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Board Members

Shirley Gil, President                                      





Deborah Griffin, Executive Director 









Byron Bowen, Director



Monica Broche, Director


Ms. Gil, Headmaster and co-founder of Christi/STEPSS Academy, Inc. located in South Florida has been involved in education for 26 years. Ms. Gil has also served on the Board of Directors of several private for-profit schools in the same market. Ms. Gil’s passion and commitment to education were birthed out of a personal experience with her son that was diagnosed with SLD along with two relatives diagnosed with Autism.

After visiting many schools that catered to the developmentally disabled community, Ms. Gil saw a real need to develop programs for the disabled community that included specialized education coupled with a more comprehensive life skills program. Her belief that students in the autism spectrum can become productive citizens of the community is what led her to open Christi/STEPSS Academy in 2011.

Her vast knowledge and prior successes have been instrumental in equipping her in expanding her vision. The recent grand opening of Mount Sinai University, also located in South Florida, is a direct result of her leadership skills and full working knowledge of all aspects of operating a school or university. Her experience includes but is not limited to school policies and procedures, a working knowledge of numerous scholarship programs, licensure requirements and the accreditation process.  Ms. Gil is a graduate of Miami Dade College and University of Florida.


Ms. Griffin founded BeFruitFul in 2006 with a mission and vision to empower, equip and challenge others to embrace principles and activities that promote love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control, the Fruit of the Spirit.

Her personal struggles with low self-esteem and self-worth at an early age, fueled her passion to inspire and encourage others, (particularly women and teen girls at high-risk), to live an abundant and fruitful life.  Motivating others continues to be central to the mission and vision to uplift and boost the confidence of those challenged with learning disabilities and low self-worth. 

Deborah has spearheaded numerous projects; empowerment workshops, event planning, fundraising, accreditation management, grant writing and other special events. She is also an author and certified life coach. Deborah received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from the State University of New York at Oneonta.

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