Governor Whitmer makes appointments to the Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness, Health, and Sports

Governor Whitmer makes appointments to the Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness, Health, and Sports

LANSING, MI — In early December, Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced appointments to the Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness, Health, and Sports (Council). Established in 1992, the mission of the Council is to improve the health of and increase physical activity among Michigan residents.

Comprised of representatives from across the state, the following appointees will serve on the Council for a two-year term.

Willie R. Burton, of Bloomfield Hills, is a high school athletics program associate for the Detroit Public Schools Community District and a former professional basketball player with the National Basketball Association. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Multidisciplinary Studies from the University of Minnesota and a Master of Arts in Sports Administration from Wayne State University. Mr. Burton is reappointed for a term commencing December 1, 2022, and expiring April 30, 2024.

Justin Cessante, of Novi, is director of strategic partnerships at Legacy Center Sports Complex and the national director of football for Legacy Football Organizations. He is also the founder and executive director of The LEAD Foundation. Mr. Cessante holds a Bachelor of Arts in Marketing and Communications from Grand Valley State University. Mr. Cessante is appointed for a term commencing December 1, 2022, and expiring April 30, 2024. He succeeds Joan M. Gustafson whose term expired April 30, 2022.

Lashanda Jackson, of Davison, is a nutrition educator and project manager for the Sylvester Broome Empowerment Village Nutrition Grant Program, which studies how socioeconomic conditions and cultural barriers impact food selection and lead exposure among Flint residents. She is also a community nutrition instructor with Michigan State University Extension, Flint. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice from Ferris State University and a Master of Science in Criminal Justice from Michigan State University. Ms. Jackson is appointed for a term commencing December 1, 2022, and expiring April 30, 2024. She succeeds Scott M. Przystas whose term expired April 30, 2022.

Rahaf Khatib, of Farmington Hills, is a stay-at-home mother of three, 11-time marathon runner, 29-time half marathon runner, and two-time Sprint triathlete. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Wayne State University and is the founder of Run Like a Hijabi, LLC and a Level 1 RRCA certified Running Coach. She is the first Syrian to complete the Abbott World Marathon Majors. Rahaf has appeared in multiple news outlets for her work fundraising for Syrian and Palestinian refugees and other humanitarian causes. Featured in a variety of magazines, she was a top ten finalist in the 2015 Runners World cover search contest and made history when she was featured in Women’s Running magazine as the first Muslim Hijabi runner to appear on the cover of a fitness magazine. Rahaf uses her running to empower the community by advocating for healthy living while organizing local runs. Rahaf also co-created the Adidas hijab, was voted “Best Health and Fitness account” by Buzzfeed, coached for Girls on the Run Michigan, and is a TEDx speaker. Ms. Khatib is appointed for a term commencing December 1, 2022, and expiring April 30, 2024. She succeeds LaDontaye M. Garrett whose term expired April 30, 2022.

Michelle C. Mattison, of Belleville, is the MSW student representative for the National Association of Social Workers Board of Directors. She is also the youth program developer and a yoga instructor for TRIO Upward Bound. TRIO Upward Bound helps to generate the skills and motivation necessary for success in education beyond high school among low-income and potential first-generation college students and veterans. Ms. Mattison earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a Master of Social Work from the University of Michigan. Additionally, she holds a Master of Business Administration in Finance from Tiffin University. Ms. Mattison is reappointed for a term commencing December 1, 2022, and expiring April 30, 2024.

Linnell McKenney, of Flint, is the founder of School of Champions, a co-ed summer basketball camp in Flint. Ms. McKenney is also the community relations director for the Sylvester Broome Empowerment Village, executive director for Salvation Army of Beecher, and a coach for Flint Monarchs Women’s Professional Organization. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Child Psychology from Kentucky State University. Ms. McKenney is appointed for a term commencing December 1, 2022, and expiring April 30, 2024. She succeeds Conell Loveless, Jr. whose term expired April 30, 2022.

Ira Newble, of Novi, is the majority owner of LeadHead Construction. Previously, he was the coach for the Cleveland Cavaliers, San Antonio Spurs, and head of player development for the Phoenix Suns. Mr. Newble was also a professional basketball player for the NBA and played for the San Antonio Spurs, Atlanta Hawks, Cleveland Cavaliers, Seattle Supersonics, and the Los Angeles Lakers. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Kinesiology from Miami University of Ohio. Mr. Newble is appointed for a term commencing December 1, 2022, and expiring April 30, 2024. He succeeds Felicia M. Maxwell whose term expired April 30, 2022.

Bryan Rief, of Northville, is the co-founder and chief executive officer of Planet Fitness Michigan Group and founding member and chair of the Michigan Fitness Club Association. He owns and operates 50 Planet Fitness locations across Michigan and is the manager of Planet Fitness Detroit DMA Marketing Co-op. Mr. Rief is appointed for a term commencing December 1, 2022, and expiring April 30, 2024. He succeeds Ryan L. Reichel whose term expired April 30, 2022.

Bethany Thayer, of Huntington Woods, is the director of the Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention at Henry Ford Health System. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Dietetics from Michigan State University and a Master of Science in Exercise Science from Oakland University. Ms. Thayer is appointed for a term commencing December 1, 2022, and expiring April 30, 2024. She succeeds Barbara L. Payton whose term expired April 30, 2022.

The Council’s vision is that the state and its communities embrace and support physical activity and health education.

Appointments are not subject to the advice and consent of the Senate.