Update: School Board Race About Rick Scott?



The School Board race for the Fort Lauderdale-based east Broward seat may end up more about Gov. Rick Scott than education.

Named to the School Board less than three weeks ago by Scott, Heather Brinkworth launched her campaign on Monday to win her first full term.

Education activist Nicholas Sakhnovsky also began his campaign on Monday.

The outline of the battle can already be seen through the comments to Browardbeat.com below. Brinkworth will be attacked as a Republican ally of Scott.


Heather Brinkworth

A former reading teacher and PTA president, Brinkworth was named Feb. 28 by Scott to replace Katie Leach, who resigned for family reasons. The appointment lasts through the November election.

Whoever wins this year’s election takes over School Board District 3 in November.

District 3 includes parts of Fort Lauderdale, Oakland Park, Wilton Manors and Plantation.


Untitled 23

Nick Sakhnovsky 


Sakhnovsky has one advantage: Experience with campaigning.  

However, Sakhnowsky doesn’t have experience with successful campaigning.  He has run unsuccessfully for School Board and city commissions. 

Although Sakhnovsky lost repeatedly, he has a history of making speeches, political glad-handing and soliciting support. His biggest campaign was for a School Board countywide district in 2010, getting  20.5 percent and losing to Jennifer Gottlieb.

A graduate of Florida Atlantic University, Brinkworth, 45, is married and has two children at Bayview Elementary in Fort Lauderdale. She is a former reading teacher, PTA president and member of Fort Lauderdale’s education advisory board.

Sakhnovsky has an education leadership degree from Florida Atlantic University.  He has been chair of the school system’s Facilities Task Force, an advisory group which deals with the construction, repair and renovation of school buildings.

School Board races are non-partisan, but both parties promote their candidates. The District has roughly 71,000 Democrats, 45,000 Republicans and 39,000 independents.

Brinkworth is a former Republican who became an independent. She then switched back to Republican when Leach resigned.

Her party registration and her appointment by Scott is already an issue.

“I am very uneasy about having this many appointees by Rick Scott on the School Board,” wrote Democratic activist Seth Platt on Browardbeat.com’s comment board.

Donna Korn, who holds a countywide School Board seat, is the other appointee of Scott’s on the Board.

Korn has proven that being appointed by the GOP governor does not mean automatic defeat in an election.  With less money and little campaigning, Korn beat veteran former Democratic state House Leader Franklin Sands in a 2012 countywide race.


28 Responses to “Update: School Board Race About Rick Scott?”

  1. Seth Platt says:

    I met with Nicholas Sakhnovsky and found him to be extremely well informed with a lot of institutional knowledge about the history of Broward Schools, and with many good ideas on how to address its problems.
    I am very uneasy about having this many appointees by Rick Scott on the School Board.
    Should be an interesting race.


    I’m sure your views concerning her appointment by Rick Scott, will be echoed by others.
    Of course, you do publish a Democratic online newsletter (http://paper.li/SethPlatt/1337802389). You were also just presented with the Volunteer of the Year Award by the Broward Democratic Party (Congratulations!!!). So you are not exactly non-biased when it comes to Rick Scott.

  2. platt wrong says:

    As far as I know she is the only “Rick Scott appointee” on the School Board. The rest were elected by the people of this county (even if they were appointed at one time).

  3. Tits McGee says:

    SethPlatt? The same George Seth Platt that begged in the Miami Herald comments section for democrats to email him if they wanted to run against Brinkworth?

    Georgie, your daddy served this county with distinction. If not for him you’d still be an out of work Hollywood actor.

    Let’s hope Beam Furr keeps you far away from his race.

    You boob.

  4. How soon history is forgotten says:

    Interesting, Seth how much time and money did LSN put in to the Franklin Sands failed campaign against Donna Korn? How did that go?

    If I remember, from May to Election day David Brown and Franklin sent ominous mailers to Democrats posing Donna Korn as the evil underling of Rick Scott.

