School Candidate Drops Out; Book’s Kid Mulls Race


The open northwest Broward School Board seat has its first victim.  

Shelly Solomon Heller has dropped out of the race after just a week, saying she decided a campaign would take too much time away from raising her four children.

“To my many friends and supporters, I know you are disappointed, said Shelly in a news release.

 “My commitment to quality and fully-funded public education as well as the grass roots power of parents and local schools in seeking better education in a safe and nurturing environment for our children, will not change,” she continued. “This decision simply means I will continue to do what I have been doing as an activist, but will spend more time with my children who need me as well.

Her departure creates an open field for Lauren Book Lim,  abused child advocate and daughter of lobbyist Ron Book.

Lauren Book Lim

lauren book two

Lauren Book Lim said she is discussing the race with her husband and the rest of her family.  She will make a decision about whether to run by the end of the week or early next week.

Meanwhile, the 25-year-old education graduate from the University of Miami is training for a late April walk from Miami-Dade County to Tallahassee to bring awareness to child abuse.

A victim of molestation by her nanny when she was young, Lauren Book Lim operates Lauren’s Kids, a non-profit group that promotes child abuse awareness and helps its victims.

She said if she runs, she would hire an executive director to operate the non-profit so she can devote more time to the School Board.

There are two other candidates in the campaign for the seat being given up by member Stephanie Kraft.  They are candidates Dave Thomas and Stewart Webster.

Neither Thomas or Webster could ever match the financial resources or support that Lauren Book Lim could muster if she decides to win.  But Kraft won her first election in the same district with few endorsements and much less money than the incumbent, member Don Samuels.

10 Responses to “School Candidate Drops Out; Book’s Kid Mulls Race”

  1. I Think It's Very Good says:

    This is no rap on Heller personally, but if it’s true that she was Kraft’s hand picked successor then she made the right choice getting out. That is not an endorsement I would wish on anyone. We need a total anti-Kraft to representing our area. We need a business background that knows how to manage money and sidestep ugly politics.

  2. Sad says:

    It is such a demanding job if done correctly. Here you have a parent, an activist, clearly involved in education for years, and NOT part of the establishment. Smart, well-educated. Yet, the system makes it hard just campaigning to keep the good people. I fear what will become of this seat now. Change doesnt seem like it is coming.

  3. Floridan says:

    Elective office isn’t for everyone. A person who isn’t ready to stand up to the rigors of a campaign probably will not be able to serve effectively on the School Board.

    Nothing wrong with realizing your other commitments may be more important to you than running for elective office. Nor does it mean you can’t continue to be an advocate for what you believe in.

  4. FLoridaNative says:

    This race is so important. I can’t imagine having a 25 year old recent graduate having any useful experience – not to mention a lobbiest-father who will finance her campaign.
    Dave Thomas is a retired Naval officer, experience teacher and is extremely ethical.

  5. Educator says:

    Lauren BOOK Lim can’t be expected to crack down on abuses in construction and lobbying since her father is involved in both. Ever hear of the Ashbritt scandal, where the Book client ripped off the schools and is now being investigated? She can’t be impartial on issues like that

  6. Hey Ron says:

    Unless you make it clear that you will have nothing to do with the Broward School Board so long as your daughter is elected there, she has no chance of winning this seat. No matter how much money you throw at it. There is just no way.

    FROM BUDDY: Ron Book pledged to me he wouldn’t do any lobbying or legal work for clients at the School Board. “I won’t work there in any capacity,” he told me.
    He was quoted making the same comment to the Herald.

  7. BrowardTeacher says:

    I’ve taught for 26 years in Broward and have seen many SB members come and go. Most have been “mommies” who only care about getting their own kid special treatment or use this position to move to higher office. No one thinks about the kids.
    A current Broward teacher is your BEST choice. Dave Thomas teaches because he cares about ALL the students and ALL the teachers which should please ALL the parents. He’s inside schools which gives him a unique perspective which has been sorely missing.
    Gina – you obviously have no idea what you are talking about since your ‘facts’ are incorrect. Dave’s children already went through the BC school system, which would allow him to give all of his time to work on the board.
    I don’t know Harris, but a bad check 30 years ago? Get a life people.
    Check Dave’s background and you will find nothing unethical. He has more useful experience than Webster and BookLin combined. A retired Navy Lt. Comm., teacher for 15 years, and life experience has more to offer than a daddy’s girl who happens to have a lot of money.

  8. Al Acazam says:

    The purpose of the School Board is to set policy, not to teach. Board members should represent the community at-large, not the teaching profession or administration. Parent activists and those with extensive business experience usually make the best school board members. We have far too many people who speak “educationeze”. Plain English would be a welcome change.

    That being said, in a single member district election, money talks. Kraft was able to beat Samuels with significant help from the media and Don’s complacency. He vastly underestimated her commitment to out hustle him.

    The lesson is to never underestimate an opponent who wants the same thing you want.

    If only Ms. Coakley learned that lesson before last Tuesday.

  9. BrowardTeacher says:

    A school board made up of no one with teaching experience is as ridiculous as the AMA not having any doctors or the FL Bar with no attorneys.
    AL: It is unfortunate for anyone to think that a teacher does not think about students or their community. People who go into teaching are usually ones who are the most anxious to HELP the community and are willing to work for lower salaries (compared to other college grads) to do it.

  10. Simple Man says:

    We already know about Ron Book’s ethics, so it should come as no surprise that he would put his daughter out there in the line of fire. Do any of you doubt for a moment that he would not use her to serve his clients? I hope he does have her run and brings the spotlight onto his greasy feeding at the public trough. It would be a lot of fun to blog and comment in such a target rich environment.