Results-focused executive accomplished in increasing organizational productivity. Demonstrated proficiency in staffing, training and development, budgeting and program management. Natural leader and skilled negotiator with a commitment to excellence.
Project planning and development
Performance management systems
Inter-governmental and legislative relations
Effective conflict resolution
Exceptional interpersonal communication
Group facilitation, presentation, and organizational skills
Public speaking talent
06/2013 to Current
Staff DirectorU.S. COMMISSION ON CIVIL RIGHTS – Washington, DC
Develop and implement mission-focused program procedures aligned with the Commission's strategic and capital action plans.
Oversee production and ensure access to Commission products and initiatives through marketing campaigns.
Maintain and strengthen collaborative working relationships with Federal, Congressional andcommunity leaders and staff.
10/2011 to 06/2013
Special Assistant to the ChairmanU.S. Commission on Civil Rights – Washington, DC
Maintained detailed administrative and procedural processes to improve accuracy and efficiency.
Gathered and analyzed research data regarding statutes, decisions, legal articles and codes.
09/2010 to 10/2011
Juvenile Justice Policy FellowNATIONAL COUNCIL OF LA RAZA – Washington, DC
Spearheaded the Models for Change Disproportionate Minority Contact (DMC) initiative developing and implementing strategies to advance policies aimed at reducing DMC in juvenile justice at state levels.
Ensured that ongoing programmatic efforts met strategic goals, performance measures and deadlines.
Directed the development of the agency's strategic plan geared towards strengthening NCLR's
10/2008 to 09/2010
Attorney/TrainerCHILDREN'S LAW CENTER, UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH CAROLINA SCHOOL OF LAW – Columbia, SC
Provided technical assistance and compliance oversight as part of the enforcement team for South Carolina's Corrective Action Plan under the direction of the U.S.
08/2007 to 09/2008
Education AttorneyDISABILITY RIGHTS FLORIDA – Tampa, FL
Spearheaded strategic planning and led daily operations of the School-to-Prison Pipeline project which included extensive community outreach; creation of educational materials; and technical assistance to child welfare agencies, community-based mental health organizations, public defenders, and public schools.
Investigated allegations of violations under IDEA and noncompliance with the integration mandate of the American with Disabilities Act in K-12 settings and in residential homes.
Represented the parents of children with disabilities at Individual Education Plan meetings and at mediations.
Successfully identified 6 plaintiffs and filed a class action administrative complaint allegingsystemic violations of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) in HillsboroughCounty Public Schools (Florida), in conjunction with the Southern Poverty Law Center and theFlorida State Conference of the NAACP, as an organizational complainant.
Managed over 100 cases in a 12 attorney law firm, primarily in the areas of family law, criminal law,child welfare and child support.Performed full scope of responsibilities during all phases of legal proceedings, which included legal and factual research; preparation and response to discovery requests; preparation of witnesses; and, participation in motion hearings, depositions, mediations, and trials.
Represented children in foster care as an Attorney ad litem to ensure appropriate foster care placement and delivery of services for children with intellectual disabilities or personality disorders.
Negotiated and drafted over 60 mediated agreements and secured dismissal of a 1st Degree Felony drug distribution and possession case through extensive witness interviews and depositions.
04/2005 to 02/2006
Senior Trial AttorneyFLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF CHILDREN & FAMILIES – Bartow, FL
Secured voluntary relinquishment of parental rights in four egregious child sexual abuse cases based on extensive research, witness interviews, and negotiations.
Developed and presented the state's case in over 90 child welfare cases during all phases of proceedings, which included legal and factual research; preparing and responding to discovery requests; preparing witnesses and participating in motion hearings, depositions, mediations, and trials.
Successfully represented the state in over 70 mediations, which required drafting and editing of mediation agreements.
05/2004 to 03/2005
Associate AttorneyLAW OFFICES OF PETERSON, P.A. – Bartow, FL
Developed and litigated 18 civil and criminal cases with an 88% success rate.
Managed a case load in excess of 100 cases in the areas of family, criminal, domestic violence,immigration, juvenile delinquency and child welfare law.
Performed full scope of responsibilities for each case including witness preparation, case investigation/research, hearings and negotiations.
Managed office staff and billing matters for the firm.
09/2002 to 05/2004
Junior Trial Attorney/Senior Trial AttorneyFLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF CHILDREN & FAMILIES – Bartow, FL
Developed and presented the state's case in over 110 child welfare cases during all phases ofproceedings which included
01/1996 to 09/2002
Chairperson Placement Specialist Regional Placement SpecialistMIAMI-DADE COUNTY PUBLIC – Miami, FL
Monitored the implementation and compliance requirements under IDEA and Section 504 at sevenlocal elementary, middle and high schools.Managed the Special Education Program at a Title I middle school.Provided supervisory oversight of 150 students, six teachers and two paraprofessionals;identified the training needs of peer teachers and paraprofessionals and provided informalon-the-job training.Developed long and short-term goals to ensure equitable delivery of identified related services tostudents in compliance with IDEA or Section 504 as part of a Multi-Disciplinary Team; Draftedand implemented individual education plans for students with special education needs.
J.D: Law Florida State UniversityMay - Tallahassee, FL. Law
Leadership/communication skillsSelf-motivated professionalInter-governmental and legislative relationsCreative problem solverPolicy/program developmentExceptional organizational skillsProject managementOutstanding public speaker Core Accomplishments Operations Management: Initiated an action plan resulting in a 75% backlog reduction in regional offices within one fiscalyear Project Management: Developed, implemented and delivered the first statewide training on "zero tolerance" policies andits impact on students with disabilities and students of color to over 300 lawyers and judges Staff Development: Streamlined internal structural roles, mentored and coached employees resulting in a 50% increasein productivity.
Member, The Florida BarDevelopment Chair, Manhattanville College Alumni Board (2013 - Present)Advisory Board Member, American Bar Association (ABA) Commission on Youth at Risk (2013 -Present)Commissioner, ABA Commission on Youth at Risk (2010 - 2013)Website Editor, ABA Children's Rights Litigation Committee (CRLC) (2009 - Present)