Steel Magnolias Return: Help Snare School Board Appointment




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:


February 28, 2014


(850) 717-9282


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.)


7 Responses to “Steel Magnolias Return: Help Snare School Board Appointment”

  1. Lamarca fails again says:

    Interesting LaMarca supported others for this appointment when Leach was appointed a couple of years ago. Now LaMarca backs Laurie Sallarulo and fails again. Obvious Leach and Bogdanoff have clout with Gov Scott and Chip… Not so much.

  2. For the record says:

    For the record, I know first hand that County Commissioner Lamarca did not get involved in this appointment. Not one call or letter to the Governor’s office. Lamarca is 5-0 in the ever important judicial appointments and 3-0 in Broward Health Commission board appointments.
    Besides, if anyone pays attention, Team Leach (Mike Ahearn and his team of dirty rotten scoundrels) don’t even wait a second before making every blog on this forum about Lamarca. Example:”Heart transplant goes bad” – Lamarca kills heart patient! or “Hurricane hits Ft Laud beach” – It’s LaMarca’s fault. The darned stories don’t even have to have anything to do with Chip!
    Why are these fools so scared of Chip?
    Then again, the three people blogging here are not voters in his district anyway. Keep doing good things Chip. The real voters will thank you in Nov.

  3. Lamarca fails again says:

    Thou protest too much..

    Chip is 8-0 on all other appointments by the Governor in Broward but just happened to take a pass on this Sb pick.

    Ironic since he supported others against Korn and Leach when those seats were up for appointment but now all of a sudden in a tough election year he takes a pass helping someone get appointed who would owe him.

    Typical Chip when your winning he’s your best friend, go down, what is your name?

    Finally, just curious you say Chip is 5-0 on “ever important judicial appointments” does that mean Chip didn’t support anyone for this seat because he deems the safeguarding the education of Broward’s youth unimportant?

  4. No Juice says:

    Everyone knows that once it was determined that Mrs Charlie Crist Chief of Staff was not going to get the appointment Chip and friends started to scramble for a candidate. He can’t help himself from trying to be the kingmaker.

  5. Lobbyists Girl says:

    Lobbyist Billy Rubin was really the one who pushed through Brinkworth. Expect the pay back when Rubin’s insurance clients want business.

  6. So off base says:

    Chip and the guys at Tripp Scott are all close with Paul Sallarulo. They would never support Laurie as they know from the divorce all the bad things that happened in the divorce and what an embarrassment she would be on the School Board.

  7. Broward Dem says:

    How about we let the voters decide who should hold elected office at the Broward School Board rather than all these appointees by Rick Scott. Probably the last person who has the best interests of any child in mind.