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  Department Info & Services  

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Office of the General Counsel Staff

Educational Programs Unit – Phone: 850-245-0442

The Educational Programs unit is charged with the responsibility of providing general legal assistance to all program units of the Department, from pre-kindergarten to community college, in order to ensure that agency action complies with the state’s Education Code, the Florida Constitution, and the many federal laws and grants. The unit assists with implementing the state’s educational initiatives such as differentiated accountability, drop-out prevention, and various choice options, including virtual programs, charter schools and private schools that accept students with McKay scholarships. Educational Programs provides assistance in developing and reviewing policies, rules, and technical assistance papers, conducts hearings and appeals, handles litigation, and responds to complaints filed with the federal Office of Civil Rights.

Judy A. Bone
Deputy General Counsel


Miki M. Presley
Assistant General Counsel


Lois S. Tepper
Assistant General Counsel


Diana Harper
Legal Assistant

Business Operations Unit – Phone: 850-245-0442

The Business Operations unit handles all contract reviews and provides significant assistance in contract preparation and negotiation, and preparation of competitive procurements and grant solicitations. Business Operations also handles a wide variety of litigation, including personnel appeals and arbitrations, bid protests, McKay scholarship denials, rule challenges, risk management cases, and challenges over district funding issues. The unit coordinates the preparation of legislative bill analyses and legal review of proposed legislation, handles public records legal issues and advises on other open government questions, and provides training in the area of agency rulemaking. Questions relating to bond finance, education funding, growth management, labor relations, garnishments, general services, technology, and other finance and operations issues are also referred to this unit.

Steven S. Ferst
Deputy General Counsel


Corbin F. Hanson
Assistant General Counsel


Dave Jordan
Assistant General Counsel


Charles F. Rivenbark, II
Assistant General Counsel


Bonnie Wilmot
Assistant General Counsel


Amy Weaver
Legal Assistant

Professional Practices Services Unit – Phone: 850-245-0443

This section represents the Commissioner of Education in educator licensing proceedings through which teaching or administration certificates may be denied or sanctioned. This section provides advice to investigators, recommends probable cause determinations to the Commissioner, drafts administrative complaints, negotiates settlements, handles informal hearings before the Education Practices Commission and formal hearings at the Division of Administrative Hearings (DOAH), and defends cases on appeal.

Paul Rendleman
Attorney Supervisor


Darby Shaw
Assistant General Counsel


Cheryl Wolf
Assistant General Counsel


Christina Harrell
Paralegal Specialist


Brian Pagozalski
Paralegal Specialist