17 years ago I came to Vero Beach for the first time. I came with my then boyfriend (now husband) Kevin to meet his family. Vero quickly became our second home and summers, holidays and random trips to Vero filled our memory books. 15 years later Kevin and I moved our family here permanently. Right away we began having trouble with the school district. After a few months, I decided the only way for me to make change was to be part of it. I decided to run for school board. I had never ran for office before. I only knew a handful of people in Vero at the time. I had no idea where to start, what to do, who to talk to. But somehow I figured things out and went on an incredible journey!
In the last 10 months I have met the kindest, most giving, loyal, honest, down to earth, funny, hard working, passionate and understanding people. Many people whom I’ve never met in person believed so strongly in me that they would send me emails of support, donate to my campaign, and tell their friends and family to vote for me. Strangers came up to me in the grocery store to tell me how much they appreciated everything I was doing. The constant words of encouragement and praise for the work I did filled my Facebook and email accounts. To be part of something so big, honestly is a bit overwhelming. But also an honor I can’t put into words.
I do want to be honest though, it hasn’t always been so great. Running for office is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I’ve missed a lot of time with my family. My husband and I had to make a lot of sacrifices. I had to put myself out there in ways I’ve never done. There was a lot of nastiness directed at me. People attacked me on social media just because they supported someone else or a political party. My campaign signs were broken in half or stolen, even from the yards of supporters. But I was determined to put that aside, run a clean campaign, and do my best to reach out to as many community members as I could so I could learn what their concerns were and how we could create a better educational system.
A few months ago I spoke at one of the school board meetings and said “I’m not going away.” I’m not. I live by Dr. King’s wise words – “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” This school district, and its leaders, doesn’t always treat and respond to our students, families and staff appropriately. I know that first hand. I’m not going to sit by and let that treatment carry on to the new board. I will continue to be a voice for my son and the children in our school system. I am going to hold the new school board to VERY high standards. They have an opportunity to change this school district for the better and I am going to make sure they do that. I hope you will all join me in holding them accountable. I also hope that should any of you ever need any help with issues you may have with the school district that you will feel free to reach out to me. I’m more than happy to help you advocate.
When I look at the number 27,898 and try to picture what that many people look like, I just can’t. It’s so many people! But that is how many of you took the time to go to the polls and vote for me. For that, I will be forever grateful and from the bottom of my heart, I thank you.
Want to read the answers I provided to the TC Palm? Click here:
As a former teacher I understand how our schools work, the difficult job our teachers face, and the joy of working with children. Being a teacher is not an easy job and neither is being a student. We must support not only our teachers, but our students and families too so that we can be successful as a community.
Being a mom to Sylvia (13) and Jackson (9) is the hardest and most magnificent thing I will probably ever do. Like any parent, I am proud of my children and am honored to be their mom. My kids attend schools in IRCSD and we are proud of their accomplishments.
When you have a child with special needs, advocacy is taken to a different level. My advocacy for Jackson has not only given me the chance to serve in numerous local advocacy groups, but has led me to state Capitols and even the steps of our U.S. Capitol in Washington D.C.