Office of Economic Opportunity


Staff Bios


Mr. Christopher Gardner is a Contracts Compliance Analyst within the Office of Economic Opportunity. He provides assistance and oversees the professional support aspect of the small, micro and M/BWE business program for the District. He assists the Contract Compliance Specialist with SBE compliance and reporting of prime contractors. Mr. Gardner received both his bachelor’s in Advertising and Music at the University of Miami. He also completed his master’s degree in Sport Administration at the University of Miami. Christopher Gardner has over 13 years of experience in the field of education at the University of Miami and Barry University as an advisor and recruiter for both traditional and adult education students.


Ms. Michelle Hicks-Levy was educated in the Miami Dade County Public School System. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree of Business Administration from Florida International University and a Master’s Degree in Human Resource Management from Nova Southeastern University.  Her professional development includes management positions with FedEx Ground, Iron Mountain and she is currently employed with Miami-Dade County Public Schools.  She is proficient in organization and leadership skills which is an attribute to her current position as a Community Outreach Coordinator with the Office of Economic Opportunity. In the Office of Economic Opportunity she utilizes her skills and knowledge to conduct community outreach events and manage certifications for the Small Business Enterprise Program for M-DCPS.  Consummate organizer, Michelle Hicks-Levy is often sought out for her skills as a personal event planner and coordinator. She is committed to public service and volunteers her time and talents within the Miami Dade community.


Ms. Mincey-Mills, serves as the OEO Compliance Specialist and brings more than 20 years’ experience in supplier diversity, construction management and community outreach. Previously, she spent more than eight years managing the State of Ohio’s supplier diversity program and served as Vice-President of Business Development with Turner Construction. Denise tracks compliance including Small, Micro, M/WBE goals, subcontractor payments, prompt payment, workforce utilization, and compile comprehensive payment analysis. Ms. Mincey-Mills is also a county commission appointee to Miami-Dade County’s Small Business Advisory Committee. Denise is one of the first 500 African-American graduates of the University of Miami.


Ms. Diane Piñate is part of the team of The Office of Economic Opportunity for the School Board of Miami-Dade County, Florida.  She is a graduate of Miami Dade Community College earning an Associate in Arts in Elementary Education and is currently attending Florida International University, Legal Studies Institute, working on a paralegal certificate.  Upon completion of the paralegal certificate program, Ms. Piñate will commence working on her Bachelor in Business Administration.  Ms. Piñate began working with the District when she was in high school with the “Miami is for Me” and “Miami is for Me and My Child” campaigns.  She has also worked as a Paraprofessional, Substitute Teacher, Instructional Certification Department and most recently with Board Attorney’s Office for nearly five years.  Prior to working with the Board Attorney’s Office, Ms. Piñate worked in the private legal sector for 13 years.



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