Educational and Community Leadership

Community Involvement

Walk in My Shoes Event

Joel’s work in the school district, as well as his commitment to serving fragile youth, has led him to a variety of community involvements.  The exposure to these efforts has provided a level of texture to his work in public education.  Conversely, the expertise he has developed in the educational arena has provided insight and layering to his public involvements.

Joel was appointed to The Children’s Services Board in 2002 and has served up to the present, including two consecutive terms as Chair.  The purpose of the Children’s Services Board is to improve life for the children of Broward County, be the focus for the planning and coordination of services for children; be considered a principal source of knowledge and wisdom in the community regarding the special needs of children, serve as an advocate for children’s services,and function as an independent entity providing an annual plan and funding recommendations for childrens’ services to the Broward County Board of County Commissioners. 

One Community PartnershipIn 2003 Joel was asked to serve on the governance board of One Community Partnership, an eight million dollar, six year grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).  The goal of the grant was to develop a system of care for children with serious emotional disturbance and their families, driven by family voices.  During this process Joel became immersed in system of care processes and a variety of community change models.  Joel has remained an active participant in the process up to the present, including membership on the One Community Partnership subcommittee of the Children’s Services Board.   On September 29, 2010, a Walk In My Shoes community awareness event was held in central Fort Lauderdale as one activity supporting the maintenance of the community system of care. Joel also serves on the boards of: The Circuit 17 Juvenile Justice Board, The Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative, Florida Attorney General’s Gang Reduction Task Force (Region VII), and North Broward Prevention Coalition, and Breakthrough Fort Lauderdale.

Circuit 17 Juvenile Justice Board
The Florida legislature authorized juvenile justice councils (Florida Statutes 986.665) at the county level and established circuit juvenile justice boards. Each county council appoints representatives to serve on the circuit board. The county councils and circuit boards serve as advisors to the Department of Juvenile Justice. Members of the boards and councils work closely with Delinquency Prevention Specialists and the Community Partnership Coordinators to plan for services that meet the identified needs of juveniles and families within the local community.  Boards and councils primarily focus on juvenile delinquency prevention programs and services such as mentoring, teen courts, neighborhood accountability boards, partnership programs, after-school programs, and public forums.

Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative
The Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI) was designed to support the Casey Foundation’s vision that all youth involved in the juvenile justice system have opportunities to develop into healthy, productive adults.  JDAI focuses on the juvenile detention component of the juvenile justice system, because youth are often unnecessarily or inappropriately detained at great expense, with long-lasting negative consequences for both public safety and youth development.  JDAI promotes changes to policies, practices, and programs to: reduce reliance on secure confinement, improve public safety, reduce racial disparities and bias, save taxpayers’ dollars, and stimulate overall juvenile justice reforms

Project Safe NeighborhoodsFlorida Attorney General’s Gang Reduction Task Force (Region VII
a collaborative effort to develop a statewide Gang Reduction Strategy. This Strategy outlines a comprehensive plan for communities to develop specific solutions to dramatically reduce gang membership and gang-related activities by: Empowering youth to lead productive gang-free lives, Improving law enforcement suppression efforts, and Addressing rehabilitation and re-entry issues.  The AGTF represents an opportunity to bring together many partners who focus on the issues of gang activity and their related consequences. It is an opportunity to network and coordinate local and state agencies and organizations as Regions develop their specific plans for action. These partnerships are essential for meaningful solutions and success of this Strategy.

Breakthrough Fort Lauderdale
A national nonprofit, Breakthrough Collaborative is devoted to preparing high-achieving middle-school students, most of whom are of color and from low-income families, to enter and succeed in college-preparatory high school programs. Breakthrough also recruits and trains outstanding high school and college students to become Breakthrough teachers, and build an interest in careers as educators.  Breakthrough students develop as highly motivated academic achievers who believe passionately in their ability to go to college.

North Broward Prevention Coalition (NBPC):
The NBPC is a community coalition with the mission to develop and implement a comprehensive strategic plan to effect individual and environmental change that produces safe and healthy communities.

Youth Antiviolence SummitThe increase of incidences and intensity of youth on youth violence, led Joel to encourage the Children’s Services Board to petition the Broward County Commission to add youth violence to its’ purview.  This led to a community-wide Youth Violence Summit held on May 26, 2010.  Joel served on the planning committee and continues to serve as a core team member to continue the process. More...

As a consequence of these and other commitments, Joel has developed a comprehensive view of community development needs and activities. 

Coupled with his work with system of care, he has been able to ‘connect the dots’ on a variety of initiatives and community enhancement projects, which have included integrating ideas from a multitude of participants. 

Joel is a dedicated and vigilant learner who works diligently to stay abreast of current information and research.  He synthesizes that intellectual capital into the projects he is working on, and makes sure to share the robust material with a wide circle of co-workers, friends, educators, and community activists. 

These experiences have added texture and richness to the workshops offered by

Allegra Webb Murphy
Allegra Webb Murphy
Mayor Oakland Park

Chris Checke
Chris Checke
Comm on Substance Abuse

Donna Korn
Donna Korn
Children's Services Board

Joanne Harrison
Dr. Joanne Harrison
Broward County Schools

Laurie Sallarulo
Laurie Sallarulo
211, First Call For Help

Mike Elwell, Leah Kelly

Mike Elwell, Broward County;
Leah Kelly, Broward County Schools

It's Always the Right Time to do the Right Thing-Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.