Update: Winners and Losers In School Board Appointments


In every gubernatorial appointment, there are winners and losers.

An appointment always benefits some insiders.  It ignores others.

There are winners and losers in the two appointments to the Broward County School Board on Friday.

One obvious winner is Gov. Rick Scott.  He proved he could appoint moderate Republicans and that he wasn’t wedded only to extreme conservatives in his party.

Also winning was the Broward Republican Party.

The local party now has two Republican School Board members – Donnia Korn and Katie Leach — it can showcase.  They appear sensible and well-experienced from their resumes.

The big loser is County Commissioner Chip LaMarca.  He went public with his choice for the seat – county commission aide Torey Alston.

LaMarca even told the media that he favored Alson, a 26-year-old political figure with little real experience.

Scott ignored LaMarca’s recommendation.


Here’s a political lesson for you, Chip:

Don’t tell the media who you are backing for a gubernatorial appointment unless it is in the bag.

Otherwise you end up with very public egg on your face.  You look like you lack influence, which is one of the worse things that can happen to a politician.

Korn, 40, once ran against imprisoned School Board member Bev Gallagher.  How would things have been different if Korn had won?

A Pembroke Pines resident, she is a real estate agent who sells large commercial property.  She should bring needed business expertise to the Board.

Leach, 39, is a consultant with Nova Southeastern University working to train the public schools to work with autistic children.

A Republican activist, Leach appears far removed philosophically from the Tea Party crowd. She was planning to run against member Maureen Dinnen before the appointment.

Leach told the Sun-Sentinel today that “she wouldn’t use her seat to go after Dinnen during the election.”  But being an incumbent will offer her visibility and credibility.

She’s got six months or so to prove she is worthy of our votes.

The School Board is in the midst of the biggest change in recent years.

It now has five new members in less than a year.   The superintendent and general counsel were also replaced.


Here are the news releases distributed by the two new School Board candidates (I removed Leach’s phone number, added Korn’s name to the releases and colored them blue.) :

Katherine “Katie” Leach

954 873-XXXX


I am deeply humbled and thankful for the appointment by Governor Scott to the At Large Seat on the Broward County School Board. I also wish to thank my husband, Jason, our two children, Colin and Lizzy, as well as the rest of my family and friends who have supported me throughout this process.

It is my honor and privilege to serve the citizens of Broward County as a School Board Member. Education serves as the foundation for a strong democracy. Every child in every city in Broward County deserves a quality education. It is my goal to help achieve that. Bringing sound fiscal principles to School Board spending in these challenging economic times without sacrificing the quality of education for our students is a priority.

The opportunity to serve on the SBBC is the continuation of my life’s work in the field of education.  I attended Broward County Public Schools and began my teaching career as an intern at Pompano Beach Middle School in 1994 and am the proud parent of two children who attend Broward County Public Schools.

In my professional life, I work as an educational consultant for students with autism spectrum disorders and intellectual disabilities. I am currently employed by Nova Southeastern University’s Mailman Segal Center for Human Development’s Autism Consortium.

 As a volunteer, my focus has also been children and education.  I currently serve on the Education Advisory Board of Fort Lauderdale, Broward Schools Parent/Community Involvement Task Force (Municipal Relations Subcommittee) and the Broward Schools Facilities Task Force. Other community commitments include the Autism Society of America, the Junior League of Greater Fort Lauderdale, the Board of the Museum of Discovery and Science, and the Broward County Children Services Board.

As a parent, teacher and advocate for the education of children. I plan to hit the ground running and will work diligently to improve the educational experience for all students and teachers in Broward County.



August 26, 2011

 I am pleased to accept the Governor of Florida, Mr. Rick Scott’s, appointment to the School Board of BrowardCounty, District 4.  Along with so many other dedicated residents in our community, I holda passion for providing every child with the highest level of education that can be made available to them. As a graduate, prior teacher and now parent of children in Broward County Public Schools, I recognize that I have been blessed to live in a good School District while acknowledging that there is room for improvement.

