Dontavius Jarrells
Deputy Selections Director, NLC Columbus

Dontavius was born in the Hough neighborhood of Cleveland, a community that never fully recovered from the deadly race riots of 1967. Crime, poverty, and disinvestment was the reality. He was lucky to have a family that pushed him to succeed. His grandmother cleaned the homes of white families during the Depression. His mother, a former member of CWA Local 4320, taught him patience and the importance of helping others. They made sure he was in one-third of students who graduated from East Technical High School in 2006. Dontavius went on to Hiram College, where he learned about advocacy and leadership.

After graduation, he was selected as an Ohio Legislative Service Commission Fellow, where he worked as a staffer for Democratic House Caucus during the 129th General Assembly. After completing the fellowship, he decided to commit the next seven years of his career fighting for Ohioans to have adequate healthcare, including access to comprehensive mental health resources and treatment for addiction. At the Ohio Association of County Behavioral Health Authorities (OACBHA) and Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (OhioMHAS), He was proud to serve as OhioMHAS’s Health Equity Policy and Program Lead, making sure that the department did not overlook the needs of underrepresented communities across Ohio.

In the 2018 election, Dontavius served as Political Director to Steve Dettelbach, Ohio’s candidate for Ohio Attorney General. Currently, Dontavius serves as the Chief of Communications to Franklin County Treasurer Cheryl Brooks Sullivan, the first African-American elected county treasurer in Ohio.