BY BUDDY NEVINS
Almost twenty years ago, a trio of friends calling themselves The Steel Magnolias formed a loose alliance to improve the school system and City of Fort Lauderdale by electing new people.
The women – Ellyn Bogdanoff, Mary Fertig and Ali Waldman – had some election successes.
But some of the candidates they promoted proved to be a disappointment, most notably former Commissioner Cindi Hunchinson of Fort Lauderdal, who ended up jailed for accepting freebees from a developer.
The women went on to other things, while staying friends.
Last year when Katie Leach quit the School Board, two of the former Steel Magnolias went to work. On Friday, they won a big victory with the appointment of Heather Brinkworth to the Broward School Board.
Fertig and Bogdanoff lobbied heavily behind the scenes for Brinkworth, along with Leach and others.
Bogdanoff is a former state House and Senate member contemplating another run for office. Fertig remains a community activist.
Here is the news release on Brinkworth:
|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 28, 2014
CONTACT: GOVERNOR’S PRESS OFFICE
Governor Rick Scott Appoints Heather Brinkworth to the Broward County School Board
Tallahassee, Fla. – Today, Governor Rick Scott announced the appointment of Heather Brinkworth as a School Board Member of Broward County.
Brinkworth, 45, of Fort Lauderdale, is a regional program manager for the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy. She was previously a reading teacher at Stranahan High School and Lauderhill Middle Community School.
Brinkworth has served as the chair of the City of Fort Lauderdale Education Advisory Board. She received her bachelor’s degree from Florida Atlantic University. Brinkworth is appointed to fill a vacancy created by the resignation of Katie Leach for a term beginning February 28, 2014 and ending November 18, 2014.
Governor Rick Scott said, “Heather’s dedication to serving students makes her a great choice to serve on the Broward County School Board. I am confident that she will continue her work to provide the students of Broward County with a great education.”
(Personal disclosure: My son worked as an aide to Bogdanoff in the state House and Senate. Fertig’s husband’s law firm has represented my family on various matters.)