Staff Spotlight: Dr. Judith Poppell

“I set out learning as much as I could as quickly as I could.”

Dr. Judith Poppell, fondly known as Judy around the office, has lived and worked in the Beaches community for the past sixty years. She began her journey with Beaches Habitat for Humanity in December of 2019 as the organization’s Grant Writer after a long career as an educator and administrator. “I’ve noticed that at Beaches Habitat, everybody feels at home. The tenure of people who work here is long.”

Judy has an undergraduate degree from Jacksonville University, a Master’s degree from the University of North Florida, and a Doctorate from UNF in Educational Leadership. When Judy and her husband, Ron, moved to Atlantic Beach in 1961, she began teaching mathematics at Fletcher Junior High School. She enjoyed her time teaching and continued on, becoming an assistant principal, then a principal. Judy finalized her career with the Duval Country Public School system as a district-level administrator overseeing curriculum and instruction. Judy has also worked for UNF’s College of Education. She has been an influential voice in discourse on the desegregation and racial inequities of public, primary schooling.

“No one calls me doctor. Everyone just calls me Judy.”

In December 2019, Judy was approached by Curtis Ford, the CEO at Beaches Habitat for Humanity, about a job opening for a grant writer. Poppell and Ford are both members of the Oceanside Rotary Club, each having served as president of the organization at different times. Judy says the job sounded ‘attractive’ and jumped at the chance to have more flexibility in the new position and the opportunity to work closer to her home at the Beaches.

Judy and Ron enjoy sports and going to athletic events. They have two adult sons, Rick and Jeff. Rick lives in New York and Jeff coaches swimming at the University of Florida. Go Gators! Judy also enjoys traveling and looks forward to an upcoming boat trip from Budapest to Prague.

About having such a long and prosperous career, Judy says: “I really do enjoy working.”

The rest of the team is grateful for the expertise and insight that Judy brings to Beaches Habitat. Thank you for all your hard work, Judy!

Look for more staff spotlights in the coming months!

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