Office of Economic Opportunity


Staff Bios

Mr. Torey Alston, the inaugural Economic Equity and Diversity Compliance Officer, returned to the school district on February 5, 2018.  Mr. Alston brings a background in suppler diversity, economic inclusion and diversity with experience at the state and local level.  Prior to returning to M-DCPS, Mr. Alston served as Equal Opportunity Director for the City of Gainesville, one of six charter officers reporting to the City Commission, responsible for overseeing ADA Compliance, investigating complaints of discrimination, diversity training, community outreach and the Small and Service-Disabled Veteran Business Program.  Prior to joining the City of Gainesville, Mr. Alston served as Executive Director for the Office of Economic Opportunity.  Prior to originally joining M-DCPS, Alston served two stints as Chief of Staff to then Broward County Vice-Mayor Barbara Sharief and former Broward County Commissioner Albert Jones.  From 2007-2010, Alston served as Executive Director for Florida's Office of Supplier Diversity (OSD), Advisor to the Governor and as interim Executive Director for the state's Council on Efficient Government. Mr. Alston received his undergraduate degree in business administration and an MBA with a concentration in marketing and management from Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU).  Torey is a Florida Certified Contract Negotiator, Certified ADA Coordinator, Certified Affirmative Action Professional and a Certified Compliance Administrator.  Mr. Alston is a member of several professional organizations including Florida Association of Minority Business Enterprise Officials, Institute for Supply Management (ISM), National Institute of Government Purchasing (NIGP), American Contract Compliance Association, American Association for Access, Equity & Diversity, International City/County Management Association, Florida City and County Management Association, National Forum for Black Public Administrators and the National Association of County Administrators (NACA).  Mr. Alston has strong civic engagement as a subscribing Life Member of the NAACP, FAMU National Alumni Association Life Member, Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. Life Member, Southern Province Life Member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. and member of the National Forum for Black Public Administrators.

Ms. Jeannette C. Garcia, Director of Contract Compliance, is a recent addition to the Office of Economic Opportunity bringing to that department more than fifteen years of experience in the construction field. Her experience includes SBE/MBE Compliance of goals and workforce utilization, reporting of prime contractors and community outreach (ground breakings and ribbon-cutting events).  Ms. Garcia holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from Barry University.  Prior to Miami Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS) Ms. Garcia served as an Assistant Vice President in Commercial Real Estate for commercial mortgages in the banking field.  During her banking tenure, she was selected to attend an extensive 10-week credit-training program at Southeast Bank, N.A. Ms. Garcia was appointed by the Chief Facilities Officer to the Contractor Pre-Qualification Committee for two years and served on the Goal Setting Committee for three years. Currently, she tracks compliance including Small/Micro and M/WBE goals, subcontractor payments, prompt payment, contract and workforce utilization audits for reporting; as well as, as the implementation and training of the Compliance and Workforce modules for the new Online Diversity System at M-DCPS.  

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 an Executive Director with the Office of Economic Opportunity. In the Office of Economic Opportunity, she utilizes her skills and knowledge to conduct community outreach events and provide guidance 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. Christine Howard currently serves as the Miami Dade County Public Schools, Office of Economic Opportunity’s SBE Compliance Manager were she is responsible for administering and enforcing compliance on M-DCPS SBE Program and assists in the contractor pre-qualification process and procedures. Ms. Howard is originally from Cleveland, Ohio were she earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Paralegal Studies at David N. Myers College and has attended graduate courses in Business Administration at Cleveland State University. She has over fifteen years plus of experience in managing Disadvantaged, Minority, Woman-Owned and Small Business Enterprise (DMWSBE) Programs with Governmental, Quasi-Governmental and Private organizations. She has provided technical assistance on certification and pre-qualification to various business communities throughout Northeast Ohio and Central/South Florida to provide opportunities for DBE M/WBE and SBE firms on Government contracts as well as contract administration in the Private industry. Ms. Howard is affiliated with the American Contract Compliance Association, National Institute of Governmental Purchasing, and National Forum of Black Public Officials and has served as committee member on the Palm Beach Partners Business Matchmaker. In her previous career Ms. Howard worked in recreational programs with inner city youth by instructing Lifeguard and Water Safety skills for the City of Cleveland.

