2020 School Board candidate endorsements by the Miami-Dade Democratic Party

As educators, parents, and students struggle with the uncertainties surrounding the 2020-2021 school year, voters will have important decisions to make in the November elections, including deciding the future of the Miami-Dade School Board. 

The endorsement process for School Board candidates originated with an invitation to all registered Democrats in the race to send materials for consideration. The materials submitted highlighted the candidates’ personal backgrounds, experience, and their views on key issues of concern to Democratic Party members, including affordable housing, public transit, combating racism, LGBT rights, women’s rights, environmental concerns, and a living wage. A panel of Democratic Party leaders, facilitated by First Vice Chair Maria-Elena Lopez, then interviewed all candidates who responded, and referred their recommendations to the Democratic Party Steering Committee. These recommendations were in turn approved by a supermajority and referred to the larger Democratic Executive Committee, which voted to support the endorsed candidates. This county-wide endorsement is part of an unprecedented year-long effort on the part of Miami-Dade Democrats to engage voters, organize, and ultimately defeat the White House occupant in 2020 and elect Democrats up and down the ticket.

Are you signed up to vote from home? Be sure to visit www.checkmyballot.miami to confirm that you are election ready and check your school board district. Note, if you signed up to receive a ballot mailed prior to the 2016 election, you will need to re-enroll. If you need to re-enroll, you can visit www.votefromhome.miami

Lucia Baez Geller - District 3

For over 15 years, Lucia Baez-Geller has dedicated her life to education  She was awarded the title of 2013 Political Advocate of the Year by the National Education Association. Lucia has worked with United Teachers of Dade, Florida Education Association, the National Education Association, Educational Excellence School Advisory Council, Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents, Media Ambassador for the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, and served as the Education Chair with the League of Women Voters.  

Mara Zapata - District 5

Dr. Mara Zapata has dedicated her professional life to education and supporting both teachers and students. She currently serves as Associate Director of the FIUteach program in the STEM Transformation Institute. She has served as an Instructional Supervisor for Miami Dade County Public Schools in the division of Human Capital Management, supported and mentored many pre-service teachers; many of whom are current teachers in the field. Prior to this she served as an administrator in Curriculum & Instruction for Miami Dade County Public Schools, overseeing the implementation of several federally funded district wide programs and initiatives. Beyond her passion for education; specifically the education of young children, she believes in community involvement and public service. She is past Chair of the Miami Dade County Commission for Women, has served as a Guardian Ad Litem representing the voice of children  She recently resigned from the Springs City Council where she served in elected office on the City Council.

Luisa Santos - District 9

Ms. Santos moved to Miami from Bogota, Colombia when she was eight and thanks to Miami-Dade County Public Schools, was speaking fluent English by nine. During her junior year at Coral Reef Sr. High, Luisa discovered she was undocumented. She persisted — starting her higher education at Miami Dade College and eventually becoming a proud U.S. citizen. Luisa worked in President Obama’s U.S. Department of Education in Washington, DC while completing her studies in Political Economy and Education at Georgetown University. She knows teachers and school staff can change lives —  she saw it first hand teaching 4th graders and leading a mentoring and advocacy literacy program for historically underserved 3rd graders. Luisa eventually came home to Miami to launch her own business, Lulu’s Ice Cream, through which she has reimagined what students can learn in the workplace.

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