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SCHOOL BOARD OF MIAMI-DADE COUNTY

The Miami-Dade School Board, the policy board for Miami-Dade public schools K-12, has nine members elected from individual districts to 4-year terms. In non-partisan election. The School Board appoints the Superintendent who in turn appoints administrators who together carry out the policy of the School Board.

All candidates were asked the following questions:

  • Why are you running for this office and what qualities, training, experience and skills do you bring to this position?
  • What do you see as the most important issues facing this office, and how would you deal with them if elected?


SCHOOL BOARD DISTRICT 1 – James Bush III

No Response

 

SCHOOL BOARD DISTRICT 1 – Steve Gallon III

I am running for the office of School Board member for District 1 to support and advocate for the improvement of teaching and learning, and to enhance the overall quality and conditions of public education in our schools and school district as a whole.

The ultimate mission of the School Board is the learning of students. This mission requires that there be a commitment to supporting those who are on the front lines of this work and ensuring that the conditions, compensation, and collaboration support this work.

As a life-long public school educator of over 26 years, and having served as a classroom teacher, assistant principal, elementary and high school principal, and district administrator in Miami-Dade County, as well as a Superintendent of Schools, my experience and background are uniquely superior to those of the other candidates. My knowledge, background, experience, and proven advocacy in areas that include but are not limited to curriculum, instruction, data, budget, finance, personnel, collective bargaining, legislation, and school operations and safety will enable me to help craft and support policy to improve our school district. In addition, they will all enable me to serve as an experienced voice for teachers and staff working in schools and throughout the district.

MOST IMPORTANT ISSUES

As a candidate for District 1 School Board member, my focus and candidacy the most issues facing the school system are improving the education of our students, supporting for increased compensation and improved working conditions for teachers and staff, supporting excellence and providing the resources that support its attainment, and ensuring the manifestation of equity and equality in every school and every corner of the public school system.
 

SCHOOL BOARD DISTRICT 1 – Wilbert T. ‘Tee’ Holloway

No Response
 


SCHOOL BOARD DISTRICT 6 – Modesto ‘Mo’ Abety

My life’s work has been to ensure our children have the resources to succeed. As the former President & CEO of The Children’s Trust, I have worked hard to earn the trust of parents, advocates and community leaders for my dedication to the well­being, safety, health and education of our children. I am a strong believer in building parental and community responsibility for our children. I am ready to take my four decades of experience both on The Children’s Trust and in public service to the School Board so our children have an advocate fighting for them, for their parents, for their teachers and together for a high quality public education. 

I am pleased to have gained the support from those who share my vision for offering the best resources for our children to succeed. They include organized labor such as the United Teachers of Dade , and the South Florida AFL CIO, as well as leaders in our community, David and Roberta Lawrence, and County Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava. I have also earned the support of the community itself­­ parents, teachers, and social workers, families and child advocates. 

What do you see as the most important issues facing this office, and how would you deal with them if elected? 

Over testing: I will be a voice for parents and children who want our schools to put student learning ahead of teaching to a test. I look forward to working with my colleagues on the school board to urge Tallahassee to reform the onerous testing requirements that only serve to line the pockets of testing companies while failing to advance true student learning in our school system. I’m committed to giving teachers the tools they need to do what they do best: teach! 

Lack of Funding: I will work with students, teachers and parents alike to ensure that Miami­-Dade’s accountability system works for all our children and for all taxpayers. Our Miami­-Dade Delegation to the Florida Legislature also needs to be held accountable for ensuring that we get our fair share of the State’s education dollars. As a grandfather, I know that giving our children the best education system means a brighter future for them and our community. 

Strong Teachers: I firmly believe that quality education is dependent on a strong teacher. I will be an advocate for providing our teachers with suitable pay benefits, and a caring, nurturing, respectful environment so that we can recruit and retain the best talent in Miami Dade County. 

 

SCHOOL BOARD DISTRICT 6 – Gus Machado

I attended the University of Florida where I studied Political Science and I also attended Florida International University, I graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education. As a former Elementary school Teacher and now a parent to two little sons, my passion, my background knowledge in elementary education and working with the school district the past 3 years got me ready to run for the school board.
 