As a former teacher, I understand the challenges our educators often face and look forward to working with the entire School Board and Superintendent to ensure their highest level of success. My professional experience, as a commercial real estate agent, has afforded me an opportunity to work and negotiate with Presidents and CEO’s of  large corporations in the private sector. My community involvement, in organizations such as the Children’s Services Board of Broward County (Chair), Early Learning Coalition of Broward County (Executive Committee Member), and Country Isles Elementary PTA (Co-President), allows me the opportunity to bring a wealth of knowledge about children’s issues to the School Board.  I approach my role as a community activist, and now a School Board member, with a philosophy that effective leadership and true representation is attained through listening.

What I look to bring, as the District 4 School Board Member is reinvigorated passion by the public for our public schools.  With student achievement as the over-arching goal, I look to promote businesses to forge true partnerships with our schools in order to bring their expertise and financial support to the District.  My goal is to encourage a greater level of family engagement in their children’s education.  By promoting educational choices we can successfully tailor students’ educational experiences and opportunities to meet the needs of each child.

I look forward to working closely with residents in District 4 as their voice on the School Board.  As each District faces its own unique challenges, I will bring my experience and passion to the Board to achieve the priorities and goals District 4.


43 Responses to “Update: Winners and Losers In School Board Appointments”

  1. Seriously Buddy says:

    With all due respect, I outwardly supported Katie Leach as well. Remember, there were two seats vacated, not one. Also, Katie is 40, not 49. Maybe Ms. Korn is 49 and you swapped the ages. You’d have to ask the State Senator that facilitated her appointment on that one.

    With respect to your description of my being the “real loser” in this process, I appreciate your political lessons, but I will remain loyal to my friends, especially those who were loyal to me.

    You see, in this town, I would rather have you making comments like those above and those that were written anonymously on Norman’s blog and support my friends than ever make a decision based on what could be written in your blog or by the newspapers. After all, when public service is over, we have our friends and family, nobody else.

    Remember, I wasn’t even supposed to be here last year!

    Best regards,
    Chip LaMarca


    Thanks for commenting, Chip. You are always welcome here.

    The Sun-Sentinel says Leach is 39.

  2. Michael E. Levinson says:

    I wanted to extend a big congrats to the two new appointmentees, Katie Leach and Donna Korn. I am genuinely hoping that they will now take the opportunity to get an early start on my mission–working to rid our school board of all the waste, and putting the taxpayer’s funds back into the classrooms, where it belongs!!!

    Here’s wishing them all the best in their new posts.

  3. Michael E. Levinson says:

    appointmentees should have read “appointees.” Sorry for the typo! 😉

  4. Red Broward says:

    Katie Leach will do a great job because she actually cares about the children, parents and teachers of Broward County. Simple. A welcome change at the School Board.

  5. TamaracTalk says:

    Best line ever, “Don’t tell the media who you are backing for a gubernatorial appointment unless it is in the bag.

    Otherwise you end up with very public egg on your face. You look like you lack influence, which is one of the worse things that can happen to a politician.”

    So true, look at all the people around Tamarac, Margate and Coral Springs that were sending in their recommendations for Bob Sutton. Although he may be qualified and is a republican, his “influential” friends in high places don’t have much political clout.

  6. The Dude says:

    6 months? Leach does not have to resign from her current seat to run against Dinnen. The term of Leach’s current seat ends Jan 5, 13 and the winner of the Dinnen seat’s term begins Jan 6, 2013. Since there is no overlap, Leach does not have to resign to run. Win or lose, Leach is there for another 15 months.

  7. MC Hammered says:

    What was Chip thinking? Thanks for throwing Tory A. under the bus. Why didn’t you keep quiet and let him run (and win) Williams seat? Nooooo. You had to push him into this mess. Ruth Lynch will send you a thank you basket.

  8. Appearances Only says:

    Sharief hoped to expand her political reach with Alston who could not have applied without her approval. She’s less popular than she hoped and added political power muscle helps. But now folks must ask what Sharief is doing with a Republican operative as her chief of staff? LaMarca’s move to support Alston shows he is not top dog with the Republicans. That’s bad for Chip and the whole thing looks like he tried to kiss Sharief’s butt. So they both come out losers in my book.

