Battlin’ Board Members: One Files To Run Against Another


One School Board member opened a campaign against another Friday.

Katie Leach filed papers to run for the Fort Lauderdale-based seat now held by member Maureen Dinnen.


Katie Leach


Leach was appointed by Gov. Rick Scott to a countywide seat earlier this year.  She replaced Jennifer Gottlieb, who resigned.

Although the School Board elections are non-partisan, Leach is a Republican and is thought to stand a better chance in District 3 than running countywide.

The district seat was originally created for Republican Judie Budnick. Voters expected to participate in the election, so-called likely voters, are almost evenly split between Republicans and Democrats.

Four things are working in Leach’s favor next year:

  • Leach is a new face. Voters are fed-up with the corruption, overspending and mismanagement at School Board. The former head of the state teachers union and a long-time School Board member, Dinnen is an old face.
  • Leach has a solid resume as a former education consultant at Nova Southeastern University for students with autism and other intellectual disorders. She has been involved in numerous parent and civic activities, such as the City of Fort Lauderdale Education Advisory Board and the county’s Children Services Board.
  • Leach has tons of money and will fund a good deal of her own campaign.  This makes her largely immune to special interests. Dinnen’s campaigns have been paid for by lobbyists and those doing business with the school system. As revealed first by, Dinnen  took money for her own education group from one of the lobbyists.
  • Leach will benefit from a large turnout of Republicans.  While there is no interesting Democratic race expected on the August primary ballot, there will be a red hot GOP U. S. Senate race to encourage Republicans to vote.

30 Responses to “Battlin’ Board Members: One Files To Run Against Another”

  1. Jennifer Little-Kiss says:

    I’m so excited for Broward County to have the opportunity to have Katie Leach continue as a school board member. I have known Katie and her family for years and I can truely say she is one of the most genuine, kind, and intelligent people I have ever met. I’m looking forward to voting for her in August.

  2. Plantation Mama says:

    I am so glad to see that our district will finally be able to be represented by someone I can idetify with and who will understand what is going on in our schools as a teacher and as a parent.

  3. Concerned Parent says:

    I wish Ms. Leach good luck in her campaign. She is an activist and involved in many children’s organizations and I know she’ll do a good job representing the district.

  4. Plantation Parent says:

    There are too many administrators in the school system. School system employees get paid too much and get too many benefits. Are you listening Ms. Leach?

  5. Retired Educator says:

    I taught besides Maureen Dinnen for more years than I care to admit. In our time we did great things as educators. Sadly, when Maureen became more involved with the Unions and Tallahassee she lost touch with us teachers and our students. She loved to talk about the big names she met, the places she had dinner and on and on. My last two years as an educator were Maureen’s first two years at the school board and I saw great promise. Then after a while, especially after her reelection, she just seemed to go through the motions and blame everyone else for problems at the School Board.

    I don’t know Ms. Leach and I was originally skeptical about anyone appointed by Rick Scott. My friends and former teachers who still teach say that when Ms. Leach has come to their school she really listens and is very respectful. I keep hearing the same things, she is very nice and a go getter.

    I sincerely hope Maureen retires and goes out on a good note. While we didn’t always agree, she gave her life to education and deserves to be celebrated for that.

    As for Ms. Leach, I live here in Plantation and you have my vote. Best of luck, if you do win, don’t get caught up in the administration and lobbyist people, remember it’s about the children and teachers.

  6. Marla says:

    Katie would be a true asset to the Broward County School Board. She is a true leader both professionally and personally. Broward County could truly use someone with such integrity.

  7. Hammerhead says:

    The choice is clear — Leach is needed and Dinnen has outstayed her welcome and has done more to promote the city of Fort Lauderdale than her district’s needs. She has proven to be selfish, venomous and out of touch. I hope that Leach continues to stay focused on what is good and what is right. If she does, then she will not only improve the board, she will provide Dinnen with a long needed exit strategy and an opportunity to allow that district some real representation. I’ve been watching Leach and she has been a bit slower study than anticipated, but is doing well at this point.

