Executive Leadership Team
Secretary Mike Carroll has devoted his entire state career of more than 25 years serving the Florida Department of Children and Families. During his tenure, he has driven numerous improvements to the way Florida serves and protects vulnerable children and families, and is recognized as a skilled organizational and systems assessor.
Most recently, he led the department’s development of a first-of-its kind website to allow public review of abuse-related child deaths, giving communities the ability to identify and bridge gaps in local services. He also hired the state’s first Assistant Secretary for Child Welfare and first Child Fatality Specialist, and oversaw an in-depth review of the state’s mental health treatment facilities and behavioral health system.
Prior to being named Secretary, he served four years as the Regional Managing Director and six years as Director of Programs for the 11-county SunCoast Region spanning from Pasco to Collier County. As Regional Managing Director, Mr. Carroll developed innovative and significant system models that were ultimately implemented statewide. He was integral in the regional implementation of the Managing Entity concept in substance abuse and mental health, the transition to a community-based system of care in child welfare, and a redesign of the economic self-sufficiency program. Mr. Carroll has served in or managed almost every program the department oversees. His previous management experience includes foster care and child care licensing, strategic planning, quality assurance, economic self-sufficiency eligibility programs, and special programs including one focused on reintegrating ex-felons into the community.
Mr. Carroll has served on the Florida Sterling Board of Examiners for nearly 20 years, and is a judge for the Governor’s Sterling Award process. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Boston College and is a Certified Public Manager.
Mr. Carroll has two children, Samantha and Jason. He is active in his local community and has been a dynamic youth football coach and mentor for more than 25 years.
Dr. David Fairbanks
Dr. David Fairbanks is Deputy Secretary of the Florida Department of Children and Families. He has 14 years of experience with the department including as Assistant Secretary for Programs, Director of Provider Relations, Assistant Director of Community-Based Care¸ Director of Mission Support and Performance, and Chief of Children’s Mental Health.
He has worked in several states as an independent consultant on child welfare, mental health and education systems reform efforts. Dr. Fairbanks earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Eastern Michigan University and his Master’s and Doctorate Degrees in Psychology from Florida State University. With Leon County Schools, he served as a teacher and School Director. He also was an Assistant Professor of School Psychology at State University of New York.
Publications include “School-Related Services and Medicaid: A Florida Handbook” and “Working Smarter in a Shared Service Network: A Resource and Planning Guide” published by the Florida Department of Education, as well as numerous technical reports on systems of care, family services, case planning and program development.
David is married to Terri Eggers who formerly worked for the Department of Juvenile Justice and the Department of Education. Together, they have four children, two grandchildren and one foster grandchild.
Chief of Staff
Heather Stearns joined the department in 2017 as Chief of Staff after more than five years of service with the Executive Office of the Governor. Since May 2016, Heather served as Special Counsel to the Chief Inspector General. From 2013 to 2016, Heather served as the Deputy General Counsel in the Governor’s office. As part of her duties, she liaised with the five executive branch health and human services agencies, including the department. She previously served as the General Counsel for the Florida Division of Emergency Management. Heather also has experience in the private sector through her time in private law firms in central and south Florida. Heather earned her Bachelor’s Degree in political science and international affairs from the University of Miami and her Juris Doctorate from Florida State University College of Law. She lives in Tallahassee with her husband and their daughter.
Assistant Secretary for Administration
Scott Stewart was previously the agency’s Chief Information Officer, responsible for overseeing information technology systems and coordinating data sharing between state and federal agencies and among our employees and partners. Previously, Scott served as Chief Information Officer for the Agency for Workforce Innovation and worked as an IT director and officer for the Florida Department of Corrections, the state’s Department of Business and Professional Regulation and other state agencies. Scott also brings private sector expertise from working with Walt Disney World and Scotty’s. Scott earned his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Florida Southern College in Lakeland and his Master of Business Administration from Nova University in Fort Lauderdale.
Assistant Secretary for Operations
Vicki began her career in 1977 with the former Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services at Florida State Hospital’s Mentally Retarded Defendant Program. After serving as the Executive Director of the Gulf County Association for Retarded Citizens, Vicki returned to HRS in 1984 with the Developmental Services Program Office in Panama City. From there Vicki worked in Contract Management for Developmental Services (now Agency for Persons with Disabilities), Family Safety, and ACCESS Florida. She also has experience in managing Volunteer Services, and operations in Foster Care, Child Care Licensing, Adult Services, ACCESS Florida, and Substance Abuse & Mental Health.
