The Florida Guardian ad Litem Program on Thursday announced the appointment of Paul Nigro as Circuit Director for the 19th Judicial Circuit, which serves Indian River, Martin, Okeechobee and St. Lucie counties.
Effective August 24th, Nigro will lead a staff of 30 and more than 350 volunteers in advocating for services, permanency and normalcy for dependent children in state custody.
In his ten years with the Program – including the last three as Assistant Circuit Director – Nigro has acquired a wide range of experience in child welfare, advocacy and volunteer management, said GAL Executive Director Alan Abramowitz.
“Paul has demonstrated time and again that no challenge is too big,” Abramowitz said. “He helped re-design our pre-service training for new volunteers, which helped us keep them longer and increase their readiness. He also served as one of three statewide trainers traveling to support staff and volunteers. He is a strong leader both within Guardian ad Litem and our community at large.”
Nigro will step into the leadership role held for four years by Vern Melvin, who has accepted the position of Southeast Regional Director with the Department of Children and Families.
“During the past four years I have worked with Paul I have found him to be a passionate advocate for the best interest of the children we represent,” Melvin said. “He is also tremendously respected as a leader by GAL program staff and community stakeholders. I cannot think of anyone more capable and ready to assume this position than Paul.”
Nigro attended Southern New Hampshire University, where he did undergraduate work in education and graduate work in organizational management. He has also been attending the Certified Public Management Program at Florida State University and will soon be a Certified Public Manager.
“This has been a dream of mine for so many years,” Nigro said. “Since joining the Guardian ad Litem Program, I’ve had the opportunity to work with so many amazing, dedicated professionals who wake up every day determined to make a difference in the life of a child. I look forward to supporting and promoting the mission of the Guardian ad Litem Program and working with the community and our partners to serve the children of Okeechobee and the Treasure Coast.”
Abramowitz also thanked Melvin for his service and wished him well in his new role at DCF.