As a resident of District 9, I have known Dennis Moss for nearly fifty years since the days of Suniland Optimist Football and I have seen his activism in the community first hand. Commissioner Moss, a lifelong resident of the community, has dedicated his life to public service. Dennis, who’s children attended Miami Dade County Public Schools, is committed to building on the past successes of our traditional public schools and to making sure every student regardless of their zip code is afforded a high-quality public education.
Commissioner Moss is a trailblazing commissioner who served for 36 years as Executive Director of a non-profit where he created an alternative education school program to help at-risk students in the district when he realized they were being expelled from public schools in disproportionate numbers. As a result of this program, students were able to serve their suspensions at his center, rather than being out in the street and getting into further trouble. Students were able to complete their school work and avoid falling further behind academically; they would be provided counseling and parent conferences to address the reasons for their suspension and were referred for after school services. When students did well in the program during the early stages of their suspension, the agency would approach their schools and ask them to reducing their suspensions. The reduction of suspension days would in turn reduce the negative impacts that suspensions have on this student population in terms of lost educational opportunity, poor attendance and additional contact with the criminal justice system. Moss hired all staff including teachers, administrators, custodians, security personnel and support staff. The program was compliant with FTE, FCAT, and other school administration issues and was instrumental in steering students away from the school to prison pipeline. This program was created in 2002, and it was the forerunner to the school district implementing its countywide student suspension program called the Student Success Centers in 2015. Dennis Moss retired from the organization in 2018 but volunteered his services for the last seven years of his tenure. Many of the young people enrolled in his program have gone on to have successful careers.
Elected just after Hurricane Andrew, Commissioner Dennis Moss led the effort to rebuild South Dade. FEMA designated $73 million for the Moss Plan. Many projects benefiting from the Moss Plan included business expansion and development, street paving and road improvements, affordable housing, community centers/recreation facilities, redevelopment and expansion of parks, crime prevention, and homebuyer’s counseling.
Dennis is supported by the United Teachers of Dade, Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava, Congresswoman Donna Shalala and numerous other community leaders in South Dade.