    In the primary Korn rarely went to events and had a truck with her picture on it being driven around Broward County. Essentially she was an empty chair. Luciani worked and he pulled enough votes from Franking to force a General Election in an Obama Presidential Year. Essentially, like Clint Eastwood, Sands couldn’t beat a empty chair to put away Korn in the Primary.

    Come to the General Election, Sands with at least 5-1 money lead on Korn who had little money. Brown and Sands pound all the potential Democratic Obama voters how Korn is an evil Republican minion of Rick Scott. In the end, in an Obama landslide year, the evil Republican beats the esteemed former Democratic Leader from the State Legislator in an Obama To boot she did it with no money.

    Leach, won 60-40 against two opponents who tried the “she’s appointed by Rick Scott so she is evil routine” and failed.

    I am curious, did your concerns come up during the time you Dad was lobbying Korn or Leach as BCSB Members?

    Since it is too soon to tell where Heather Brinkworth stands on issues.

    Seth why don’t you tell us 5 things each that Korn and Leach did that raised your concerns. That showed these two ladies to be kool aid drinking, lock step walking, tea party loving Rick Scott followers who have taken steps to hurt Broward kids.

    Please don’t use the Tom Lauder on the Diversity Committee, no one cares and it is a beaten horse worse than Obama’s birth certificate.

  5. Bipartisan says:

    Seth- your daddy has clearly seen the strength in getting behind Rick Scott’s appointees. Although he supported his partners dad against Korn he stroked Leach’s campaign a check.

  6. Seth Platt says:

    I live in the district. I have two children on the way that I intend on sending through the public school system. I have a vested interest with who holds this seat, and am interested in who wants it. I intend on paying a lot more attention to how this broken school system runs. My interests in this race are altruistic. I’d be happy to meet with Heather if she contacted me, or any of these anonymous commenters who are so critical of my post (Have Some Balls Tits).
    Buddy, I think you should interview Nick, I know you love the Steel Magnolias, but he is a worthy candidate.

  7. Rico Petrocelli says:

    I’m sure she was asked that if appointed, would she run in November?

    No surprise here….


  8. Weirdo says:

    I served on the facilities task force with Nick many years ago. He is one weird dude. He always tries to dominate conversations by shouting over people and makes weird ticky facial expressions. I always thought he had some kind of disorder or something. He certainly has a Napoleon complex. The Democratic Party can do better.

  9. Smell The Roses says:

    Se don’t need another Republican on the School Board who made a deal Rick Scott to get appointed. She made promises about vouchers, sex education and the rest of it. Brinkworth is wrong for Fort Lauderdale.

  10. 2 time loser says:

    Nick also ran for city commission and lost. He may have experience but if you always lose, I don’t know if that is experience we are looking for. He may have also ran for other posts as well. He is an “interesting” person.

  11. Thanks Seth says:

    When a lobbyist, whose firm lobbies the School Board says “My interests in this race are altruistic” better keep a sharp eye out.

  12. Owl says:

    To Seth Platt:

    ” I intend on paying a lot more attention to how this broken school system runs.”

    It’s not broken in the least. If you have two children on the way, be a good parent. Stay married. Teach your kids to read, and in your free time make sure you read too so they don’t just see you doing other things all day. Give the teachers something to work with and as your kids grow older, encourage them to take challenging courses. Generally, it’s parenting that’s broken.

    Ms. Brinkworth has a strong background and is committed to education having been a reading teacher as well as a PTA President. There is no reason to remove her from this position. Her opponent could have sought the appointment and had he been appointed, he too would have deserved a chance.

  13. Broward Democrat says:

    Rick Scott should not get to decide who runs our school board. Citizens of Broward County have that honor/burden, its called an election. If you like Heather you can vote for her, but Rick Scott’s opinion does not deserve any credence imho, in fact it makes me question her. BTW if you think there is nothing wrong with Broward Schools then I question your knowledge and judgement.