  8. Dolphin Dem says:

    I have to say I did was skeptical of SB Member Leach because she was appointed by Gov Scott. On the other side most of my fellow Dems in town know that since Maureen won her last election she never shows up to events and rarely replies to phone calls or emails.

    I had the chance to meet SB Member Leach when she was a speaker at the recent Dolphin Democrats meeting and she was great. Very personable, unlike typical politicians, she actually took the time to speak to me without seeing who else was there to talk to next.

    Her speech on school bullying was great and the story about her son being bullied and his classmates rallying around him when he was bullied was informative. It shows that that anti bullying teachings are going well with the younger generation.

    While I am a proud and loyal Democrat, it seems the mess we have at our school board took place under the watch of Democrats. I believe SB Member Leach is a moderate who will put the needs of our children, teachers and community above partisan politics.

    Best of luck Ms. Leach.

  9. Dont get it says:

    How can their be a battle if dinnen has not filed? Dinnen is done. She has known Leach was going to run for the last year and has not opened a campaign account.

  10. Allison Janse says:

    I have known Katie Leach personally and professionally as a tireless advocate for kids and our schools. You could not find a more dedicated, honest, and passionate person. We need more people like Katie working for our children.

  11. Maureen is an old face says:

    Hee hee! Loved your comment, “Dinnen is an old face!” I’m sure you meant it the other way, but…

    The problem with Maureen, besides that she has been there too long, is that she is entrenched in the status quo. She supported keeping Till, even though Till turned a blind eye to much of the waste and mismanagement that occurred on his watch. She supported the lobbyists and businessmen who supported the status quo.

    She always votes in favor of the staff, even when the staff presents erroneous information, and never questions what is presented.

    She is an old school marm, shaking her finger at parents and others who dare to question her. She can be quite nasty.

    She has served the public for a long, long time. It is time for her to retire and go out gracefully. Maureen, don’t embarrass yourself, just don’t run this time.

  12. Runnin Reb says:

    I have known Katie since we grew up in Imperial Point and went to Northeast High. She is a great person from a great family and will be a welcome addition to the School Board.

    As someone who lives in North Andrews Gardens, I have seen my beloved Northeast High become the red head stepchild of the east side schools. The facilities are down the tubes, no discipline and no school spirit. Us parents and boosters have known for years Dinnen never cared about Northeast High.

  13. Mr. G1 says:

    This is wonderful news! Finally we are going to get fresh young non- corrupted, non planted, non bought member on the board. Maureen was planeted years ago by BTUseless now they are falling and just maybe things will start to get cleaned up!

    Dennin was part of the machine and now it is time to break this machine once and for all.

    I know that Katie will do the job she will be elected to and will not be on the take or in the pockets of others!

    You go girl!!

  14. Catherine Givens says:

    Katie is a genuine, intelligent, down to earth lady that I am proud to call my friend. She has tremendous insight in the community and has a heart for our children. No doubt, she can do wonderful improvements to the world.

  15. Real Ghost of Paul_Giordano says:

    Hey Hammerhead:

    I see that you suddenly popped up here!! Good to see you buddy!!! Why you are so silent under all the news about corrupt BTU President Pat Santeramo? Did you get any share of his fortune??

  16. Navy_Veteran says:


    Please focus you telescope on the Broward Teachers Union president and his associates.

  17. Tracy Roloff says:

    Katie Leach is a friend, a colleague and a highly respected professional. She has what it takes to serve our children and teachers!

  18. To Hammerhead says:

    “I’ve been watching Leach and she has been a bit slower study than anticipated, but is doing well at this point”

    Let Leach be a slow study, if she is, that means she is taking the time to research the issues and make her own decisions. Being a slow study shows that she is not led arond by the nose by Staff, Lobbyists and/or what is left of the BTU.