[I have a beautiful wife, Raquel Machado and two young sons, Ethan is 5-years-old and Shane is 4-years-old who are both in special education classes. My 5-year-old is on the Autism spectrum and my 4-year-old has a developmental language delay and ADHD.]   
 
I’m currently on the Board and President of Autism Rescue Mission, a non-profit organization that raises money locally for local kids on the Autism spectrum and I also volunteer for Autism Speaks for the last 3 years.
 
I have been searching for almost 2 years for a school that could accommodate my 2 sons with special needs education in my district; I was in a lottery waiting to see if a spot becomes available. After 11 months of frustration, waiting lists, and testing, we finally found a school that is in the district, but not near our home.
 
This is going to cause me to have a 4.5 hour commute daily to drop off and pick up my sons. No child should have to sit in a car for 1.5 hours in the morning and 1.5 hours in the afternoon to go to and from school. Those hours should be spent in therapy, not in the car.
 
I would like to be an advocate for parents who are facing the same problem I am and make sure that every child in every neighborhood has access to special education classes and an autism academy.
 
The school board is stale. There are members on the board for over 20 years who have been there for too long and they are out of touch with parents, schools, and students. This has caused our public school system to fall behind. The technology is outdated and needs to be brought up to speed. We have new technology like tracking our success of our children. When have technology to track a package by FEDEX or track a car service like UBER. How can we not track the success and the needs of our students, this would make the school system more accountable.
 
The School Board needs new ideas, new technology, and new members with a fresh perspective. As a school board member, it will be a priority for me to ensure that we allocate resources to opening up more schools for kids with disabilities.
 
I believe that this is a problem that is happening across the board in Miami-Dade County. I have personally experienced a testing delay of one year for my son. I’ve spoken to parents who have waited two or three years for their child to be tested. We need more transparency for the testing program. We should have access to how many kids are in the program, how many have applied, etc. All kids should have a chance to be tested to enter no matter their background or race. There is a school and a place for every child.
 
We need to bring the school system’s technology and teaching curriculum up to the  21st century. 

786-525-9292



SCHOOL BOARD DISTRICT 6 - Pedro Mora

No Response

 

SCHOOL BOARD DISTRICT 6 – Marie Teresa ‘Mari Tere’ Rojas

First and foremost, education has always been my passion! I have devoted my entire life to educating and advocating for our children, our most precious resource. I want to bring that passion and my 40 years of experience, knowledge, integrity, and leadership, to the School Board. I see many opportunities that I can build upon using my experience as an educator and administrator within Miami-Dade County Public Schools. I want to continue to improve the quality of programs and services for students, increase student achievement, ensure class size is maintained, and properly compensate teachers in order to attract and maintain. Also, in the area of human resources, the ability to develop board policies and procedures geared to the provision of a safe and equitable learning environment for all stakeholders.

I started my professional career with Miami-Dade County Public Schools in 1975 as a classroom teacher at H.M. Flagler Elementary School. During my tenure, I served our district in numerous high-level administrative positions such as Principal, Assistant Principal, Region Director, Assistant Superintendent of the Office of Professional Standards, and as Administrative Assistant to a School Board Member.  
 
What do you see as the most important issues facing this office, and how would you deal with them if elected?
 
Two of the most important issues facing this office are ensuring the safety of all stakeholders as well as funding, to secure the adequate monetary resources to warrant successful performance of all stakeholders. I believe we can solve both issues by serving as an advocate for children, and working with state legislature to secure more funding for projects.

Another critical issue is the quality of programs and services for our students. I would work to increase student achievement through enhanced academic programs.

Another important issue is the recruitment and retention of highly-qualified teachers. A plan of action to retain teachers could be to ensure a mentoring system that provides support to the teachers always, but especially during the first year. To have a “think out of the box” approach by suggesting co-teaching with an experienced teacher. It is important to provide incentives and simply highlight the positives on a daily basis. 