  14. Owl says:

    @Broward Democrat

    Governors make appointments all the time. I’m fairly confident you will vote for a Governor in 2014 and you would have never voted for that exact same candidate in 2006 simply because of a label. I’m also fairly confident that had Ms. Brinkworth been a Crist appointee you would have no problem with her.

    As far as your statement that I
    “think there is nothing wrong with Broward Schools,” that is precisely the problem. I never said that. I simply said the system was “not broken.” You either just make things up and go along, or you don’t read well. If parents were involved with teaching their kids to read, we would be far better off; but maybe not if you were the parent.

  15. Typical West Broward Dem says:

    Never judge an elected on THEIR ACTIONS OR VIEWS, but judge them on issues the elected cant control i.e who appointed them

    The best part of Broward Dems ignorant statement is “Rick Scott’s opinion does not deserve any credence…it makes me question her”

    Ummm obviously Scott’s opinion does get credence from you since you judge a person you don’t know by who appointed her.

    Best part, you probably don’t live near the District to vote anyway.

  16. Becky Blackwood says:

    To How Soon To Be Forgotten:

    I never heard Michael Levinson say Katie Leach was evil because she was appointed by Rick Scott. Neither did I say it. My campaign was based on real issues. My issues were the corruption within the Facilities and Construction Management Department; the failure of District Maintenance to have required code inspections on their work; the enormous number (more that 350) of Temporary Certificates of Occupancy which had never been closed for more than 5 years; the 22,000 student seats that were constructed without students to occupy them. I did have concerns about the encroachment of charter schools into our District rather than a major effort to improve our public schools. The building department I was responsible for inspected many of those charter schools and the majority of them did not compare with the public schools’ facilities. I did not need to reduce myself to name calling because I had experienced enough evidence to speak for the mismanagement I had seen in the administrative and construction side of the District. In my campaign, the educational issues I spoke about was having college education majors intern in schools to provide assistance to the teachers who had lost their aides. That was shot down in the BTU interview by the then President who told me they would wait to get their aides back and they are still waiting. I am not well versed in the educational issues but I do believe there must be a balance of business and educational representatives on the Board. With most of the Board members being teachers, they have not been directly exposed to the mismanagement and malfeasance discussed in the 3 Grand Jury reports since 1995. I did. It is amazing to me that many of those same individuals who committed the mismanagement and malfeasance are still employed by the District as there are very few, if any, penalties for those who were never held accountable for the large financial errors they made. Many did their own evaluations and were never reprimanded for making, in one case, a $750,000 error. Another, a 1.9 million dollar error. The former person is still employed at the District. Now BTU is suing the District to put back the other employees, including the one with the 1.9 million dollar error, who assisted in the malfeasance and mismanagement. It’s ironic former Facilities and Construction project managers who obstructed building inspectors from enforcing building codes have now replaced those inspectors who performed their job duties of enforcing codes but were laid off.

    You may want to look at the Supervisor of Elections office Past Candidate 2012 contributions to find Mrs. Leach raised $97,336 to a total of approximately $28,000 of the two other candidates for a job that only pays $39,000. Also, look at who made the donations.

    Most of the previous Board members have been teachers but unfortunately many of them have not had a grasp on how this corruption and mismanagement occurred.

    I was a PTA president in my former life before returning to college to receive degrees in Architecture and Building Construction Management years ago. Even though I enjoyed every moment of it and helped out my children’s schools, that experience would have never provided me with experience to address the construction and administrative problems in this School District.

    If a Board member has little to no experience in the areas of construction, inspections and major financial issues and they must rely on information from those same individuals who committed mismanagement and malfeasance acts, what outcome can the public expect?

    I would recommend not slinging mud on individuals but address the real issues of the School Board.

  17. NPA says:

    It should be noted that Nicholas Sakhnovsky was appointed by Katie Leach to the school system’s Facilities Task Force.

