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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?

The below races are run-off elections between the top two candidates since no candidate achieved 50% of the vote during the Primary Election on August 30.


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.


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.

Wilbert T. ‘Tee’ Holloway

  • Candidate did not respond


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. 


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.