Florene Litthcut Nichols, a native of Boston, Massachusetts, was born 1942 to the late Pearl (Broadus) and George Litthcut,Sr.,of Boston. She is recognized as a symbol of artistic excellence in South Florida, communicating her love of dance to countless children and boasting over 40 years of experience in art education, administration and management.
Florene Nichols serves as Trustee Member on the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami Dade and was appointed by the late Honorable Commissioner Arthur E. Teele Jr. to serve on the City of Miami Civil Service Board. She has been a member of the Friendship Missionary Baptist Church of Miami, under the leadership of the Reverend Dr. Gaston E. Smith, since 2005.
In 1969, Nichols joined the New York City and Atlantic City based” Larry Steele’s Smart Affairs Revue ” at the Eden Roc Hotel on Miami Beach, also appeared with the road company of the Broadway musical” Purlie ” at the Coconut Grove Playhouse and with the Frankie Kane Review ” A Tribute to Liza ” and ” Cabaret “.
Florene Nichols free lanced at schools and community centers throughout Dade and Broward Counties before opening her first children’s school in 1973, The Nichols Community of Performing Arts on N.W. 7Th Avenue in Miami.
In 1995, Nichols joined a partnership with the Late Francina Thomas and Cathia Leconte Dash and together they founded and incorporated Artz-N-The-Hood, Inc. a not-for-profit that provided cultural, performing and crime prevention/intervention programs for public housing youth in James E. Scott Community Homes, Liberty Square, Larchmon Gardens and Edison Park.
In 1980, Nichols founded the Florene Litthcut’s Inner City Children’s Touring Dance Company, Inc (ICCTDC), a non-profit organization. Due to structural problems at the 7th Avenue site, the organization was forced to vacate the property however, the African Heritage Cultural Arts Center and Northwestern High School welcomed all 200 of our students from (1991-2001)
Since (2002 – present) the ICCTDC schools permanent home is located at the Carrie P. Meek Senior and Cultural Center-Hadley Park. ICCTDC continues to provided quality, professional training in creative dance, etiquette and social protocol for children ages 2 years – 12. The Touring Company has made national and international appearances with artists such as Ben Vereen, Lou Rawl’s, performing for The Consulate General of Nigeria, The NAACP, the Governor’s Conference on Tourism, The ASTA Conference, NFL Properties Super Bowl Party, The American Pavilion, Expo ’92 in Seville, Spain……to name a few.
Over the years, ICCTDC has offered two successful International Cultural Exchange program to Sene Gambia Republic of West Africa where students perform joint concerts with the Ballet National du Senegal and study traditional medicine, dance and percussion, cuisine, coiffureere and make-up.
Florene Nichols attended the Jeremiah E. Burke High School for Girls, Dorchester, Ma. and graduated in 1960 She studied dance, music and drama at cultural institution in Boston and Robury between 1946 and 1959. In 1967 she Directed Boston’s SouthEnd Project Headstart, a resarch assistant for BU Headstart Research and Evaluation Center .Nichols studied: Education, Occupational Therapy and Art Administration at Mary Brookes School for Girls, Boston; Florida Memorial College, Opa Locka; University of Florida, Gainesville; Florida International University,; Sagamont University; and others throughout the United States and Africa.
Florene Litthcut Nichols honors include 20 proclamations from the Mayors of Miami Dade County, Miami Dade County School Board and from the Cities of Miami, Opa-Locka and Miami Beach, with one key to the City of Miami and two from Miami Dade County.
Her older siblings include brother George, Jr. and sister Pauline Litthcut Miller. Nichols has two adult sons Apon K and Karee Ali and a lovely 22 year old grandaughter Latianna who will marticulate to Johns Hopkins/ Masters Progam and Urban Teacher, DC in the spring 2017.
Dr. Dorothy Bendross-Mindingall
Dr. Dorothy Bendross-Mindingall, a former classroom teacher, principal, and current adult education administrator has made a lifetime of using education to unlock the doors of opportunity for hundreds of students, teachers, and parents. She lived in the Liberty Square housing projects in Miami during the days of segregation. After graduating from Miami Northwestern Senior High School, she matriculated at Tuskegee Institute, Nova University, Barry University and Florida International University (FIU), completing her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees, and several Master-level certifications. As the first chairperson of the Governor’s Commission on African American Affairs, she convened meetings throughout the state to listen to the concerns of Florida’s citizens and to direct pro-active events to positively influence decision-makers, and support the overall goals of the Commission. Dr. Bendross-Mindingall was elected as the State Representative for District 109 where she served from 2000-2008.
Dr. Bendross-Mindingall’s leadership, advocacy and list of “firsts” has been publicly acknowledged by newspapers, magazine articles, plaques and trophies and other unique awards bestowed by national and international organizations. As a proactive leader, she developed a male-role model program, a project to increase attendance and a welfare-to-work program among others, long before local, state, and national politicians saw the value in her approach. On, November 17th, 2015, Dr. Dorothy Bendross-Minidngall became the first African-American woman elected Vice Chair for the Miami-Dade County School Board. She currently serves as Vice Chair of the Miami-Dade County School Board District 2, where she continues to serve as an example of a strong, courageous, tenacious leader whose thorough collaboration and commitment advocates on the behalf of those who might otherwise not be heard.