Scruggs receives community service award

Maria L. Scruggs received the Literacy Festival Community Service Award from the Friends of Johnson Branch Library, Inc. for her dedication to literacy. Left, Charleen Bryson, adult service coordinator, St. Petersburg Library System, Maria L. Scruggs, and Friends of Johnson Branch Library President Ernie Coney

ST. PETERSBURG — The Friends of Johnson Branch Library, Inc. presented Maria L. Scruggs with the Literacy Festival Community Service Award at the 10th annual Literacy Festival held at the Enoch Davis Center last week.

The Friends of Johnson Branch Library, a support group for the James Weldon Johnson Community Library, has for years spotlighted those who are serving the community well in the area of literacy. Scruggs was a unanimous choice as this year’s honoree.

Born and raised in St. Petersburg, Scruggs graduated from Northeast High School, where she began breaking down barriers by being elected the first African-American homecoming queen.

She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Criminology from Florida State University, and a master’s in public administration from Grand Canyon University. Scruggs has earned several professional and leadership development certifications, including the National Jail Leadership Command Certification, Certified Public Manager in the State of Florida, and a graduate of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s Executive Institute.

Scruggs’ professional work experience includes 40 years as a public servant. Her years of dedicated public service include law enforcement, corrections, healthcare, public housing, and community/neighborhood development.

She is currently employed at Orange County Corrections, where she has commuted 1,500 miles per week for 14 years. She has the overall management responsibilities for alternative community service, drug testing, and pretrial release supervision.

Scruggs’ community involvement is extensive, including serving as the Happy Workers Learning Center board’s executive director and the president of the St. Petersburg Branch of the NAACP.

In 2018, Scruggs founded the Phyllis Wheatley Rise to Read Campaign, aiming to close the literacy gap between Black and white students in Pinellas County.

The Friends of Johnson Branch Library congratulates Maria L. Scruggs on being this year’s Literacy Festival Community Service Award winner.

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