At the September 6, 2018 annual community meeting, SPAR members will vote on candidates for our Board of Directors. There are six openings available. The current Board of Directors feel the five new candidates featured below would be valuable assets to the organization in helping lead the Springfield Historic District forward. We are proud to present them to our membership for approval. In addition, Jaimee Stewart, currently serving as Secretary of SPAR, is seeking reelection to the Board for a second and final term.
Please learn more about the candidates by reading their bios below. If you have any questions for them prior to voting at the annual meeting, please submit them prior to September 5th via email to the SPAR office at [email protected], and the candidates will provide their answers at the annual community meeting on September 6th. No questions will be taken from the floor. Join the community meeting event page here!
John Shermetaro is a Florida State University graduate that’s lived in the Sunshine State his entire life. John has been involved in the hospitality industry since the age of 16; experience including full service hotels, restaurants, independent living centers and hospitality brands ranging from Intercontinental Hotels Group to Marriott. In June of 2013, John was awarded the distinction of “Certified Hotel Administrator” from the American Hotel and Lodging Educational Institute. He currently serves as the Regional Manager with the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association in Northeast Florida and is a licensed Realtor.
John and his wife, Marybeth, have resided in the Springfield community since 2015, including investment properties. John and Marybeth recently became the proud parents of 6-month-old, Calliope Marie Shermetaro. They were attracted to put down roots in the Springfield Historic District due to the cultural diversity and historic identity of the community. John says that Springfield is unlike any community that he has ever been a part of, and seeing the evolution of the neighborhood has been a positive and fulfilling experience. If elected to the Board of Directors, he looks forward to bringing new ideas and being more intimately involved in the neighborhood's revitalization.
Kiwana L. Jessup was born in Augusta, Georgia and raised in Twin City, Georgia. The allure of the big city drew her to Jacksonville 15 years ago, where she has worked for VyStar Credit Union for the last 14 years. In 2016, Kiwana accepted the opportunity to serve as Branch Vice President of the brand new Springfield VyStar branch at the intersection of Main and West 7th Streets. Since that time, she has engaged SPAR and the Springfield community in a variety of ways, from participating in the Springfield Area merchants and Business Association (SAMBA), to rolling up her sleeves beautifying Main Street, to facilitating VyStar's title sponsorship of the annual Throwback Baseball Game. If chosen to serve on the SPAR Board of Directors, Kiwana says that she may offer a different perspective, as a business and financial institution invested in Springfield. She feels it is important that to contribute in the community you work in, wants to support the efforts and initiatives anyway possible, and enjoys the neighborhood festivities. Kiwana remarks that Springfield has beautiful homes, tree canopy, and people committed to its well being.
Personally, Kiwana has been married for 10 years and has two beautiful children: an 8 year old daughter and 9 month old son. She is currently enrolled in Florida State College of Jacksonville to obtain her Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management. In her free time, Kiwana enjoys riding bicycles with her family, listening to “old school” music, and game nights with friends and family (especially reverse charades).
Bryant Shumaker has a Mechanical Engineering degree and currently works as a Project Manager, Data Analyst, and Business Information Systems Consultant. He enjoys being out in nature, whether on foot, on a paddleboard or on his sailboat. He also enjoys travel and the history that emanates from locations both here and abroad. His latest hobbies are those of trying to match wood trim stain colors and watching for peeling exterior paint 30 feet in the air.
Bryant was born and grew up in Florida and lived in New York City and Los Angeles before returning to Florida in 2014. After living at the Beaches for 3 years, he and Hallie (his significant other) decided to begin looking at houses in the historic neighborhoods in and around Jacksonville. It did not take long for the Springfield Historic District to become a preferred location. Bryant and Hallie bought a house and moved into Springfield just before Halloween 2017. From then on, they have found the sense of community both refreshing and inspiring.
Bryant’s interest in serving on the SPAR Board of Directors is multifaceted, but primarily, he seeks to help SPAR in its continuing efforts to maintain the history and integrity of the community while finding ways to move Springfield forward, toward being one the most desirable neighborhoods in the region.
Christine Lane first moved to the Springfield Historic District in early 2017, two weeks before eloping with her now husband John. They had set their sights on Springfield after attending the Tour of Homes the year prior. After renting for over a year, Christine and John are the proud new owners of a fully renovated 1912 bungalow.
Raised in Rochester, New York, Christine studied Environmental Design as part of the SUNY University at Buffalo School of Architecture in Planning. After school, she went to work for Cascade Recovery, a recycling company that oversaw the operation of the Monroe County Recycling Center and Resource Recovery Facility. While in Rochester, Christine lived in the Park Ave district, enjoying the walkability and historic architecture of the neighborhood - but hating the snow and cold.
Since moving to Springfield, Christine has become deeply involved with the community and has volunteered at several events including Jacksonville Porchfest, neighborhood cleanups and other projects. Professionally, Christine works in sales and recruits talent nationally for a local recruiting company. You may find Christine, John and friends gathering at local craft breweries in their free time. Christine reports that she is excited to put her enthusiasm to work for the Springfield Historic District, and take her volunteer efforts to the next level by serving on the SPAR Board of Directors. Fun fact: Christine is Canadian, originally from Laval in Quebec, Canada.
Ryan McFarland grew up just outside Jacksonville and moved into the city while attending the University of North Florida. He graduated with a Bachelors in Economics in 2014 and moved to Tallahassee to attend law school at Florida State University. While in law school, Ryan wrote on to the Law Review and earned a business certificate with honors after completing multiple tax law courses. Ryan works as a criminal defense attorney at Kent & McFarland with a focus on federal and state criminal appeals.
While in college in Jacksonville and working part-time at a law office in San Marco, Ryan became an avid follower of the redevelopment that was resuming around the urban core of Jacksonville following the recession. Ryan became a regular reader of the Daily Record, Jacksonville Business Journal and MetroJacksonville (now The Jaxson). In anticipation of returning to Jacksonville following law school, Ryan and his wife Brianna searched for a place to live near downtown Jacksonville. They fell in love with the Springfield Historic District soon after discovering it and moved to the corner of 3rd and Walnut in 2017. Ryan and Brianna have enjoyed the vibrancy of the community in Springfield and look forward to helping it continue to develop.
If elected to the Board, Ryan would use his educational background in finance, tax, and law to help SPAR Council advocate for Springfield. Ryan is particularly interested in helping SPAR obtain grants and working to draw more businesses and consumers to Main Street. In his free time, Ryan enjoys traveling, visiting breweries, autocrossing his car, and talking—to anybody who will listen—about technology, cars, and the development going on around Jacksonville.
Candidates Seeking a 2nd Term
Jaimee Stewart has lived in the Springfield Historic District for over 15 years, along with her husband, James Smith, children and dogs. During that time, they have seen the neighborhood transform potential into tangible revitalization, both residentially and commercially. Jaimee has served on the SPAR Council Board of Directors for the past 3 years in a variety of capacities. Currently, she serves as an officer of the organization in the Secretary role, is chair of the Governance committee, and is helping to coordinate logistics and permitting for Jacksonville Porchfest. Jamie also volunteers at various SPAR events, such as Second Sundays and the Tour of Homes. Her insightful perspective as longtime resident of the neighborhood is valued.
Outside of Springfield, Jamie teaches statistics at the University of North Florida and enjoys hiking the Appalachian trail each summer.