  9. The Real Loser says:

    The real loser here is Bob Sutton, who was strutting around telling everyone he had it in the bag. He had petitions drawn up that he was urging everyone to sign. Guess he figured since he lives in the district and got votes last election, he was a shoo-in. NOT! I guess even his Republican compatriots knew he would’ve been a terrible choice.

  10. Honesty is the best policy says:

    Chip is right it is obvious that Chip saw Torey as a more loyal friend than Leach since he tried to get him the plmb county wide seat and put Leach in Coral Springs where he himself said to Bob Norman she would have problems because she didnt live in that District.

    No worries Chip, it just another screw job that has blown up in your face. It is ok, those of us in east Fort Lauderdale remember how you supported Maymon over Moraitis and now you screwed Leach for Alston. Those of us who support Moraitis are also well aware of your friendships with Barbra and Judy Stern.

    With friends like you Chip, who needs enemies.

  11. Honey DontBadgerMe says:

    as someone who voted for you here is some advice. ZIP IT! Do not bring the state sentator into this. did you know some of your casa del sol team went running to kiss some state senate bee-hind?

  12. Still Vacant says:

    According to School Board website, still vacant. I understand they may need a headshot, but still vacant?

  13. It's about the students... says:

    Republicans or Dems…. who cares at this point. We just need some honesty, common sense and educational direction on this pitiful Board. It is time to clean house with the good ole boys and girls clubs in the Broward Schools Administration. The waste and corrupion must end! The teachers and kids have been the big losers for too long… PLEASE Ms. Leach and Ms. Korn … we need help!!

  14. #1 Democrat for Justice says:

    Actually Ruth Lynch has run for office 4, 5, oops 6 times..thats who the black community wants on the school board? I don’t think you have asked to many people…Torey’s support is strong in the community and in the bag…Ruth runs for everything and shakes down everyone…she is a disgrace

  15. No More Corrupt Politicos says:

    Actually Buddy its crazy that the guy has served on a state university board of trustees for nearly 2 years and was a student member on the school board serving on all those committees…in addition to more he has done…and you say he has “little real experience” and you highlight his age. What’s the age requirement? We say we want young new leaders and when they come along you try to kill em. That u were a little more balanced. And why don’t u have a quote from him…I hear he knew he wasn’t gettin it

  16. Disgusting says:

    Torey Austin is the ultimate government bureaucrat. The REPUBLICAN Austin earns $74,000 annually as a county commission aide because REPUBLICAN Al Jones handed him a gift just after he lost election (Sun-Sentinel.com Nov 15, 2010).
    The same article said that Austin wanted to serve on the School Board and work at the county commission. They meet on the same day but that wouldn’t stop Austin from milking the taxpayer twice.
    Chip LaMarca claims with one hand he is a fiscal conservative and with the other hand rewards this type of conduct! LaMarca is a RINO.

  17. sum it up says:

    2 things about Torey Alston…

    1) he is 8 years of of high school
    2) he has not even had his 10 year high school reunion

    Seriously, this is a credible candidate who can relate with the parents, children an teachers in the system. Come on.

  18. Nick Steffens says:

    While I have not met Ms. Korn, I think it’s unfortunate that the Governor did not appoint someone who actually lives in District 4. I’m sure Ms. Korn will work hard, but the fact that she does not live here will handicap her.

  19. Ron Gunzburger says:

    I’m from the vocal left-wing of the Democratic Party, but I must commend our otherwise odious Governor for making two very good selections. Particularly my friend Katie Leach, who I have come to know and respect very much in recent months. She’ll make a great addition to our School Board.

  20. Commissioner Angelo Castillo says:

    Hi Buddy,

    It’s been a while. Saw your item this morning on school board appointments and decided to chime in. I’ve spoken to Katie and find her to be very smart, a moderate who understands education, is focused on what’s best for kids and has great hopes for the future of Broward Schools.

