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 August 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.

Marie-Flore Lindor-Latortue - District 7

An elementary teacher; With a Master in Health Services Administration, Dr Latortue states that Education and Health go hand in hand, because a child who is hungry can’t learn. This is why she also brings to her race a sense of inclusion because her experience as social worker, case manager, and health administrator help her understand and sympathize with our parents, teachers, all school personal who also visit Jackson Memorial Hospital where she worked for about 20 years. Dr. Flore is a non-traditional. She stands to change the status quo and brings the bold message of rotation of talents inviting voters during this election to think outside the box. She proposes that school board members should have terms limits. No one should be so comfortable in a seat that they lost sense of the issues. She also introduced the integration of Pre-K to 12 instead of K-12, development of cost saving measures where we think seriously of possible recession.

Nancy Lawther - District 9

Nancy Lawther is a lifelong educator, and recognized community advocate committed to expanding our children’s opportunities, keeping them safe, and restoring the value of their public school education.  Her teaching career crosses state lines beginning at Yale, then to U of Georgia and Barry University and UM.  She has been a member of Parent District & Schools Budget Advisory Subcommittee (Chair 2017-2019), Family & Community Involvement Advisory Committee, Audit and Budget Advisory Committee, 21st Century Schools Bond Advisory Committee, Diversity, Equity, and Excellence Advisory Committee, Attendance Boundary Committee, Wellness Advisory Committee, Safety & Security Committee, and Teacher Salary Taskforce.  She has also worked with Children’s Trust:, Foundation for New Education Initiatives, Florida PTA: Board of Directors, Legislation Committee, Rep. Shevrin Jones and Milan Thompson, House Democratic Office, on amendments to HB 7055 pertaining to the “Hope Scholarship” and with Rep. Robert Asencio on drafting and amending of HB 711 (Apprenticeship and Pre Apprenticeship Programs) and HB 1269 (K-12 Classroom Teachers). She is past president of Miami-Dade County Council PTA/PTSA and chair of Citizens’ Coalition for Miami-Dade Public Schools. Nancy is a committed DEC member, offering multi level legislative courses for prospective Florida house candidates, she is fully committed to education.

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