Polk State College’s District Board of Trustees elected Ashley Bell Barnett as Chair and Greg Littleton as Vice-Chair for the 2021-2022 Academic Year on Monday during the DBOT’s annual reorganization meeting.
The role of Chair was previously filled by Cindy Hartley Ross and the role of Vice-Chair was previously filled by Barnett. The Board also includes members Dan Dorrell, Teresa V. Martinez, and Mark Turner.
Polk State President Angela Garcia Falconetti expressed her gratitude to Ross for her service as Chair and congratulated Barnett and Littleton on their positions for the new year.
“Our College is fortunate to have a District Board of Trustees whose members are steadfast in their dedication to our students, employees, and the greater community,” Falconetti said. “Their advocacy is instrumental in transforming the lives of students and their hard work continues to elevate the economic development of Polk County by ensuring quality higher education and workforce training for our community.”
Barnett, a community activist and Director of the AgAmerica Foundation, has served on the DBOT since February 2018. She previously served the Polk State Foundation Board in leadership roles including Development Chair, Treasurer, and Vice-Chair. She is a fifth-generation Floridian who has worked tirelessly as a public educator, workforce development analyst, and nonprofit leader.
In addition to her leadership at Polk State, Barnett serves as Chair-Elect and Community Impact Chair for the United Way Central Florida Board of Directors, as well as the Lakeland Regional Hospital Foundation Board, GiveVisual Board, Talbot House Fundraising Committee, Polk Academies Board, and Central Florida Speech and Hearing Center. Barnett has participated in Leadership Florida and is a graduate of Leadership Polk Class XII. She has also participated in leadership programs beyond state lines.
“Polk State College is an institution of integrity and distinction, and it is an honor to serve the District Board of Trustees,” Barnett said. “We are dedicated to ensuring students receive affordable and flexible access to high-quality education and workforce training, which contribute to the overall prosperity of our Polk County community.”
Littleton is a Polk State Distinguished Alumnus and President and Chief Executive Officer of Citizens Bank & Trust. He has served on the DBOT since 2007, including terms as Chair and Vice-Chair. The Polk County native achieved his Polk State Associate in Arts degree in 1987 and went on to attend the Graduate School of Banking at Louisiana State University and receive a bachelor’s degree from Freed-Hardeman University.
His leadership has spanned across the Polk County community, including service to the Central Florida Development Council, United Way of Central Florida, Greater Winter Haven Chamber of Commerce, Polk Museum of Art, Polk Vision, Lake Wales Arts Center, Lake Wales Chamber of Commerce, and the Florida Bankers Association Board.
“Serving the District Board of Trustees is a rewarding opportunity that I take seriously. As a graduate of Polk State, the College has a very special place in my heart,” Littleton said. “A Polk State education has the power to change lives and families, and I am proud of the difference our College has made for countless people, including me and my family.”
Members of Polk State’s District Board of Trustees, like those of Florida’s other state colleges, are governor-appointed and vested with oversight of College policies, facilities, budget, and personnel.
Board members serve four-year terms without compensation and meet on the fourth Monday of each month.