Christopher J. "Chris" Card, Ph.D, Director
Chris Card holds a Bachelor's Degree in Economics from Oakland University. He received his Masters in Social Work from Wayne State University and his Doctorate of Social Work at the University of South Florida. Chris is a Leadership Florida graduate.
Chris has extensive experience in many arenas of social services including five years as a child welfare case manager and supervisor in Houston, Texas, five years managing an inpatient treatment center for children and adolescents, five years as a statewide advocate and association director for the Florida Network of Youth and Family Services, nearly a decade as a Community Based Care lead agency executive director, and six years as the South Regional Vice President for Providence Service Corporation.
Chris was a founder of Florida's child welfare reform called Community Based Care and has been appointed by Governors Lawton Chiles and Jeb Bush to a variety of positions of state leadership for children and families.
Chris was the primary architect and advocate for the system of care that has reformed Florida's child welfare system. Chris was the first executive of the pilot project in Sarasota County Florida that has been duplicated throughout the entire state of Florida. This reform included systemic redesign, data system development and implementation, transition from a state service delivery system to a community service delivery system, and significant policy and procedure reform. This reform has resulted in dramatic improvement in performance for all child welfare services including tripling the number of adoptions each year, a 40% reduction in the children in out of home care placements, over 25% reduction in caseloads, along with many other accomplishments.
Currently, Chris serves as the Chief Operating Officer for Lutheran Services Florida overseeing over $130 million in revenue and responsible for a wide range of social service programs throughout Florida.
Chris has served as a gubernatorial appointee to the board of the Healthy Kids Corporation (the Florida CHIP program), and currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the Florida Children's Forum, Intervention Services Inc., Pivot Charter School (Florida), and Everyday Blessings Inc. Chris lives in Tampa, Florida with his wife and has two adult sons.
Peter Balitsaris, Vice Chairman
Peter Balitsaris brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the Pivot board, as an advocate, attorney, and businessman. He has spent the last part of his career working to improve the lives of children in Palm Beach County. Prior to his retirement this year, he was the President of ChildNet, the not-for-profit agency that provides child welfare services to children in Palm Beach County under contract with the Florida Department of Children and Families. He also acted as a longtime volunteer guardian ad Litem while working on ChildNet's application to provide child welfare services, which was helped by his business and real estate background. From 1997-2001, Mr. Balitsaris served as Senior Vice President with Liberty Property Trust (the successor of Rouse and Associates), and prior to this he was the President of Legg Mason Real Estate Services, Vice President of DKM Properties, and a former partner at Rouse and Associates. Trained as an attorney, Mr. Balitsaris acted as the Associate Legislative Council for the National Association of Homebuilders and was an attorney advisor for the US Department of Housing and Urban Development. He earned a Master's Degree in City Planning from the University of Pennsylvania, a Juris Doctor from Georgetown University, and a Bachelor's Degree from Duke University.
Carolyn Eads, Chairman
Carolyn Eads enjoys her career of 16 years as President of GCE Services, Inc. Carolyn and her husband Gary, decided to become entrepreneurs back 1995, with Carolyn running the company on her own, for one year before Gary came on board. Carolyn started her career working as a Business Manager for dental and medical offices until 1995 when they started GCE Services, Inc. GCE Services, Inc. provides erosion control, seeding and sodding installation for commercial jobs as well as harvesting sod. Carolyn's main focus is the financial concerns of GCE, but is also very involved in the day to day operations. GCE has one of the highest credit scores obtainable and is very proud of long term employee retention. Carolyn takes great pride in maintaining a reputation of honesty and integrity with both her customers, employees and vendors. On a personal level, Gary and Carolyn have been married for 29 years and have one 16 year old son, Cody. Carolyn was born and lived in Wichita Falls, Texas until her family moved to Louisiana 1979. Carolyn and Gary have lived in the SW Florida Area for 26 years and love this area. Carolyn enjoys the beach, her dogs, reading and traveling.
Mike Puleski, Secretary
Mike Puleski was born in Connecticut where he lived until age 11. At age 11, Mike moved with his family to Florida where continues to reside in Fort Myers. Mike has always had a passion for education and has passed it on to his daughters. His oldest daughter is Jessica, and his youngest daughter is Stacey. Both of his daughters have done well educationally. Jessica is also a teacher at the college level. Mike has been married to his wife Michele for seven years. Michele grew up in Bronx, New York and transplanted to Florida. In as much, Michele equally shares Mike's passion for education and awareness. In his spare time, Mike loves to build, play and collect guitars as well as kayaking. Both Mike and Michele work in the Fort Myers community and participate locally in the community. Michele operates a Decorative Painting Company. Mike works as a Project Manager for a local remodeling company and owns and operates a Home Inspection business. Mike sees Pivot as a vehicle to recapture and bring forth the potential in a student that may have been lost in the tradition setting.
Jeff Wood, Board Parent Liaison, Broward
cell (954) 646-1756
work (954) 763-6006
fax (954) 764-5367
Jeffrey S. Wood is a practicing attorney whose areas of concentration include business law, commercial litigation, adoption, and the representation of charter schools and related businesses. He is a current original Member of the Board of Directors of Charter School of Excellence and has served that school for eleven years. He has provided counsel and legal representation to various charter schools in the State of Florida for many years and has participated and assisted in the formation of several charter schools from their initiation, application stage and through opening.
Dr. Gary Iker
Dr. Gary A. Iker joined Pivot Education, Inc. in July of 2011 and serves the Pivot Education Board of Directors as the Executive Director of Schools. In his role, he leads Pivot Charter Schools in Hillsborough, Lee and Broward. His vision is to grow the Pivot blended model and additionally serve students in Orange, Palm Beach, Sarasota and Miami-Dade counties and for Pivot to become an industry leader in blended education. Dr. Iker received his Bachelors in Science, Masters in Education and Doctor of Education from the University of Texas in Denton, Texas. He proudly claims to be a Mean Green Screaming Eagle!
Dr. Iker draws from 14 years of progressive roles and responsibilities in public education that includes exemplary performance in reading and math and a Blue Ribbon School as recognized by the Texas Education Agency. Dr. Iker began his career serving students as a classroom teacher. He taught biology and social studies in schools that were typically diverse with high needs due to low-socioeconomic problems. He gave back to the community by serving on committees for Big Brothers and Big Sisters and Martin Luther King celebration activities. His passion drew from his experience as a coach at both the middle and high school levels for various sports. Following his time in the classroom, he served as an elementary, middle and high school principal where he developed a love and passion for technology in the classroom. Additionally, Dr. Iker served as the Superintendent of Schools for Darrouzett ISD, in Texas, where he first implemented technology to enrich students and provide distance learning to address the ever changing needs of students and families.
Dr. Iker identifies with the Educational Coordinators and the tremendous commitment they display each and every day for our Pivot students. He maintains a philosophy that includes a classroom of one to meet the individual needs of students while maintaining an unwavering commitment to the staff, board, parents and students he serves. Dr. Iker believes that every student brings a unique skill set to the educational setting that becomes an enduring part of the Pivot culture. His overall goal is to ensure that every student is asked "What they want to be when they grow up" and provide them an education to get them there.