The start of the regular meeting of the County Commission on Monday (June 20) was atypical as students of the third cohort of the Flagler County Leadership Academy were recognized during a brief graduation ceremony.
Sixteen students – representing the Flagler County Board of County Commissioners, the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office, the Flagler County Tax Collector’s Office, Flagler County Supervisor of Elections, and Flagler Schools, as well as the cities of Bunnell, Flagler Beach, and Palm Coast – were presented diplomas for completing this leadership development program.
“I think it is extremely important for our community that we continue to develop the next generation of leaders,” said County Administrator Heidi Petito, a graduate of the inaugural class. “I would like to show my appreciation to the Board of County Commissioners for their continued commitment to our organization’s success in the establishment of this leadership program.”
Former county administrator Jerry Cameron and Joe Saviak – an independent consultant who previously taught Public Administration at Flagler College – facilitated the program. The materials and methodology of the Academy are in line with graduate level-coursework, and the program is structured like those undertaken by Fortune 500 companies.
“I remember the first day of class when Professor Cameron offered $100 of his own money to anyone who would bow out gracefully and not waste anyone’s time being there if they weren’t going to fully commit,” said class Valedictorian Lakesha Byrd, financial services coordinator for the City of Bunnell. “No one stood. I was a little unnerved at that moment, because how hard could this course be for him to pay people to leave.”
The rigorous curriculum was designed to develop the potential of top-tier staff, to further professionalize the agencies, and to establish succession planning. The course of the study utilized an intimate class size to promote a high level of student engagement. More than 40 hours of external training included opportunities to participate in executive level planning and issue resolution.
“We teach the strategies, subjects, and skills proven to ensure success as a leader. We strengthen teamwork within and across local governments,” Saviak said. “Students learn best practices to optimize effectiveness and efficiency for the citizens they serve.”
Flagler County Leadership Academy 2022 Graduates (listed alphabetically):
Joseph Barile, Commander, Flagler County Sheriff’s Office;
George Bender, Commander, Flagler County Sheriff’s Office;
Lakesha Byrd, Financial Services Coordinator, City of Bunnell;
Stephen Cox, Captain, Flagler Beach Fire Department;
Leonard Ensalaco, Chief Training Officer, Flagler County Fire Rescue;
Amelia Fulmer, Director, Flagler Auditorium;
Ashley Godby, Payroll Assistant, Tax Collectors Office;
Adam Mengel, Growth Management Director, Flagler County;
Chris Nakabaale, Operations Administrator, Supervisor of Elections Office;
Krystal Nelson, Tax Collectors Office;
Joe Saloom, Assistant Library Director, Flagler County;
Melanie Thomas, Extension Director, Flagler County;
Michael Tucker, Fire Chief, Flagler County Fire Rescue;
Timothy Udell, Tax Collectors Office;
Tim Wilsey, Human Resources Manager, City of Palm Coast;
and, Bernard Woodward, Commander, Flagler County Sheriff’s Office.