Out With the Old, In With the New for Broward School Board – NBC 6 South Florida

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The revolving door of Broward County School Board members is still spinning. 

Of the five members appointed by the governor, four of them are gone, and four people were elected to fill their seats.

Only three, however, were sworn in Tuesday.

After the ceremony at Fort Lauderdale High School, the new board chose two Parkland victims to lead them: Lori Alhadeff as chair and Debbi Hixon as vice chair. 

Alhadeff dedicated her service to her daughter, Alyssa, who was murdered in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School mass shooting. 

“Alyssa, may I continue to be your voice and honor you with my work here on the Broward County School Board with a laser focus on making schools safe,” Alhadeff said in her speech Tuesday morning.

Two re-elected board members were sworn into new terms along with the three newly elected members, Dr. Jeff Holness, Brenda Fam, and Dr. Allen Zeman.

The fourth newly elected member, Rod Velez, was kept on the sidelines.

He was not sworn in yet because of a felony conviction when he was a teenager. Although voters knew all about it, there was an issue regarding the restoration of his rights. 

“I’ve been advised by my attorneys to not say much right now but I’ll have my day, I’ll have my own swearing-in soon. I look forward to that,” Velez said. 

“I’ve been listening and I hear you and what I hear you saying is, ‘We want change,'” Fam said in her speech.

Zeman noted the location, Fort Lauderdale High School, was his alma mater. 

“In 1977, I walked in here as a freshman and now I take an oath as a school board member,” Zeman said. 

The elephant in the room was the status of the superintendent. Dr. Vickie Cartwright was fired by the previous board, but the current board could reinstate her. 

“I think people need to take the emotion out of it. This is not about friendship. This is not about loyalties. This is about if people are competent to do their jobs,” Fam said. 

Holness said he’s concentrating on education issues. 

“We do have to get back to a period of stability. We do want to close learning gaps,” Holness said. “We had significant learning gaps as a result of the pandemic when kids were online. We do have to take care of our teachers. We want to make sure we’re valuing our teachers.”

Zeman told NBC 6 his thoughts as he takes his role on the school board during this tumultuous time. 

“Well, I gotta be honest with you. I think there’s an overwhelming need to restore public trust and that means regular agendas, announcing them in advance, making sure the media’s present,” Zeman replied, seemingly referring to the manner in which the previous board fired Cartwright.

At some point, the board will have to address that issue.

Out With the Old, In With the New for Broward School Board – NBC 6 South Florida

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