  18. Charlotte Greenbarg says:

    Becky’s right on target. She was a victim of corruption but won in the end. Unfortunately nothing much has changed in Facilities and Construction, in spite of the Program Mgmt. and entourage put in place.

    Read the verbatim minutes (hard work done by Patricia McLaughlin) of the Audit Committee meetings and you’ll see just how bad it is.

    Get the minutes of the Facilities Task Force and learn from them as well.

  19. Same Old Game says:

    Democrats cry about how the Republicans manipulated the reapportionment process in the Legislature. Democratic School Board members did the same thing by making every School Board district Democratic and appointing a Democratic gay activist to run the reapportionment committee.

  20. Just Leachy says:

    Leach appointed him to the audit committee but often still attended because she felt he was ill-equipped to represent her. That is the truth.
    Also, I live in district 3 and saw the slew of anti Rick Scott-Katie Leach mailers that were sent out and the robo calls. You had to be completely out of touch with that race to miss it.

  21. FTF member says:

    Heather’s husband, Mike Brinkworth, was Leach’s appointee to the facilities task force.

  22. Becky Blackwood says:

    I live in District 3 too and I never saw the slew of anti Rick Scott-Katie Leach mailers nor did I get robo calls – $17,000 for Mike and $11,000 for me to run a campaign does not provide enough money for those slew of anti-Rick Scott-Katie Leach mailers your speaking of, I could only afford one round. With $97,000 in the treasury, the residents of District 3 were barraged with mailers from Mrs. Leach. Mailers are very expensive when you consider the hundreds of thousands of voters there are in District 3.

  23. Get it right says:

    Levinson loaned and raised just under 10k. In kind is not cash. So you were female, good top of ballot name and did a mailer yet Levinson pulled 25% to your 15%. Save face, not only did you get beat by Leach but trounced by Levinson too.

  24. Becky Blackwood says:

    In kind, is a contribution. I had no problem with being beat but it is amazing to me, once more, why would anyone spend $97,000 for a $39,000 a year position? First, I started late – my issue. Mike had started months before but both he and Leach knew little about the corruption in the District and how the administration hid it. I wanted to speak about this important issue. It didn’t matter, the District chose a school teacher again. Even though Mike was a teacher, he had previous banking experience and I believed he would have even been a better School Board member because he had the financial experience. Neither he or Katie had intimate information about what was really happening in the District because they were away from administrative operations and the construction program. My comments are not because I am a “bad loser”. I thought I did pretty well for 5 months when the others had more than a year. Guess I must have scared Katie for her to compile the vast amount of contributions she did. Until the public wakes up and starts looking at the real issues at the School District, and making changes; nothing will change and little has changed. Don’t you think this dialogue about who was trounced, who was called evil (never so) and the other candidates doing robo calls (no so either) useless. You can get a copy of the Grand Jury reports on the internet. Take the time to read them, maybe then you will understand why I ran.

  25. Check the Facts says:

    Nick is good friend of corrupt former BTU President Pat Santeramo and so is current Board Member Rupert.

    Broward citizens deserve a clean slate. All the board members who is running in November 2014 should be booted.

    They are in the Board just to propagate their own personal agenda and to help their buddies and friends. They have no good intention for the students of Broward.

    Let’s replace all the oldies.

  26. Factsplease says:

    Rupertt an oldie? Do you follow the meetings? Levinsen, Rupertt and Good were the mavericks who came in and have been pushing change, transparency and accountability. If you are saying Rupert was a friend of Pat because she has proven to be a friend to students , teachers, employees , the community and accountability but Old Guard No Way! Get over it and do something for kids instead of smearing one of the good ones on the New Board!

  27. The Facts says:

    Rupert and Santeramo are very close. When the superintendent was hired, Rupert brought Santeramo into the one to one interview with her. No other board member brought anyone and she brought it a person who is awaiting his sentencing hearing.

  28. Mia says:

    Facts?? Really? Why don’t you all worry about The Krafts and leave Rupert alone. Santaramo and Rupert BFFs … Funny!