Jeri Flora Culley,
Assistant Secretary for Economic Self-Sufficiency
Jeri Flora Culley previously served as the Program Director for Economic Self-Sufficiency, a position she has held twice, first in 2012 and again starting last April. She joined the department in 2007 as the Chief of Quality Management and has also served as the Chief of Policy. In 2013, she accepted an executive leadership position with the Texas Health and Human Service Commission, returning to Florida and the department in 2015. She began her government career in Missouri, starting as an eligibility worker and departing after serving as Quality Control Director. The varied responsibilities of her prior experience will serve her well as she assumes this vital role for the department and the state.
Assistant Secretary for Child Welfare
JoShonda Guerrier was appointed Assistant Secretary for Child Welfare for the Florida Department of Children and Families in April 2016. A certified public manager with more than two decades of social services experience, JoShonda leads with integrity, personal and collegial accountability, and a commitment to excellence.
Only the second person to hold the Assistant Secretary for Child Welfare position since the Legislature created it in 2014, JoShonda leads the Department’s Office of Child Welfare. This role’s responsibilities include statewide policy development for the Florida Abuse Hotline, child protective investigations and case management; the Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children; the Office of Child Care Regulation; domestic violence; child welfare performance management and data reporting; child welfare information systems and strategic projects.
JoShonda joined the Department in 2006 as an Operations Manager in the Family Safety Program Office. Prior to joining the Department, she worked as a child welfare certification Trainer at Tallahassee Community College, a Program Specialist at The Ounce of Prevention Fund of Florida in Tallahassee and Clinical Director of Camelot Community Care, Inc., in Lauderdale Lakes, Fla.
In addition to serving as a Florida Abuse Hotline Counselor and Adjunct Lecturer at Florida State University, JoShonda served as a Program Manager in the Department’s Adult Protective Services Program and Director of Child Welfare Strategic Projects in the Office of Child Welfare.
Skilled at project oversight and program management, JoShonda led the implementation of significant child welfare legislation passed in 2014. She also has facilitated public hearings and public workshops during the development of Florida Administrative Code rules focused on child welfare.
JoShonda earned a bachelor’s degree of social work from Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University and a master’s degree of social work from Florida State University.
John N. Bryant,
Assistant Secretary for Substance Abuse and Mental Health
John N. Bryant is Assistant Secretary for Substance Abuse and Mental Health at the Florida Department of Children and Families. Bryant previously served as Vice President for Legislative and External Affairs at the Florida Council for Community Mental Health, working with and advising state agencies on legislative and budget priorities, policy development, contract services, behavioral health program design, research and advocacy. Before that he worked with the department (and under the Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services) for 36 years in multiple roles both regionally and at the statewide level including Chief of Operations for the Substance Abuse Program Office, Chief of the State Mental Health Treatment Facilities, Assistant Secretary for Mental Health Programs, Chief of Adult Mental Health and others. He completed course work for a Master’s degree in Public Health at the University of South Florida, and has a Bachelor’s degree in Social Sciences from the University of West Florida.
Grainne M. O’Sullivan
Director, Children's Legal Services
Grainne M. O’Sullivan, currently serves as Director of Children’s Legal Services. She joined the Department in May 2013 as Children's Legal Services Regional Director, coming to that role from the Office of the Attorney General where she supervised all juvenile dependency cases and conducted training on juvenile law for attorneys, state agents and the Dependency Court Improvement Project. She previously served as an Assistant Attorney General from 2001 to 2005 and as Staff Attorney for the Legal Aid Society of Broward County in 2001, where she represented elderly clients at administrative hearings in immigration, bankruptcy, landlord-tenant, divorce, and Medicare matters. She earned a political science degree from the New York Institute of Technology and a law degree from Brooklyn Law School. While in school, Grainne represented clients seeking asylum in the United States in federal court as part of the Safe Harbor Project and was a Student Assistant District Attorney for the Kings County District Attorney’s Office in Brooklyn, NY, where she was responsible for a full misdemeanor caseload and functioned as a prosecutor in the largest district attorney’s office in the nation.
Rebecca Kapusta is General Counsel for the Florida Department of Children and Families. She most recently served as Chief Legal Counsel for the 11-county SunCoast Region which spans from Pasco to Collier County. She has served with the department for nine years and has previously served in Children’s Legal Services, as Assistant General Counsel, and Assistant Regional Counsel. She has litigated many of the department’s high-profile cases, including before the Florida Supreme Court. Prior to joining the department, Rebecca served as a General Magistrate in the Twelfth Judicial Circuit and maintained her own practice. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism at the University of Central Florida and earned her law degree from Stetson University College of Law.