Providence School Board
Front L to R: Bishop Paul and Sharon Zink, Founders
Back Row L to R: Ken Jefferson, Rick Jones, Esq., Kathryn Fonville, Jimmy Johns and Jimi Zink
Since Providence was founded in 1997, the Providence School Board has provided governance and leadership for the school. These men and women offer support, vision and direction as they work with the school’s administrators to provide a premier education for the students at Providence. The School Board are vigorously committed to the school’s Mission Statement:
In pursuit of academic distinction for all students, Providence School, in partnership with home and church, is committed to disciple students to boldly model Christ-likeness, pursue excellence and become servant leaders who courageously transform the culture for the glory of God and country.
Head of School
Founding Head of School, Don Barfield, has returned as the Head of School of Providence School. During his tenure, the school experienced record growth in enrollment and organizational advancement. His 41 years of experience includes 35 years of administration. His teaching experience has been at both the high school and college level. Mr. Barfield is passionate about Providence School and he stands united with the Board of Directors in continuing the vision of educational excellence in a Christ-centered environment. Mr. Barfield has served on several boards including a role as an advisor to the education department of a private university.
He received his B.A. from Southeastern University and the Master of Arts degree in School Administration from the University of South Alabama. He and his wife Sandra have three sons and six grandchildren.
Upper School Principal
Dr. Anderson grew up in Stone Mountain, Georgia where he graduated from Stone Mountain High School. Georgia Southern University offered him a baseball scholarship, and he was drafted by the L.A. Dodgers in college. In 1989, he graduated from Georgia Southern with a BBA in Marketing. Shortly after, he began teaching middle school social studies and coaching in the Dekalb County School System. Dr. Anderson met his beautiful bride, Julie during his first year of teaching. Once they were married, Dr. Anderson became a member of New Hope Baptist Church in Fayetteville, Georgia where Julie and her family had been members since 1978. They taught Sunday school in the youth, children’s, and preschool departments while also serving in the nursery.
For twelve years, Dr. Anderson worked at Woodward Academy, one of the largest private schools in the country. There he became the head varsity baseball coach and eventually the Assistant Dean of Students. During his tenure at Woodward he earned his MS in Educational Leadership and began his doctorate in Educational Leadership. In 2009, he completed his doctorate in Education with a specialization in Leadership in Educational Administration. Dr. Anderson joined the Providence team in the summer of 2014. He and his family attend the church of Eleven 22 and are excited to be a part of the Jacksonville community. His goals for students, and ultimately graduates of Providence, is for them to do everything with excellence with the abilities the Lord has given them. Secondly, seek and follow the Lord’s plan for their lives. Finally, Love God and love others as they journey into the plans the Lord has for them.
Lower School Principal
Susan Dyer joined Providence School in 1996 after 20 years of experience as a teacher, administrator, program developer, conference speaker and student. Since coming to Providence, she has served as Lower School Principal and has collaboratively established a vision where lifelong learners receive a quality Christian education. Her passion for Christian education motivates her to ensure that all students, faculty and families experience a spiritual foundation that will equip this generation for life’s purposes and challenges. Ms. Dyer graduated from the University of Maine with a BS in Education and CAS in Leadership. As an Administrator, Ms. Dyer’s desire has been to create a community of learners where everyone is teaching and everyone is learning. She strives to set an example through leading, providing learner-based curriculum, staff development and accepting school-wide responsibilities. She supports and encourages teachers to create a culture that will thrive through academia and commitment to subject knowledge and skill. Students are empowered to progress through challenging material at their pace. Diversity is honored in students’ backgrounds, abilities and interests. An important aspect of her life is family. Ms. Dyer has two children in full time ministry and eight grandchildren.
Lower School Assistant Principal
Mrs. DeShuan Mills is excited to serve as Assistant Principal of Lower School at Providence. Mrs. Mills has been in education for 22 years and has served 9 of them as a member of the Providence faculty. While at Providence, she served in the classroom as a middle school teacher and she holds the prestigious honor of being selected by her peers as the Middle School Teacher of the Year 2010-2011. She has overseen the Middle School Student Government, Fellowship of Christian Athletes (Middle and High) and served as the 7th grade lead teacher. She has also coached basketball and softball for Providence. She graduated from Emory University in 1994 and holds her Florida Education Certificate. She has previously served in administration for two schools in Georgia. Mrs. Mills has been married for 20 years and has two children who attend Providence: Allie, a Senior and Addison who is in 10th grade. Mrs. Mills is delighted to be a member of the Providence faculty and looks forward to serving with the Lower School team as they mentor and train this generation for the Lord.
Lori Benson joined Providence Preschool in 2001. She started her early childhood career as a teacher and was promoted to the Director position in 2015. Mrs. Benson earned her Bachelor’s degree from Montclair State University, obtained her initial Child Development Associate credentials (CDA) in 2005 and achieved her Florida Director’s credentials in 2015. She has attended a multitude of conferences and early childhood classes over the years and strongly believes in continuing education to ensure excellence is delivered at all times to the children enrolled at Providence. She plans to pursue her Master’s in Early Childhood Education in the near future. Mrs. Benson has been married for 21 years and has two children who have attended Providence since their preschool years! She also is a coach to Providence’s Varsity Sideline Cheerleading squad. Her and her family attend New Life Christian Fellowship. Mrs. Benson knows God has placed a calling on her life to teach and minister to His children. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, puzzles and traveling with her family.