Laurie Rich Levinson won’t seek re-election, as School Board rapidly changes

South Florida Sun-Sentinel | By Scott Travis | May 2, 2022

Laurie Rich Levinson announced Monday she won’t seek re-election to her seat on the Broward School Board, becoming the third longtime member to call it quits this year.

Levinson, who is currently the School Board chairwoman, has been on the School Board since 2010.

“My passion has always been public education,” she said in an interview Monday. “I will always remain passionate about it, but I believe 12 years is enough time to serve on the board and have decided to move on.”

Levinson, who is the daughter of Broward County Commissioner Nan Rich, wouldn’t say what her plans are but said she won’t be running for another elected office.

The departure of Levinson is signaling the biggest shakeup on the School Board in a decade. Board member Ann Murray, first elected in 2008, is also not seeking re-election. Rosalind Osgood, who joined the board in 2012, stepped down in March, right before being elected to the state Senate.

The three were part of a 6-3 majority that voted to keep Superintendent Robert Runcie in 2019 amid calls that he be fired for issues related to the Parkland tragedy. Runcie resigned a year ago after being arrested on a perjury charge.

The other three incumbents on the School Board whose terms expire this year — Nora Rupert, Donna Korn and Lori Alhadeff — are running for re-election.

School Board votes have been less predictable since Runcie left, with the board deciding 7-2 in February to promote Vickie Cartwright from interim to permanent superintendent.

The dissenting votes came from Murray, a Runcie supporter, and Alhadeff, a Runcie critic.

A major change starts at Tuesday’s meeting when Daniel Foganholi joins the board.

Gov. Ron DeSantis appointed Foganholi, a design consultant on Friday to replace Osgood. He’ll be the only registered Republican on a School Board that has often been at odds with the Republican governor on issues such as masks and LGBTQ matters.

Levinson said she isn’t endorsing a candidate to replace her. So far, three people have filed for her seat, John Christopher Canter, a grant specialist for Palm Beach County schools; Brenda Fam, a lawyer; and John Moreno-Escobar, who describes himself as a “community leader” and “social entrepreneur.”

Levinson said in a statement that during her tenure, she and other school district leaders “transformed education by introducing more hands-on, interactive, and real-world learning.”

She said she championed financial literacy, computer coding, robotics, music, the arts and chess. She also spearheaded a giant expansion of debate programs to students in all grade levels, making it the largest such program in the country.

“Most importantly, while expanding business partnerships, graduation rates and the number of industry certifications have risen consistently year after year,” Levinson wrote.

Staff writer Anthony Man contributed to this report.

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