MEET OUR AMAZING BOARD MEMBERS!
Amanda is a Jacksonville native. Her family recently moved to St. Augustine after spending several years living around the United States.
Amanda earned a Bachelor of Arts in English from Southeastern University and a Master of Education in School Counseling from the University of North Florida. She has over 20 years of teaching experience. Amanda has served as a high school English teacher, a school guidance counselor, tutoring center director, and program director. Currently, Amanda serves as the Founder and Executive Director of MindRise Learning, a local tutoring company.
Amanda worked with youth in foster care as the Founding Program Director of the Bridge, a program of Mission West Virginia. She helped mentor youth in foster care and helped the students with college planning. Amanda is excited work with St. Johns County youth in foster care and help with our outreach programs for teens.
Susanna Quesenberry is an accomplished divorce, family law, guardianship, and dependency attorney serving Northeast Florida and its surrounding areas.
Susanna is a Florida native and attended Flagler College and Florida Coastal School of Law on academic scholarships. Susanna’s entire career has been geared toward protecting children and families.
Prior to graduating law school in the top 7% of her class, Susanna was an aquatics management consultant tasked with travelling the world to inspect water parks and aquatic facilities to ensure sufficient precautions were being taken to avoid preventable drownings and other injuries.
During law school, she was immediately drawn to family law, where she was able to continue to fight to protect the rights of children.
Susanna is the founder of Harbor City Law where she continues her mission to protect children and families navigating difficult legal issues by providing zealous advocacy and guidance when they feel their most vulnerable.
When she is not reading about new updates in the law, she can often be found on the water in the Harbor City Law boat.
Rob was born and raised in Memphis, TN as the youngest of 6 kids. Sports, particularly football and baseball, consumed much of his time growing up. Although his father passed away when Rob was 8, his mom worked hard to provide everything he needed.
After high school, he attended the University of Memphis where he obtained a degree in Finance and was active in campus leadership. While he will always have a place in his heart for Tennessee, Rob and his family have called north Florida home since 2013. He has been enjoying the warm weather ever since!
Rob is a Financial Advisor for Edward Jones in Saint Augustine. He enjoys helping his clients plan for retirement, invest, and create wealth management strategies. Rob is passionate about financial planning and considers it an honor to assist his clients in securing their financial future.
He and his wife, Christine, have six kids (who are all now young adults), one son-in-law, and two very beloved (and spoiled) dogs.
However, the story of his family centers around March 12, 2005 when a sibling group of 4 beautiful kids sauntered into his house as foster children, escorted by a social worker, and joined Rob, his wife, and 2 other children. Their lives would never be the same as the family was eventually made complete through the adoption of these 4 wonderful kids.
During the fostering process, Rob and Christine were honored to be named West Tennessee Foster Parents of the Year. In
the past, Rob has also served on the board of other charitable organizations, spent time in various mentoring roles, and supported St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital and Alzheimer’s Association.
In his spare time, Rob enjoys sports, historical documentaries, live music, and enjoying the Florida sunshine!
Eileen Ward graduated from Flagler College in 2010 with a Bachelor’s in Psychology and a minor in Youth Ministry.
Eileen and her husband Josh have ministered to college, high school, and middle school students for well over a decade.
Fostering and adoption has been a passion of Eileen’s since she was a child. Early in the year of 2020, the Wards adopted a beautiful teenager and became grandparents to her sweet daughter.
Eileen currently homeschools her kids while her husband Josh is a manager at a restaurant in downtown St Augustine.
Joel Abo’s journey began when he was born on a U.S. military base in Keflavik, Iceland. His father was a career Navy Seabee (Vietnam Veteran) who retired after 23 years of service but not before passing along his do-it-yourself knowledge and strong work ethic. His mother was the domestic engineer of the family and managed Joel along with his three older sisters while earning the unofficial title of “greatest chef of Philippine cuisine!”
He spent a few years of his childhood in Cuba as his father’s apprentice learning how to throw a net, cast a line, and lure in all types of different fish. This time spent outside of Florida also continues to inspire him to learn about the people, food, and communities at the heart of the world’s various cultures.
Joel’s educational achievements include a Bachelor’s in Finance from the University of North Florida and a Master’s in Business Administration from Jacksonville University.
Although his career began in the risk management and insurance industry, one of his greatest passions came to fruition when he began working for St. Johns River State College as an instructor and the Director of Business Education. Since joining SJR State, Joel has completed the Chamber of Commerce Leadership programs for Clay and St. Johns Counties. He currently serves on the Vystar Business and Finance Academy for Clay and St. Johns County School Districts and the River House/Council on Aging Advisory Board. He provides corporate training to assist companies in achieving their missions and goals. He also teaches the business capstone course where he helps students focus on the various skills needed to acquire, maintain, and advance their career.