Mr. Jai A. Ingraham is the Director of Contract Compliance with the Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO). In this capacity he manages vendor certification, supports community outreach efforts and serves as a part of the OEO management team. Mr. Ingraham has approximately 20 years of professional and academic experience in educational management and public engagement. He has held leadership positions spanning the fields of local government, K-12 education, higher education, not-for-profit, and the private sector. As a noted professional speaker, presenter and published author, Mr. Ingraham is an experienced professional in the areas of Cultural Diversity, Title IX Enforcement and Strategic Engagement. Mr. Ingraham served as the inaugural Chief Diversity Officer/Title IX Coordinator at Jacksonville State University and as the Assistant Director of Equal Opportunity Programs for Florida International University.

This is Mr. Ingraham’s second stint with Miami-Dade County Public Schools (MDCPS). His previous positions with M-DCPS include: Social Science Teacher (South Miami High School), Compliance Coordinator III (Office of Civil Rights Compliance), Staff Specialist (5000 Role Models of Excellence Project), and Assistant Principal (several schools). Additionally, Mr. Ingraham has held academic and administrative positions with the City of Miami, The School Board of Broward County, and The University of Phoenix. Mr. Ingraham received a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Clark Atlanta University, a Master of Public Administration from Florida International University, and a Graduate Certificate in Educational Administration from St. Thomas University. He has completed doctoral studies at Northeastern University and is a doctoral candidate at St. Thomas University. He is a member of several professional and social organizations such as Toastmasters International, National Notary Association and the Public Speakers Association. Mr. Ingraham is also a Life Member of the Most Worshipful Union Grand Lodge, Free & Accepted Masons (PHA), New Providence Lodge #365 Free & Accepted Masons (PHA), and Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.

Ms. Asmide Louizi is an accomplished management professional with extensive background in small business management, logistics and project management. With over 10 years of small business management, Asmide brings a unique perspective to the Office of Economic Opportunity’s Certification Division where she currently provides administrative support and technical assistance. She is passionate about economic empowerment, development and small / minority business sustainability. Ms. Louizi received her Bachelors in Supervision and Management at Miami Dade College and her Masters in Management from St. Thomas University.

Ms. Marisol Marin has over 20 years of public service and has recently re-joined the Office of Economic Opportunities (OEO) team for Miami-Dade County Public Schools. She will work in the capacity of a Contract Compliance Specialist. This position is supported by her Bachelor’s of Science degree in Professional Administration from Barry University, and a certificate in Professional, Commercial, and Federal Contracts Management awarded from Villanova University. Ms. Marin was part of the initial OEO team at the inception of this office in 2013. During that time, she oversaw the initial phase of a disparity study, drafted documents to include procedures, policies, interlocal agreements, memorandums of understanding, and professional services contracts. Prior to re-joining the OEO team, Ms. Marin worked in the Office of Charter School Compliance and Support in the capacity of Legal Specialist, Office of the School Board Chair in the capacity of Administrative Assistant, and Office of the School Board Attorney in the capacity of Office Manager. During her tenure with the School Board Attorney’s Office, Ms. Marin was a key player in the School Board rules revision and redistricting projects. Ms. Marin’s duties included agenda coordinator, budget and personnel manager, and training of administrative staff in addition to the collaborative drafting of the office employee and contracts manuals. Prior to working for Miami-Dade County Public Schools, Ms. Marin was employed by Miami-Dade County Government for 17 years. Twelve of those years she worked at the Office of the County Attorney in the capacity of Paralegal Specialist specializing in EEOC, labor, worker’s compensation, and contracts, in addition to working at the Office of the County Manager, and Community Relations Board. Ms. Marin enjoys teaching and previously worked as a high school educator at Archbishop Coleman Carroll High School teaching 10th grade World History. Ms. Marin is currently teaching an adult education class at Robert Morgan Educational Center and Technical College.