  19. Plantation Parent says:

    I am so pleased to hear that Katie Leach is runnning. As the parent of a child who is both gifted and has a disability, I am concerned about what our schools are doing for multiply exceptional children.

    From what I know of Ms. Leach, she genuinely cares about our kids and is honestly driven to “be the positive change we want to see in the world”.

    Congratulations, Ms. Leach. You have my vote, and I hope I’m the first Plantation resident to proudly display your campaign sign in my yard.

  20. Jeanne says:

    I find Mrs. Leach thoughtful, careful and intelligent. Her positive attitude, respect for children and parents is refreshing and welcome. I wish her well.

  21. Nancy Meyers says:

    Katie Leach will be a tremendous asset to the District.
    She is bright, professional and she does whatever it takes to get the job done. Good Luck Katie.

  22. Amanda says:

    There are no boundaries with Katie. She will listen AND act on what she hears, a rare talent. She does everything with passion, and this seat would be no different. Broward County should be honored to have such a relevant, humble, hard working mother on their School Board.

  23. SarahJaneRN says:

    Mrs. Leach will be strong, hard working, positive asset to the Broward County School Board. Her experience as a parent, former classroom teacher and concerned community member along with her strong integrity, Mrs. Leach is the only choice.

  24. Kiarra Roper says:

    Katie Leach is simply AMAZING. I have had the pleasure of working with her on various community projects through the Junior League of Greater Ft. Lauderdale. She has always proven to be a true leader who will do anything it takes to get a job done, and get it done right. She is an intelligent and passionate women who will surely have a positive impact on countless children and their families as a School Board member.

  25. Nick Steffens says:

    Repeat after me “If you like Rick Scott on education, you’ll love Katie Leach on education.” Rinse, repeat.

    However, unless the Democrats come up with a credible candidate to opposed Leach (Dinnen and Levinson, who is a very nice guy but not strong enough, don’t count), she’ll win in a walk.

    There is also going to be a competitive Sheriff’s primary and potentially a competitive State Attorney primary to drive Democrats.

  26. City Activist Robert Walsh says:

    so she thinks she can beat Maureen dineen because Gov.Goober put her on the bd. Well eat your wheaties because you are going to need. i forgot your name allready-See what i mean.

  27. Thanks Nick, not... says:

    I guess you have talked to Leach, been places where she has spoken in order to make your well informed opinion. I guess using your logic I can assume that because all the corruption at the School Board took place when all members were Dems, the Democrats are corrupt? If you want to rip someone that is your right, but at least come up with something better than what letter is next to her name.

    Competitive Sheriff’s race, really? Go to your local Publix, diner or a mall and ask 50 people who Louie or Isreal are, and they will have no clue.

    Satz a competitive race. Only if your hanging with Judy Stern. She cant get anyone to even give a sniff at supporting Mancini even if he did decide to change from I to D.

    Wake up, the only race that will bring people out is the US Senate Republican Primary, wanna guess who that benefits?…(hint) the one you said will win in a walk.

  28. Redistricting 101 says:

    Nick Steffens says:
    Repeat after me “If you like Rick Scott on education, you’ll love Katie Leach on education.” Rinse, repeat.

    Are you serious? Are those the talking points that Chairman Mitch (The Lobbyist) gave you at the DEC meeting?

    Looks like Little Nicky needs to go make some more maps.

  29. Big Mama says:

    Leach is a Republican. Republicans cut education spending, want to fire teachers and push to teach dubious courses like Creationism. Enough said.

  30. Floridan says:

    Gee, all these spontaneous responses in favor of Leach . . .how convincing.

    Buddy mentions she has “tons of money” — what is the source of her wealth?

    Does Leach support Scott’s educational initiatives (such as his veto of capital funds for public schools while preservng that money for charter schools).

    There is little evidence that Florida’s elected Republicans value public education — let’s see what Leach’s positions are on these issues before annointing her.