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Rick Scott, Governor
Florida Department of Corrections, Secretary Julie L. Jones

Florida Department of Corrections
Julie L. Jones, Secretary

Press Release
May 10, 2012
For More Information
Contact: Press Office
(850) 488-0420

2011-2012 Department of Corrections Annual Awards Winners

Employee of the Year — Kimberly Jones

Kimberly Jones, Employee of the YearMs. Jones began her career as a Correctional Officer in June 1991 at Florida Correctional Institution (now known as Lowell C.I.). She transferred to Hernando C.I. in Aug. 1992 and worked various security posts. She was promoted to Sergeant in Oct. 1997 and within a year; she was assigned to the Utility Sgt. post. In 1999 she coordinated the development of Hernando's inmate rulebook and received training as an Extended Day Drill Instructor. In May 2002, she was promoted to the General Services Specialist position at Hernando.

She has made it her personal goal to assist co-workers in any way possible in order for the institution to run smoothly and to uphold the integrity of the department. In order to maintain the integrity of the institution, she ensures that the assets are protected and the appropriate levels of commodities are on hand. She also ensures that goods delivered conform to the specifications outlined in the purchase orders and state contracts. She maintains records, reports and systems for controlling and documenting daily operations. Ms. Jones strives to reduce expenditures and also look for ways to eliminate potential costly situations.

Hernando was encountering excessive expenditures due to frequent lightning strikes that caused damage to the perimeter fence system, metal detector, radio base system and other electronic equipment. Repairs exceeded over $10,000 in a 6-month period. Without intervention, potential expenditures could have exceeded over $20,000 in a one-year period.  Ms. Jones coordinated the implementation of institutional wide surge protection with a potential cost savings of $100,000 over a 5 year period.

She is the coordinator for our indigent inmate EOS clothing closet. Ms. Jones is a conscientious employee who takes her job as General Services Specialist to heart. She is constantly looking at the trends that would offer Hernando and the department cost savings.

Institutions Employee of the Year — Charles Gilliard

Charles Gilliard, Institutions Employee of the YearSgt. Gilliard has been employed at Century Correctional Institution for over 19 years.  During his employment he has been a Work Squad Officer, Work Squad Sergeant, Classification Officer, and Training Officer.  He has also served on special squads such as Shot gun squad, Baton Squad, and Team Leader for the Crisis Negotiation Team.

For the past three and a half years he has served as the Institutions Reentry Coordinator.  During this time he has developed relationships with numerous outside agencies that have helped facilitate reentry programs for Century CI. Sgt. Gilliard has also developed relationships that helped to establish the availability of a reentry assistance center for our department where inmates being released into Escambia County can go for assistance; Operation FreshStart.

With there being no formal budget established at the institutional level for reentry, Sgt. Gilliard’s accomplishments are more than noteworthy.  He has also worked with several community Task Force committees to help them understand departmental procedures so their agencies will be better equipped to assist our inmates upon release, and better able to help them reintegrate into family and community.

As a result of Sgt. Gilliard’s relentless efforts, Century was the first Institution in the state to be recognized with the Secretary’s Blue Ribbon Award for Excellence in reentry, and the first institution to be awarded the FCCD award for reentry.

Community Corrections Employee of the Year — Ronald Mathis

Ron Mathis, Community Corrections Employee of the YearMr. Mathis worked his way from CPO to CPSS in a number of locations throughout Florida during his 30 year career. His character and conduct both on and off the job identifies him as a "Professional" with the courage to do the right thing daily. Operational statistics for his office constantly lead Circuit 14.

Mr. Mathis is one of those rare individuals that leads by example, such as responding to many GPS On-call issues in the middle of the night himself, rather than calling his officers out to handle. Through his personal efforts and reputation he maintains quality relationships with the Court, Law Enforcement and other Criminal Justice Officials which assists his staff and the Department. The establishment of the Jackson County Drug Court in Marianna was in large part due to the professional respect and confidence Mr. Mathis has earned with the Circuit Court and the community.

