DeSantis Appoints Final Five Members To Escambia Children’s Trust Board Of Directors

March 20, 2021

On Friday, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced the appointment of five people to the Escambia Children’s Trust Board of Directors. They are Stephanie White, Rex Northrup, Lonnie Wesley, Tori Woods and David Peaden.

Last November, voters approved the formation of the Children’s Trust to be funded by an increase in ad valorem taxes of up to a maximum of 0.5 mil that will cost the average Escambia County property owner $40 per year beginning in 2022. The tax is expected to generate $8 million or more each year, enabling the trust to provide early childhood education, safety, developmental, preventative, health, and well-being services, including after school and summer enrichment programs.

Five members were appointed to the board to fill positions as mandated by state law — Escambia County School Board member Patty Hightower, Department of Children and Families Northwest Region Managing Director Walter Sachs, Circuit Judge Jennifer Frydrychowicz, Escambia County Commissioner Lumon May and Escambia County School District Superintendent Dr. Tim Smith.

Escambia County nominated 17 people to fill the five remaining seats on the council.


Stephanie White

White, of Pensacola, is an attorney focusing on adoption and foster care. She is a member of the University of West Florida Board of Trustees and has been involved with the Florida Adoption Council and the Northwest Chapter of the Florida Association of Women Lawyers. White earned her bachelor’s degree from Vanderbilt University and her juris doctor from Southern Methodist University’s Dedman School of Law.

Rex Northrup

Northrup, of Pensacola, is a retired medical doctor with over 35 years of experience in pediatrics, child health and well-being. He served in a number of positions at Ascension Sacred Heart Hospital and Children’s Medical Services over the course of his career. Northrup has been a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Society of Critical Care Medicine and the Florida Medical Association. He earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of West Florida and his medical degree from the University of South Florida.

Lonnie Wesley

Wesley, of Pensacola, is the Pastor at Greater Little Rock Baptist Church. Previously, he preached at Greater Fairview Baptist Church and Terry Grove Baptist Church. Prior to his time in ministry, Wesley spent time interning in the public relations offices of the Dallas Cowboys and Cleveland Browns. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Alabama State University, his master’s degree from Selma University and his doctor of ministry in biblical preaching from Anderson University.

Tori Woods

Woods, of Pensacola, is a licensed practical nurse currently working in marketing for Centene. Previously, she held positions at Humana, Ascension Sacred Heart, NurseFinders and the Department of Children and Families. She is a past president of the Escambia County Junior League. Woods earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University.

David Peaden

Peaden, of Pensacola, is the Executive Director of the Home Builders Association of West Florida. He has been involved with the Pensacola North Rotary Club, Gulf Coast Kid’s House, United Way of Escambia County and the University of West Florida Foundation. Peaden earned his bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of Alabama.


9 Responses to “DeSantis Appoints Final Five Members To Escambia Children’s Trust Board Of Directors”

  1. Bob West on March 3rd, 2022 10:34 am

    All of the proposed expenditure items are already being provided by existing tax dollars. So, will this fraud increase in my Ad Valorem taxes result in reductions in other areas that are supposed to already be funded? I voted against and would do it again. Why is the school district so well represented? They already receive funding from ALL property owners, most without children and yet, can’t teach kids how to read and write. I paid for after school care, so why would I pay for someone else’s childcare, especially, when my kids are grown and now and also paying taxes, without children. Yup, we have been ripped off, but, once again, our unenlightened electorate is to blame. Crooks can’t help it! It is in their nature to take advantage of idiots….

  2. Steve on March 21st, 2021 8:36 am

    Good on the citizens of Escambia county who voted in this tax to provide for our youth. Not sure about governor naming board members. Good luck to all. This can be a great investment.

  3. DG on March 21st, 2021 7:58 am

    Typically, board members are not paid. It is usually a volunteer position. There is tremendous need for quality improvement and expansion of services for children and families. I am surprised that the child care community is not represented on this board. The board would be strengthened with the voices of the field. And it would also be important to have child development research expertise represented. I do believe this Children’s Trust can be a wonderful gift for families in our community.

  4. cj on March 20th, 2021 12:21 pm

    I hope ALL children will be provided these services since the entire county will be taxed. So many times there are working Moms, Dads, or Families that are just over the cap for assistance. Their need is great also.

  5. joeR on March 20th, 2021 11:27 am

    I already pay to support my three children. Why am i paying for other people’s children? because i own a house? not fair. but i assure you, if you rent, the cost will be past onto you. see the thing about taxes is theyre mostly paid by the poor or lower middle class because wealthy folks just pass them along in rent or goods and services. any person with a brain should realize that any tax (even the ones that target the wealthy specifically) will be paid by the poor. rich people dont pay taxes so smarten up escambia. you just got played

  6. Lou on March 20th, 2021 8:54 am

    Looks like a talented, well rounded group. My confusion is most the services listed for children we already have in place locally. Exactly what is being offered….how will the needed children access these services. More taxes for what? Most voters see the word children and they are in favor….without doing their homework. Easy to start a tax…hard to get rid of. Just throwing money doesn’t fix the problem.

  7. bob c on March 20th, 2021 7:57 am

    From article. “…enabling the trust to provide early childhood education, safety, developmental, preventative, health, and well-being services, including after school and summer enrichment programs.”
    Sounds kinda like what our PUBLIC SCHOOLS are doing, have done and will be doing in the future.
    Property Tax to pay for this….not at all comfortable with that as the 0.5 mills will generate HUGE income for this group, Multi-Millions…..just incredible.
    Wondering what, who, is the true mover-shaker in the darkened room pulling strings.

  8. JTV on March 20th, 2021 4:09 am

    No doubt these are probably good people, but I hope this stupid tax gets put on another ballot and these fine people become unemployed.

  9. Local on March 20th, 2021 3:25 am

    Looks like our Governor has appointed a well rounded and balanced group.

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