Early Learning Coalition of the Emerald Coast picks Dana Crupl as new executive director

Tom McLaughlin
Northwest Florida Daily News

Dana Crupi has been selected as the new chief executive officer for the Early Learning Coalition of the Emerald Coast

Crupi had been serving since August 2020 as the organization's chief operations officer and as an early learning director, a news release from the coalition said.

Her duties have included oversight of budget preparations and internal and external operations. She also worked as a liaison with the Florida Division of Early Learning and arranged audits, investigations and surveys, and conducted studies on how to improve staffing, programs and business services, the news release said. 

The Early Learning Coalition of the Emerald Coast celebrated a grant award in 2020. Pictured left to right are newly appointed Executive Director Dana Crupi, former Executive Director Renea Black, Mid-Bay Rotary Club President Rory Cahoon and Mid-Bay Rotarian Dave Swanick.

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“We are excited that Dana applied for and was willing to accept this critical role for the future of the ELC.  The last year of her employment at the ELC has functioned as an ongoing interview, and the final decision was easy for us to make,” said ELC Chairwoman Beth Brant. “We are anxious to move forward in the positive direction that Dana and her team are headed to provide superior services to our child care providers and the children and families we serve.”

Former Executive Director Renea Black stepped down in June after receiving heavy criticism from the coalition's former finance director and director of operations, both of whom Black had terminated.

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The criticism culminated in the circulation of a petition to be turned in to Gov. Ron DeSantis. It accused Black of a host of misdeeds that included misuse of funds, discrimination and nepotism.

The ELCEC has not yet complied with a Northwest Florida Daily News request for public records that could help verify or refute the allegations against Black. The request was made June 11, the day she resigned. A spokesman for the organization has said compliance delays could be anticipated as the organization struggled to regain its footing. 

The news release said Crupi's previous work experience includes service as the chief executive officer of Amazing Explorers Academy in Orlando; operations and program officer, program director and office coordinator for the Early Learning Coalition of Osceola County; and program assistant director for La Petite Academy in Kissimmee.