Through the efforts of Mr. Mathis and his relationship with the Calhoun County Circuit Court and Circuit Clerks Office he has been able to maintain office space in the Calhoun County Courthouse at "No Cost." This allows offenders to report in Blountstown saving them the major expense of travel to Marianna which greatly enhances re-entry efforts. Mr. Mathis's office participates in Planned Compliance Initiatives which solidifies relationships with local law enforcement, and increases public safety and awareness of Community Corrections involvement in the community.

Mr. Mathis is extremely knowledgeable of DC policy/Procedures and is relied upon by many supervisors in the Circuit when questions arise.  Mr. Mathis's office created and provided the first Comprehensive Offender Services Reentry Manual for the two counties which his office provides supervision for. Due to the wealth of knowledge and experience Mr. Mathis has, he was selected to participate as an active member of the Supervisor Manual Update Committee.

Mr. Mathis is an excellent source of inspiration and motivation to his staff and others that know him through his professional and personal conduct. He strives to provide fairness and quality services for and through his staff for all individuals. Through Mr. Mathis's leadership, his office has always been a major supporter and contributor to the department's effort for Special Olympics Florida raising funds and participating in Torch Run activities in the community.

Mr. Mathis’s character, respect as a family man, and quality leadership skills makes him one of the finest individuals the Florida Department of Corrections could ever ask to have as a representative. Mr. Mathis is deserving of being honored for his work and dedication.

Support Employee of the Year — Jadena Wilson-Horton

Jadena Wilson-Horton, Support Employee of the YearJadena fills the position as Secretary Specialist assigned to the Assistant Warden of Programs office.  However, Jadena goes above and beyond what is required from her as Secretary Specialist. She is very dependable, a team player, and demonstrates top-quality performance in her assignments. Her willingness and astuteness makes her an exemplary employee. 

Most people would say Jadena’s biggest task is the coordinating of all grievances at Holmes CI.  She has become the “go to person” at Holmes CI for grievances issues. Jadena has streamlined the grievance process and is very organized with her system. This was mostly recently seen during Holmes CI’s last Operational Review Audit, when the auditor praised the grievance office in her Exit Interview.  She promptly takes care of any inquiries from Central Office and works closely with fellow staff to insure all responses adequately address each inmate’s concerns.  Jadena ensures that all procedures are followed regarding grievances. As usual Jadena goes above and beyond as grievance coordinator.

However, Jadena’s job duties do not end with grievance coordinating.  She is always willing to take on any task and is known for volunteering for projects that most people do not want.  Recently Jadena coordinated all the events for the Women’s History Month Program.

Her creative ideas, such as weekly brown bag lunches and Daily Employee Honorees, were enjoyed by the staff of Holmes CI. Jadena has no reservations about jumping in and setting her innovative ideas into motion. Jadena also coordinates the yearly FSECC campaign for the institution and has served on the FSECC Steering Committee for the United Way of NWF. She also co-coordinates the annual Special Olympic Law Enforcement Torch Run and BBQ. 

Jadena wears many “hats” at Holmes C.I.; however, there is one duty that Jadena loves most of all. Jadena is a facilitator for the Thinking for a Change program. When she heard about the program and that Holmes CI was sending two employees for training, she quickly volunteered herself.  Jadena has poured her heart and time into the T4C program. Her approach is that if she can help at least one inmate than she has done her job. Jadena has a strong passion for Re-Entry and hopes to pursue more Re-Entry program opportunities in the future. 

Jadena is truly an exemplary employee. She brings a great deal to the Department of Corrections. All departments know Jadena will help them in any way she can. It may be that they need pictures taken at an event or a write up for the Compass; but Jadena always helps no matter how busy her schedule is. You will never hear Jadena say “no,” her answer will always be “I will make it happen.”

For someone to understand how hard Jadena works you must also realize that she keeps a full work schedule as well as raising a family and attending college full time. Jadena Wilson-Horton is an outstanding employee who deserves recognition for all of her hard work. 