    I haven’t spoken yet with Donna Korn, but I know that Sue Katz was rooting for her to win that school seat years ago. Sue was very picky in who she supported so Donna has to be special.

    I agree with Ron: The Governor chose two very capable people from a list of applicants that should all be thanked for their community spirit and willingness to serve.



  21. BeachGirl says:

    I have to agree that the real loser is Sutton. He ran his ’10 campaign like he’d already won – and lost badly. Then he supported Levine – who lost badly. He paraded around like he had already gotten the appt – and didn’t. So much for his clout within the TB community.

  22. Javier Martinez says:

    Why does Ellyn Bogdanoff have to be brought into this?

  23. Sutton Supporters Miss Again says:

    Washed up bloggers supported Sutton. Funny to watch yet another bad call.

  24. That's Why says:

    Ellyn Bogdanoff is being brought into this because she had a major role in these appointments.

  25. Hallandale Beach Blog says:

    The big loser in all of this was and remains Jennifer L. Gottlieb. Period.

    Gottlieb resigned in ignominious fashion and in the end, cared so little about the public that she misled, that she went all Howard Hughes on everyone and decided that she wouldn’t deign to face the public or the news media in person to explain her unexpected decision.

    So, speaking of furniture, what’s new in the Ann Murray investigation and when are the shoes in that case finally going to start dropping? The sooner she is gone the better for kids, taxpayers and ethics!

    FROM BUDDY: Ms. Gottlieb did talk to Browardbeat.com.

  26. be positive says:

    Congrats! A few words from a life long educator…
    You both have a long , bumpy and often times, very challenging road ahead!
    Now roll up your sleeves and get it done… the RIGHT way. You have arrived because of destiny.
    Always ask yourselves before deciding, “How will this benefit the students”? If in doubt, call ” time out” and re think, get proof and then do what you KNOW to be best for our students.
    We, in your communities care deeply for our childrena and our public education system. We have been sorely disappopinted in a lot of the past SBBC members antics and poor decisions.
    Know that we are all watching, hoping and wanting you to do your utmost to benefit our students, teachers, principals and schools. You both are educators at heart and so should know, it is the teacher in each classroom that MAKES the difference. Concentrate to make sure our children have teachers who qualify as having extraordinary abilities to teach each student in a way that he/she can learn and succeed,. They must be positive influences with strong teaching abilities and have a great knowledge base equipped with successful teaching styles and strategies. Bring Cooperative Learning back into every classroom. Never give in to an action in what your intuition tells you could wind up as an explicit, negative article the next day in the paper, on TV or in thesees great “Real Freedom of the Press” blogs! Thank the Heavens they arrived when they did! Transparency benefits!

  27. Le Peerman says:

    Tamarac Talk
    It wasn’t about political clout, it was about recommending someone who lived in the district that understood the problems of the schools in the district. I stand by my recommendation because he was the best choice for the job that lived in the district. I do not know either appointees but I will offer my willingness to work with them because it isn’t about politics it is about Margate schools as far as I am concerned.

  28. Jeanne says:

    While I am pleased with both appointment to the school board and believe both women capable, I do have to wonder why some one from District 4 wasn’t chosen and why two women? The School Board does not reflect the diversity of the county and it seems some believe that education is women’s work. I would have like to have seen a male appointment in one of the seats and some diversity.

  29. Gloria Steinem says:

    Wow Jeanne! Way to push us back into the kitchen. Women’s work? How about just picking the two most qualified applicants and setting aside their race, gender and religion? Sounds crazy, I know!

  30. Right on says:

    The Board need some testosterone. There hasn’t been any for years. We’ll have to fix that come election time.

  31. NoseBleedSeats says:


    Margate doesn’t have any schools…So glad you’re willing to work with them though. Do us all a favor and merge your City with North Lauderdale. Something like that would demonstrate some leadership. That is what you ran on, right? On another note, so sorry you have to work with Joe V., yikes!