Keeping up with technological advancements and professional development to enhance student progress and the efficiency of all employees are also important issues that must be addressed.  If elected, I would strive to maximize the technology available to meet the needs of the 21st Century while working collaboratively with higher education institutions.

I will also develop board policies and procedures geared to the provision of a safe and equitable learning environment for all stakeholders using my experience, leadership, knowledge, integrity and most importantly, passion as an educator administrator.

Phone: 786-719-0584
Email: mtrojas7@hotmail.com
Facebook: facebook.com/MariTereRojasDistrict6

 

SCHOOL BOARD DISTRICT 7 – Aster Bato Mohamed

I am running for Miami-Dade School Board District 7 seat because as a classroom teacher for 17 years, district parent educator for five years, I’ve advocated for students, parents, teachers and the community for over 30 years. Now I want continue to dedicate my unique perspective as a teacher and district parent educator by serving as a school board member to improve the academic achievement of ALL students. 
Qualities as a School Board Candidate

Advocacy  - My first priority is advocating for students and families in the district. As a former classroom teacher for 17 years and a parent educator for the district for six years, I understand the current challenges and political climate in the county, state and country in terms of educational policy and students’ assessment and shortage of funding. 

I have the experiences of working with elected officials which produced positive results for our students and families and the community at large. I am familiar with our district’s greatest strengths and greatest needs for adequate funding for education. Therefore, I will be a strong advocate for the district at local, state and federal levels. 

My training includes Bachelor of Arts Degree in Elementary Education and Master of Arts in Educational Administration. In addition I am endorsed to teach gifted, English Language Learners (ELL) and Special Education course for recertification until 2020. 

Experience - As a candidate I have the most experience working with parents, teachers, administrators and elected officials in our district for over thirty years. As a former PTA president and Educational Excellence School Advisory Committee (EESAC) chairwoman and member, I am familiar with district policies, procedures, and protocols. I have represented the local and regions schools on the district advisory committee for several years. Having lived and taught in the most diverse community in the district I am running, I understand the needs of our various constituents. 

Some of my skill sets I possess are the ability to listen, analyze, collaborate on all information presented and develop an action plan. For this reason, I have been appointed by Miami Dade Public Schools regional superintendent, to serve on local school site selection, regional principal of the year selection, and regional Teacher of the Committees representing the community. As a school board member, I will ask in depth questions about policy and programs so that we, as a community, understand the value they bring to the classroom. I will encourage the proposal of new initiatives to improve the education of our children. I will listen and reflect the concerns of our community and work collaboratively with fellow Board members to improve our schools and advocate for strong public schools. 

What do you see as the most important issues facing this office, and how would you deal with them if elected? 

The growing number of charter school:  Charter schools are private schools funded by public dollars and managed by private management companies and business people. In order to operate, they must provide the local school board with a contract (charter) for approval. They select their own students and do not accept all students as public schools are mandated to do so. My view is that public education should be funded by public school dollars and private money should fund charter/private schools. If any school is funded by public school dollars they should be open to ALL students and not a selected few.

High Stakes Testing: Policy makers and educators need to collaborate to figure out how best to assess students learning. Everyone agrees that Florida public school students face too much testing. It will be up to lawmakers to decide how far those tests, which include the new Florida State Assessments (FSA), will be pared back. There should be a limit on the time that teachers are spending preparing students for tests rather than teaching students the skills they need. Special areas classes such as Music, Art, and Sports which aid students in understanding core subjects should not be cut. Test scores should not be used to evaluate teacher performance. Teachers are pressured to teach to the tests rather than helping students acquire life-long skills. 

I recommend that a committee of educators and administrators decide how teachers will be evaluated rather than politician. 
Reaching Hard to Reach Families: Many families feel they are not welcomed to their children’s schools. As a result, they are not aware of programs available to their children. During the summer before school academic year begins; hold town hall meetings in the schools close to their residents. 

 

SCHOOL BOARD DISTRICT 7 – Lubby Navarro

No Response