Gov. Rick Scott has appointed Ashley Bell Barnett, a dedicated community advocate, to the Polk State College District Board of Trustees. Barnett, 33, a fifth-generation Floridian who has worked tirelessly as a public educator, workforce development analyst, and nonprofit leader, fills a vacant seat on the Board for a term ending May 31, 2019.
“It is with great passion and enthusiasm that I accept the opportunity to serve on the Polk State College District Board of Trustees,” Barnett said. “As a new Board member, I look forward to working with our new leadership to build an even more effective and unified voice for the students, staff, and community we serve.”
Although new to the District Board of Trustees, Barnett is a longtime supporter of the College. She joined the Polk State College Foundation Board in 2014 and currently serves as Development Chair.
“I am steadfastly committed to the work of the College as it continues to be an integral institution in Polk County’s educational framework,” Barnett said. “I will serve the College with dependability, integrity, and distinction. It is a true honor.”
In addition to her leadership and advocacy at Polk State, Barnett maintains a position on the United Way of Central Florida Board and served as the 2016-2017 campaign cochair for the organization, spearheading its largest campaign to date. She also assists with outreach for Florida Polytechnic University as a Pivot Fellow. She holds a Master of Public Administration from the University of South Florida and received a bachelor’s degree from Florida Southern College. She lives in Winter Haven with her husband, Wesley Barnett, and their daughter.
“I am honored and thrilled to welcome Mrs. Barnett to the District Board of Trustees,” Polk State College President Angela Garcia Falconetti said. “Mrs. Barnett is a passionate advocate and selfless educator whose experience and knowledge will benefit our institution greatly.”
The District Board of Trustees is made up of members who are vested with oversight of all College policies, including matters related to programs, buildings, finances, and personnel. Florida’s governor appoints the members, who serve without compensation. All appointments are subject to Florida Senate confirmation.
About Polk State College
Located in Winter Haven, Florida, and established in 1964, Polk State College is a multi-campus institution serving more than 16,000 students with Bachelor of Applied Science, Bachelor of Science, Associate in Arts and Associate in Science degrees, as well as a wide range of certificate and workforce training options. The College also operates three charter high schools. Polk State’s advantages include small class sizes; hands-on learning; dedicated faculty; day and night classes; online options; affordable tuition; excellent financial aid; and a diverse community and vibrant student life, including fine arts opportunities, clubs, and intercollegiate athletics.