Maverick Former School Board Member Dies



Marty Rubinstein, the maverick School Board member who lost his job after voting to fire a controversial superintendent, died Sunday.


Marty Rubinstein

No age or cause was immediately reported by the family. Previous newspaper stories said that Rubinstein was 54 in 2004, which would make him roughly 62-years-old.

A Sunrise civic activist and Democratic Party Executive Committee member, Rubinstein was the manager of computer returns and repairs at BrandsMart USA when he lost a bid for the Sunrise City Commission in the early 2000s.

With two children in public school, Rubinstein had an interest in the School Board and made that his goal.  He was an active on the Banyan Elementary School PTA and various school system committees when he beat Phyllis Hope in 2004 for Board seat representing west Central Broward.

A fighter who was not part of the downtown Fort Lauderdale power structure, Rubinstein challenged the status quo at the Board.  He rocked the boat.

About half way into his term, he started acting strange.

That’s when he revealed to me that he was seriously ill:


South Florida Sun-Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, FL) – Saturday, May 22, 2004


Myasthenia gravis creeps into lives like a thief in the night, robbing vision and coordination.

Although the autoimmune disease is rarely fatal, for a politician it can be a killer. Myasthenia gravis, which is also called MG, is hard to hide and easy to misunderstand.

With eyelids drooping and slurred speech, the victims are sometimes mistaken for drunks. Or fools.

A fighter, Rubinstein battled the disease and did some of most memorable work after being stricken.

By 2006, Rubinstein had had enough of Superintendent Frank Till.  He became the swing vote to fire him, despite threats from Till’s supporters among the downtown crowd that they would destroy him at the polls.

As the reasons for his vote, Rubinstein cited the school system’s multi-million dollar purchase of a swamp, the construction of schools where they were not needed, Till’s mismanagement of the school’s finances and Till’s refusal to listen to parents.

“Staff did not do its job and Dr. Till did little,” Rubinstein said.

But the business community did what it promised.  It threw its support to Hope, running a second time, and defeated Rubinstein’s re-eleection in 2006.

Later, a statewide Grand Jury agreed with Rubinstein that the school system under Till was mismanaged and out of control.

“Even knowing the results of the election, I would still have voted to fire Till. That’s at least one of the legacies I leave to Broward County,” Rubinstein wrote after his defeat.

Out of office, Rubinstein became a political consultant and a blogger.

Rubinstein wasn’t rich.  He wasn’t part of the downtown Fort Lauderdale crowd of insiders that control the School Board. He was just a parent who fought to make our school’s better. He wanted to make a difference….and he did.

We need more like him.

Here is the announcement on Facebook by his family using Marty’s Facebook page:

Marty Rubinstein

Hello all. I am sad to announce that dad is no longer with us. He fought with all his might until the very end. He got to hear some of the prayers that were said before he left us, so he knows he was loved by all of us. Funeral plans to be announced tomorrow morning. Thank you all. – Amanda, Diane &Nicole

RIP Marty Rubinstein

Sept 24, 1949 – Aug 19, 2012

Like · · Share · 7 hours ago near Tamarac ·


Marty Rubinstein

It seems like the prayers aree working. We spoke with the lead oncologist working on dads case. He says that all dad needs to do is hold on as best he can and he can get through this. So I would like to keep the prayers going and help him make it happen. He is doing beautifully and appreciates every bit of support coming from everyone. Mom, Nicole and I are also very thankful for the love from everyone. Thank you all! Let’s get dad better!


                        Like · · Share · 19 hours ago near Tamarac ·                   



Marty Rubinstein

Hello this is Amanda. We are hoping for some good news tomorrow and I’m sure dad would greatly appreciate some extra prayers at this time. He is fighting very hard and we are doing the best to stand behind him 100% of the way. All your love and support is (as always) truly appreciated. He misses everyone very much and hopes to be better soon.

Like · · Share · Saturday at 7:46pm near Tamarac ·



Services are 3:15 p.m. Tuesday, August 21 at the Star of David Cemetery and Chapel, 7701 Bailey Road, North Lauderdale. 