Ms. Denise Mincey-Mills is the Executive Director 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 & Diversity 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 a graduate 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 College earning an Associate in Arts in Elementary Education as well as a Bachelor of Applied Science in Supervision and Management.  Ms. Piñate has also received a Paralegal Certificate as well as a Law Office Management Certificate from Florida International University, Legal Studies Institute.  She 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.  After an absence from the District, she returned to the District and has worked in the District as a Paraprofessional, Substitute Teacher, Legal Secretary in the Board Attorney’s Office, and as an Administrative Assistant in the Instructional Certification Department.  She has also worked in the private legal sector for 13 years and has served in various positions within the Boy Scouts of America at Pack, Troop, and District levels.

Ms. Nouchka Placide is the current Staff Assistant to the Office of Economic Opportunity. Ms. Placide holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Criminal Justice from Vincennes University and an Associate of Arts in Special Education from Broward College. Prior to joining the Office of Economic Opportunities, Ms. Placide has been with Miami-Dade County Public Schools Americans With Disabilities (ADA) Office for almost a decade. During that time, she dealt with ADA related issues such as workplace accommodations through the ADA-District Consultative Committee meetings, American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter requests, as well as discrimination related concerns. While with the ADA Office, Ms. Placide provided the best possible guidance to applicants, within the boundaries set by the M-DCPS, as she fully understood the importance of her work and its possible impact on the lives of those affected. She has experience with School Police processing the hiring of certified and non-certified police officers. Ms. Placide is a career employee of the Miami-Dade County Public Schools for almost three decades. She worked at the school sites, district offices including Risk and Benefit Management Office, Title I Administration, Office of Innovation and Accountability, Curriculum and Instructions, Human Resources and the Office of Professional Standards.

Ms. Karina Quiroga, Digital Communications Specialist, manages all forms of digital media and outreach for the Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO).  Karina graduated from Florida International University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology. Her first job after graduation was working in the M-DCPS system as a high school biology teacher. She also has experience in digital communications from her time as a director of communications at a Miami start-up called Jarly. She is a Miami native who enjoys serving the community she was born and raised in.

Mr. Michael Scott is a SBE Contracts Compliance Manager within the Office of Economic Opportunity.  He attended Florida State University where he obtained his bachelor’s and master’s degree in Criminology.  After gaining a diverse set of skills in the workforce, he matriculated at Florida A & M University College of Law. Upon earning his Juris Doctorate, Michael worked as an attorney, where he gained a diverse experience in the practice of law, including family, real estate, and business law. He has several years of compliance experience in the public and legal sector.

Mr. Ed Stokes is a Contract Compliance Manager for OEO, (The Office of Economic Opportunity), where he manages GOB contracts for small business participation at MDCPS.  Ed graduated from Nova Southeastern University with his Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration with - Management and an MBA in Finance.  Ed spent the majority of his professional career working for Top 500 companies like (Pepsi Cola, American Express, and Farmers Insurance) in the field of Operation Management and Business Intelligence.  He is a native Floridian, born and reared in Miami.

Ms. Krys Stokes currently holds the position as SBE Compliance Manager for the Miami-Dade County Public Schools, Office of Economic Opportunities. Ms. Stokes originally comes from the Midwest where she worked directly with the City of Chicago’s Mayoral office to create sustainable workforce programs and initiatives in construction.  She continued to work within several public agencies throughout the Chicagoland area as the Community & Government Affairs Liaison for City Colleges of Chicago and the Illinois Department of Transportation as the Director of Highway Construction Programs. Ms. Stokes brings to us a wealth of experience in project management, compliance, and community & government relations. She is a current member of the American Contract Compliance Association (ACCA) and received her AAS from Harold Washington College as well as a BA from Concordia University with a focus in organizational management.

Ms. Sharon Y. Williams serves as the Community Liaison Specialist and brings more than 30 years’ experience in community engagement, outreach and community development.  Ms. Williams is a Miami native with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration and is passionate about providing information and resources to the underserved communities and small businesses in Miami-Dade County.


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