Joel and his wife (a veteran high school English teacher) not only share a passion for education, but are also very passionate about foster care youth. They adopted their now 21 year old daughter when she was 10 years old and have truly enjoyed watching her realize her dreams of working in the equine industry with therapeutic horses.
When the weather is favorable you will often find Joel with his toes in the sand and his pole in the water accompanied by his wife and their four canine kids.
A Jacksonville native, Melissa has been a resident of St. Johns for several years. She joined our board last year to give back to the community and support our local foster families.
Melissa is the CIO at Flagler Health +. She is a mom of three children and very active in supporting their athletic and extracurricular activities. Melissa loves to do crafts and enjoys sharing her artistic talents with her family and community.
Andrew Evener has worked in the financial industry for over 10 years and currently holds his Florida 2-14, Series 7, and Series 66 investment licenses.
He is a graduate of Flagler College. He is active in his church, where he has served in the youth program, adult men’s organization, and now serves as the Finance and Membership Clerk of his congregation.
He previously served as a board member, including chair, on St. Johns County’s Housing Finance Authority, as well as St. Johns County’s Affordable Housing Advisory Committee, where he advocated for affordable/workforce housing in St. Johns County.
He lives in St. Augustine with his wife, Julie, and children, Gabriel and Ana, both of whom were adopted.
Steph is the Community & Connections Guide at the Women's Business Development Council of Florida and the owner of Steph McFee, a coaching and consulting firm that works with businesses and individuals to help them increase engagement and build connections.
Steph is a curator of people. She believes every person is a masterpiece and she works to curate you to help people connect with the person the world wants to know.
Originally from Alabama, Steph has an extensive background in marketing and communications. She has a Bachelors Degree in Fashion Merchandising and a Masters Degree in Consumer Affairs, both from Auburn University. Steph served as a college professor at Edith Cowan University in Perth, Australia and worked for many years in the nonprofit sector and a large corporation before opening her consulting firm.
In addition to her board position with Fostering Connections St. Johns, Steph serves as a board member of the St. Johns County Chamber of Commerce Women with Vision Council.
Steph's passions in life are empowering women,sharing a message of equality, and sustainability. Steph has several close friends that have been foster and adoptive parents. She is passionate about supporting foster families and ensuring that all children in foster care have all of the resources they need to reach their full potential.
Steph is the proud mom of a young daughter. They love to travel and explore new places together. Steph loves Disney and frequently visits Disney , her "Happy Place", with her daughter.
Born in Georgia and raised with his three siblings, Bill learned early on the value of hard work, teamwork, and perseverance since moving to NE Florida in 1972. He graduated near the top of both his high school and college and was Student Body President for both. He worked full-time to pay his own way through college.
He has always been an entrepreneur, starting his first business by turning an old car wash into a drive-thru convenience store just off the campus of the University of Florida, when he was 18 years old. After college, He spent the next decade building successful Healthcare Information Technology companies, which allowed him to invest in companies within our communities, as well as volunteering for a variety of charitable causes, including serving as a Guardian ad Litem. Bill served as a St Johns County Commissioner from 2012 - 2016.
Leslie Barstow was born in Chile and moved to Florida in the 1990s. She has been a resident of St. Johns County since 2017, where she resides with her husband Mark and their dog Gibbs. They have three grown children and a lovely six-year-old granddaughter. Leslie works for Agape Family Health and Wolfson's Children's Hospital as a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner. She is also a volunteer family nurse practitioner at Volunteers in Medicine in Jacksonville. Leslie enjoys providing comfort and holistic care to patients and their families, with an emphasis on health promotion and disease prevention. Leslie’s work in the mental health field involves assessing, diagnosing and treating many conditions that stem from the detrimental effects of childhood trauma and adversity. This is why she is passionate about the need to advocate for children and is excited to have joined Fostering Connections St. Johns. In the past, Leslie served as the Health & Safety Chairman for the American Red Cross, was a mentor for Take Stock in Children and an English tutor for Literacy Volunteers of America. Leslie’s spare time is currently spent completing her doctorate at the University of North Florida. When she’s not studying, she enjoys running, chasing sunsets and scuba diving.
Kyle is the owner of Uptown Scratch Kitchen, a progressive, hybrid scratch kitchen food truck serving fresh, twisted, contemporary American cuisine.
Kyle grew up in St. Augustine while attending the Florida School for the Blind. He has worked with multiple nonprofits working with families and children with disabilities.
Kyle has a beautiful wife, April, and two daughters, Savannah and Katie Mae.
Ashley is a lifelong resident of St. Augustine. She is currently a banker for Wells Fargo. Ashley is an equestrian and competes at horseback riding competitions regularly. She is an active member of the St. Johns County Horse Council. Ashley has experience fundraisers for the Horse Council. Ashley is excited to join the board of Fostering Connections St. Johns and plan fundraisers to support children in care.