2012 Teacher of the Year — Jennifer Cox

Jennifer Cox, 2012 Teacher of the YearMs. Cox is an academic teacher at the Suwannee Correctional Institution.  She teaches some of the most dangerous and difficult students in the State of Florida. She instructs close management and mental health inpatient pupils. These adult students spend most of the day locked in cells, and instruction is carried out cell front. Ms. Cox has had student rosters approaching 100 students, and she also teaches other inmates in a traditional classroom.  She has also saved the department over $50,000 by picking up and transporting thousands of donated textbook to Suwannee CI. 

Ms. Cox had accomplished extraordinary achievements. Since she joined the staff at Suwannee, the GED output has doubled, enrollment has quintupled, and more students have obtained passing scores on the TABE, Pre-GED, and GED exams. She teaches GED, Pre-GED, Adult Basic Education, Literacy, and ESOL students. Ms. Cox is the ESOL coordinator at the main unit.

Ms. Cox possesses and array of personal qualities which assist her in the performance of her duties. She is a self-starter and works at a fast pace. In addition, Ms. Cox effectively multitasks in a high pressure environment. She quickly learns new skills and analyzes problems effectively.  Her attendance is excellent. She has an excellent work ethic. Ms. Cox handles all her tasks with efficiency and persistence.

2011 Teacher of the Year — Martha Chavers

Martha Chavers, 2011 Teacher of the YearIn June 2010, Mrs. Chavers set on an alternate career path when she accepted a position as a correctional teacher. Having retired after 30 years of teaching kindergarten, Mrs. Chavers believes that her current contributions to incarcerated adults have been the most rewarding thus far. 

In her classroom at Apalachee CI, Mrs. Chavers’ commitment to developing lifetime learners prompted her to create a classroom atmosphere where mutual response and active engagement are key components. By creating an individual student plan and facilitating a learning process that is always mindful of the prison environment, students progress through lessons that focus on both academic and good citizenship skills. 

Described as selfless and inspirational for her volunteer contributions, Mrs. Chavers has earned a reputation as a consummate professional and dedicated team member. Whether assisting in creating a plan to end homelessness or teaching bible classes, Mrs. Chavers strives to influence change in meaningful ways.

Secretary's Award — Pamela Taylor

Pamela Taylor, Secretary's AwardMrs. Taylor joined the Hardee Correctional Institutions' Health Services Team in 2006 as a floor RN and was later promoted to Senior Registered Nurse Supervisor, in 2007. Since she was first hired, Nurse Taylor has been an essential member to the Team. She is an excellent supervisor who works alongside her staff whenever needed; any day of the week and any shift.

During the past year, Hardee CI has suffered from a 40%+ nursing vacancy rate, and Mrs. Taylor is the brick that holds the nursing department together. Never afraid or too good to help out on the floor. She is an overachiever and ensures on a daily basis that all duties are completed in a timely and efficient manner. She would never expect any of her employees to perform a task, she would not do herself. She is well respected by all, staff and inmates.

When Re-Entry was a brand-new concept, Ms. Taylor eagerly started researching multiple areas of physical health. Because of Ms. Taylor's commitment to Re-entry, she developed the first comprehensive physical health education Re-Entry Program; a 12-week class, which was presented to all institutions, first region-wide and then statewide.

Today, all institutions use either all or part of her program to bring Re-Entry Health Education to our inmate population. Her program gives the inmates not just valuable information and tips to use while in prison, but also give knowledge and teach skills outside of the prison walls.

While the inmates are not receiving a certification document, they are being taught how to apply CPR, hopefully never needed, and how to recognize signs and symptoms of certain conditions to help especially elderly parents, other elderly family members or children. Mrs. Pamela Taylor is a prime example of the dedication and devotion that Hardee Correctional Institution is so well known for.

Harold Pearson, Medal of Valor
Harold Pearson, Medal of Valor

The Medal of Valor
The Medal of Valor
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