After 12 years on the Broward County School Board, Laurie Rich Levinson has decided not to run again, creating an open seat in District 6, a southwestern district that includes Weston, Davie and parts of three nearby towns.
Four candidates filed to replace Levinson, but there are now three. An impressive newcomer, Merick Lewin, dropped out of the race and endorsed his opponent Steven Julian. U.S. too.
The other candidates are John Christopher Canter and Brenda Fam. Canter loaned his campaign just enough money to pay the qualifying fee and has raised next to nothing since then. We were unable to find a campaign website. He did not return our questionnaire or participate in our interview. Although he is an employee of the Palm Beach School District, according to his LinkedIn profile, there is no indication that he is a serious candidate for a seat on the Broward school board.
Fam is a conservative activist and lawyer. The first plank of his platform is “Removal of Obscene and Age-Inappropriate Materials”.
Who defines what is obscene? Fam supports Governor Ron DeSantis’ restrictive laws based on false notions that Broward teachers sexualize children or teach white children to hate themselves. These laws will prevent teachers from counseling LGBTQ teens who fear backlash from parents and have already blocked textbooks in the state that promote social-emotional learning. Fam’s views are far from the mainstream of Broward voters.
Plantation resident Steven Julian, 33, is a strong candidate who voters in District 6 should support. With a degree in psychology and a background in business, Julian told the Sun Sentinel editorial board that he can emotionally understand the needs of children, parents and teachers, as well as the finances of the school system. This is a good job description for this vital position.
A former wrestling coach at Fort Lauderdale High (2015-2018), Julian is acutely aware of the seriousness of these finances.
“We have at-risk children around Fort Lauderdale and Miami who need extra help,” he said. “The school would not provide money for uniforms, bags, games, tournaments, application fees. It was up to us to do our own fundraising as coaches and donate our own salaries as coaches to develop the program for the kids. We have to take care of the kids who don’t have the assets.
Julian knows joining the school board will mean a steep learning curve, but he’s committed to making it his full-time job, even if it’s considered part-time. He is studying for a master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling at Nova Southeastern. It has already dropped to one class per semester due to campaign time demands.
Julian knows the plight of schoolchildren with critical needs not only through his mental health training, but also because of his own learning difficulties. He cited the attention he received at private American Heritage High as a game-changer, and he knows kids can’t fall through the cracks because of underpaid teachers in schools. overcrowded classrooms.
A mental health expert would add a new and needed dimension to the Broward school board. Julian’s belief in putting resources where they are most needed will come in handy. For Broward County School Board District 6, the Sun Sentinel recommends Steven Julian.
Coming tomorrow: Our endorsement in Broward County School Board District 7.
Editorials are the opinion of Sun Sentinel’s editorial board and written by one of its staff. The Editorial Board is made up of Editorial Page Editor Steve Bousquet, Editorial Page Associate Editor Dan Sweeney and Managing Editor Julie Anderson.