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Governor appoints Barnhart & Troutman, reappoints Littleton, Barnett & Ross to Polk State District Board of Trustees

Thursday, July 6, 2023 — Governor Ron DeSantis has reappointed Greg Littleton, Ashley Bell Barnett, and Cindy Hartley Ross to the Polk State College District Board of Trustees and announced newly appointed trustees, Ann Barnhart and Ashley Troutman. They will serve alongside Vice Chair Teresa V. Martinez who was reappointed in 2021.

Littleton is the current Board Chair and is a Polk State College Distinguished Alumnus having graduated from the College in 1987. He is President and Chief Executive Officer of Citizens Bank & Trust and was named 2022 Banker of the Year by the Florida Bankers Association. He is a graduate of the Graduate School of Banking at Louisiana State University and holds a bachelor’s degree from Freed-Hardeman University as well as a Polk State Associate in Arts degree. Littleton has served on the board since August 2007.

Bell Barnett is the Immediate Past Chair and was first appointed to the Board in February 2018.  She is a community activist, Director of the AgAmerica Foundation, and a longtime supporter of the College, having served the Polk State Foundation Board in leadership roles including Development Chair, Treasurer, and Vice Chair. Barnett holds a Master of Public Administration from the University of South Florida and received a bachelor’s degree from Florida Southern College.

Ross is a Lakeland native who has served on the Board for 20 years, from 1999 to 2011, and since 2015. She has also served on the Polk State College Foundation Board and as President of the Polk State College Alumni Association, and most recently served two terms as the Chair of the Association of Florida Colleges Trustees Commission. The 1979 Polk State graduate received the December 2017 Distinguished Alumnus Award for her achievements and dedication to the College.

“I am grateful to the Governor for recognizing the longstanding commitment of these business and community leaders to our students and this institution,” said President Angela Garcia Falconetti. “Chair Littleton, Immediate Past Chair Bell Barnett, and Trustee Ross have worked hard to ensure that Polk State College continues to be Polk County’s first choice for higher education, and I look forward to continuing our work together to achieve great things for this institution.”

Barnhart is an experienced healthcare and business professional who has worked in the Central Florida community for more than three decades including as a nursing instructor and consultant for what was then Polk Community College. She currently serves as Vice President for Strategy for the AdventHealth West Florida Division. Barnhart serves in leadership roles on the boards of the Haines City Economic Development Council, Polk State College Foundation, Winter Haven Area Chamber of Commerce, Truist, GiveWell Foundation, and Winter Haven Economic Development Council. She is also a member of the Associated Industries of Florida Board. In November 2018, Barnhart was selected as a member of Governor DeSantis’s Transition Advisory Committee on Health and Wellness. She has a Master of Science and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Southern Connecticut State University.

Troutman is a Lakeland native and Polk State College alumnus who has served on the Polk State College Alumni Association Board. He is currently a financial advisor with Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management and previously worked as a field representative for Woodmen of the World and as a sales team leader for Fields & Company. Troutman is very involved in the Polk County community, serving in leadership positions on several volunteer boards including the Lighthouse Ministries Board, Lakeland Vision Board of Directors, and the Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce Board. Troutman holds an Associate in Arts degree from Polk State College and a Bachelor of Science in Marketing from the University of South Florida.

“It is an honor to welcome Trustee Barnhart and Trustee Troutman to the Board,” said President Garcia Falconetti. “I look forward to their fresh perspectives and know that they will be valued additions to our institution.”

The District Board of Trustees is made up of members who are vested with oversight of all College policies, including matters related to programs, buildings, finances, and personnel. Florida’s governor appoints the members who serve without compensation. All appointments are subject to Florida Senate confirmation.

About Polk State College

Located in Winter Haven, Florida, and established in 1964, Polk State College is a multi-campus institution serving more than 14,000 students with Bachelor of Applied Science, Bachelor of Science, Associate in Arts, and Associate in Science degrees, as well as 9,000 individuals in a wide range of certificate and workforce training programs. The College also operates three charter high schools.

Polk State’s advantages include small class sizes; hands-on learning; dedicated faculty; day and night classes; online options; affordable tuition; excellent financial aid; and a diverse community and vibrant student life, including fine arts opportunities, clubs, and intercollegiate athletics.


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