16 Responses to “Maverick Former School Board Member Dies”

  1. RedBroward says:

    Rest in peace Marty.

  2. Citizen says:

    May he Rest In Peace. His courage and conviction to vote Till out will long be remembered. Hope only had her one term in Marty’s place, so she won’t even be a footnote.

  3. Norm Price says:

    Marty was a true friend and will be missed, My prayers go out to his wife and 2 daughters. Rest in peacemy friend

  4. Amanda Rubinstein says:

    Thank you for your kind words, Mr. Nevins. Dad will be missed dearly.

  5. Marty Kiar says:

    Marty was a great friend and a wonderful public servant. He made a big difference for the people of our community. I and so many people will miss him very much.

  6. Wayne Arnold says:

    Marty Rubinstein was a man of great courage. He had passion and conviction unlike many in politics.
    And, Marty was not a fair weather friend. God Bless and Rest In Peace Marty.

  7. G.B. says:

    Marty Rubinstein was more than a “Maverick”. He was a dedicated individual who fought for Broward’s children in our School System the whole time he was there.
    Unfortunately, the powers that be (were) retaliated for his swing vote to fire Frank Till, thereby ending his tenure on the School Board.
    He continued to fight that crowd putting up many “I told you so’s” on his blog and exposing every present day faux pas he could uncover.

    Marty was a good friend for many years, collaborating on several political campaigns with me over the years, sharing his knowledge and experience with not only myself, but anyone who wanted it.

    Today, Broward has lost one of “the good guys”.

    Rest in Peace Marty.

    Sincerest condolences to Diane, Amanda & Nicole.

  8. Richard J. Kaplan says:

    I am so sorry for your loss. Marty was a great guy.

    Though I didn’t get to see or talk to him often, I always enjoyed it. He knew what he was talking about. Very smart.

    The last time was when I was working on the County Commission race. He was very helpful and encouraging.

    Rest In Peace my friend.

  9. Rico Petrocelli says:

    Marty, RIP, now you can relax, your friend, Rico

  10. Wm. F. Hirschman says:

    Besides being open and friendly to most reporters, he always struck me as one of the people on the board with a passion for reforming the system for the good of the people, with a special concern for students and parents. He always impressed me that he never accepted incompetence and laziness as some acceptable immutable part of the status quo, especially when it had become institutionalized.

    FROM BUDDY: Bill Hirschman covered the School Board for the Sun-Sentinel when Marty was there. He took a buyout at the same time I did and now is the editor of

  11. Larry Sofield says:

    Marty was a true friend to me. I am going to miss him. Yes, you either loved him or hated him but I always found him to be fair and respectful to all. He was a fighter for all and for what he viewed was fair or unfair in Sunrise and in Broward as a school board member. My condolences to his family especially Diane who I treasure as another true friend.
    Rest in peace Marty! See you later.

  12. ExCompassionate Conservative says:

    I am very sad to hear about his passing. I worked at Brandsmart and recall Marty many years ago. He was a real nice and kind person to work with before he ran for office. most elected oficlas have an air of pompous around them. Marty was a real person who did not have the flaw of poltical ambition for the sake of ambition.

  13. Paul Gougelman says:

    Marty was a special guy. He was successful in the political arena without a lot of money. He fought for the unrepresented, the little people. Aside from these fine virtues, he was a good and honorable person. I always enjoyed seeing Marty and talking with him. He will be missed but not forgotten.

  14. David Brown says:

    Marty had a passion for public policy rarely found today. He approached public education with clarity and commitment to his position. Even when we disagreed he always found a way to lighten the conversation .

    I will miss his informative blog almost as much as his hat and his smile.

  15. Barbara Miller says:

    Marty was an asset to our community and will be missed. He had deep convictions about right and wrong and was not afraid to share his views face to face or broadly. I will miss his insight. My condolences to his loving family.

  16. Bruce Voelkel says:

    As the former principal of Banyan Elementary, I appreciate Marty’s dedication and time to our students of Broward County.

    Sincerest condolences to Diane, Amanda & Nicole.