PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. – It’s the final days of the campaign to see who will represent District 6 on the Palm Beach County School Board.
After a crowded field of five candidates in the August primary, Marcia Andrews is trying to hold on to her seat, while her opponent, Jennifer Showalter, came out of the parental rights movement and wants to make a difference.
SPECIAL COVERAGE: Decision 2022 | educatIon
District 6 — the largest district in Palm Beach County — features a battle between a longtime school board member and a newcomer.
“It’s nice to tell people, I’m you. You’re me, and I have to work a little harder to help our kids succeed,” Andrews said.
Andrews, who was first elected to the Palm Beach County School Board in 2010, said she is not done working for children in Palm Beach County as she runs for her fourth term.
“I knew there was an opportunity going into the race that I would have to work differently, and I did,” Andrews said. “I’ve talked to everyone I see.”
Andrews is focusing on her experience in the classroom and her track record to help voters get to know her.
“I have to be there being a teacher and a principal and someone who knows the district very well to step up those who need a lot of support,” Andrews said. “So helping to improve academic achievement.”
Academics, mental health and school safety are some of Andrews’ top priorities.
“It’s no longer education-driven. It’s agenda-driven. And we need to get back to academics,” said Showalter, Andrews’ opponent in the District 6 race.
Academics are also a big focus for Showalter. The Wellington mother said running for the school board was never on her to-do list until the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I was speaking at school board meetings for about two and a half years. And I saw what they did and didn’t do. And I saw how they treated the community. And I said, no. We have to bring respect to the community back and we have to to bring respect for the rule of law, and that’s why I decided to run,” Showalter said.
Showalter is a strong advocate for parental rights.
“We are not co-parenting with the government,” Showalter said. “Government is there to teach education. They are there for academics. They are not there to teach morals to children.”
Showalter wants to focus on open communication with the community, transparency and accountability, and said she can bring a fresh perspective.
“If people keep voting for the same people, nothing will ever change,” Showalter said.
Andrews also sees parental involvement as critical.
“I believe a parent is their child’s best educator,” Andrews said. “They know what’s best for their kids more than anyone else. But I think we need to collaborate and communicate together so that they get the best benefits when they come to school every day. “
In the August primary, Andrews received 48% of the vote, while Showalter had 18%. But because Andrews didn’t get at least 50%, the race is heading to a runoff on November 8.
A second runoff is also happening in Palm Beach County for the District 7 seat, which covers parts of West Palm Beach and Riviera Beach.
In that race, we’ll have a new school board member, with local attorneys Edwin Ferguson and Corey Michael Smith running for the seat that Dr. Debra Robinson is stepping down after 22 years on the Palm Beach County School Board.