree from Full Sail University in 2020.
Upon completing her master's degree, Marissa began working in college admissions at Culinary Institute Lenotre in Houston, Tx.
Marissa is a product of Take Stock in Children and the College Reach Out Program. She says these programs gave her the opportunity to learn about the possibilities for her life post high school graduation.
Jazmine McCoy, Pipeline Coordinator (Jean Ribault Middle & High School)
Jazmine was raised in Jacksonville, Fl where she attended and graduated from First Coast high school. Upon graduating, she attended Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach and earned a degree in Communications.
Jazmine began her career in education as an after-school Program Director with Community Connections of Jacksonville, and then with Communities In Schools of Jacksonville.
Jazmine 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.
Bryant Wilcox, Teacher-Mentor (Ribault High School)
Bryant is a native of Jacksonville, Florida and graduated from Paxon Paxon School for Advanced Studies. Bryant is a graduate of Bethune-Cookman University with a degree in Religion and Philosophy with a concentration in Christian Ministries. He is currently pursuing a Master's degree at Crown college in Organizational Leadership with a concentration in Nonprofit Management.
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. At the 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.
Alexis Cheatham, Teacher-Mentor (Ribault High School)
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.
Alexis 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.
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.
Semara Watkins, Teacher-Mentor (Ribault High School)
Semara was born and raised in Jacksonville, Florida. 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. Semara has a love for nonprofit organizations, where she enjoyed giving back to the community and helping others. One of Semara’s greatest accomplishments is becoming a mother to her son.
Tyson Wright, Teacher-Mentor (Ribault High School)
Tyson is a proud Jacksonville, Florida native. As a youth he enjoyed participating in all sports, excelling in football and track & field. Tyson attended Paxon School for Advanced Studies where he graduate from in 2015 with a 3.5 GPA as well as being an All-Conference athlete in two sports (Football and Track & Field). Tyson continued his education and athletic career by attending HBCU Bethune-Cookman University where he graduated in 2019 with a B.A. in Business Administration and becoming an ALL-Conference.
Tyson's life passions are fashion, inspiring youth, coaching and fatherhood. He aspires to pursue his love for fashion by becoming a stylist and eventually having his own clothing line. Tyson lives by his belief in keeping God first and his mantra "Lift as you climb, someone always needs a hand".
Adrian Toney, Teacher-Mentor (Ribault Middle School)
Adrian is a native of Sebring Florida. At the age of 10 he relocated to Jacksonville Florida and at 14 he moved to Middleburg, Florida where he graduated from Middleburg High School.
Adrian received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Religion and Philosophy from Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach, Florida where he was privileged to become apart of the organization, Progressive Black Men Inc.
One of Adrian'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.
Dzestinee Glenn-Bland, Teacher-Mentor (Ribault Middle School)
Dzestinee is a native of Jacksonville, Florida. She is a 2014 Early College Honor graduate of Jean Ribault High School and a 2018 Graduate of the University of Florida where she majored in Political Science. In December of 2021, she received her Masters in Education and Training from Strayer University.
In her spare time she enjoys coaching girls basketball, taking pictures, public speaking and working as a DJ. Her desire is to one day serve as an elected official.
She lives and breathes by the thought "Service is the Rent you pay for your room here on earth" and by the scripture, "To whom much is given, much is required".