  32. Jeanne says:

    With all due respect, Robert Sutton doesn’t have a grasp on what is going on in the school district. I watched a u-tube video of him speaking about the budget. So, why has he managed to go through an entire election cycle and not learn the difference between the operating and capital budget? How is it that he is still maintaining that the capital budget well funded but the teachers were short changed in the operating budget? Both budget has been underfunded for over 5 years and hundreds of millions lost will not return? Instead of the same old corruption manifesto that is becoming increasing irrelevant now that we have a new board, what is Bob Sutton going to do for the kids of Broward? What programs is he hoping to bring to Broward and District 4? How is he going to address the drop -out rate? Instead of only focusing on the capital side of things, what are candidates going to do to assist the kids of Broward?

  33. Jeanne says:


    Clearly you didn’t read what I posted closely.

    Apparently you are going to ignore the comments on diversity. 🙂

  34. Le Peerman says:

    Nosebleed, even tho Margate schools have been the stepchildren of the SB that does not mean I have to accept that. I ran on representing the residents, being available to the residents. I ran on working at the 2004 salary(which I do) I ran on trying to get rid of the automatic raises for commissioners(which I did). 8 months in Nosebleed and not once has merging with N. Lauderdale ever come up nor has it ever been on my radar. Joe V has dedicated a large portion of his life to the city and the residents for that he should be respected.

  35. Le Peerman says:

    Bob had come to talk to me before all this SB members desertion happened. I have a pretty good grasp on what Bob knows about Margate schools and he has a pretty good grasp on what I want for Margate schools. After the ummm resignations of the SB members I talked to Bob and felt that since he
    1 LIVED in the district
    2 understood my concerns for our schools and
    3 was the only one looking to be appointed who wanted to represent our district that contacted me,
    There are more reason but just from those 3 things I believed he would represent Margate schools very well. I stand by that.
    As I have said before Margate schools are my concern.

  36. Give Me A Break says:

    Yes, Gov made two appointments…but if he was smart, he should have tried to make the Board more diverse…adding a Hispanic, another black or another minority groupd would have sent a very bold msg that he is listening ang trying to clean up his image

  37. Chip OffDaMarca says:

    why did LaMarca use the word “outwardly”. Should I loan him my dictionary? Who would he support if there was just one opening? I hear Chip is joining the Tory party. Cheerio!

  38. native Floridian says:

    Hey, NoseBleedSeats, There are no public schools in Margate? Funny, but I went to Margate Middle School during the late 1980s, and it’s still there. http://margatemiddle.org/

  39. Back off says:

    Lay off chip, he can’t help if he couldn’t hack it at higher education after finishing high school. As long as it works as a sound bite and he shows that smile substance means nothing

  40. GOPapa says:

    Compared to our current BREC chair, Chip LaMarca is Teddy Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan and Abe Lincoln rolled into one. Only in comparison. The current chair is a total lightweight and way over his head. The state party will come in and bail him out to run the local effort next year.
    So lay off LaMarca.

  41. NoseBleedSeats says:

    Native Floridian – Read my post again, the fact you missed what I said about no Margate schools is indicative of your having attended Margate Middle, leadership isn’t about the past. I hope the new members are not more of the same.

    Le – the fact that merging with others Cities isn’t on your radar is indicative of most current electeds. Stop falling over dollars to pick up the pennies and quit bragging about working for a 2004 wage – its stupid. People are smarter than that, quit insulting us. Work for $50 a meeting and give up all your perks, bennies, salary, staff, food money, etc…

  42. DiversityFirst? says:

    Hey Give Me a Break.

    Does diversity trump qualification? I’m hispanic and have no issues with these appointments. The merits of the individual are the most important. Always.

  43. Le Peerman says:

    Not bragging stating facts. You are the one that was saying what I ran on not me I just posted the facts of what I ran on. As far as I know merging the two cities is not something that either city wants. Now if you can explain to me the benefits in merging I am willing to listen. Merging services and merging cities are two different things. The pennies add up Nosebleed more than you might think.