As bright spring skies radiate through the windows of our homes, we cannot help but imagine better days when our children will be back in school, playing in parks, and enjoying family outings. As educators, we too long for normalcy as we have been reminded of the harsh realities and inequities that exist in our societies. Our education workforce has witnessed the adverse circumstances that many children and families are facing during this unprecedented emergency. The realities of having more than 10,000 homeless children to locate and serve, a large population of students with special needs, parents that have lost their income during the crisis, immigrant families unaccounted for, and the glaring impacts of the digital divide have created a higher need for resources and attention. One person that has been on the frontlines advocating for our students is school board member Lubby Navarro. She has been actively engaged in problem solving for the needs of families in District 7 during this pandemic.
With school closures extended for the remainder of this school year, Lubby Navarro has been on the ground working to get children in her district the electronic devices needed to ensure that distance learning continues to be a priority for all. Lubby has been volunteering her time at food distribution sites to amplify the services of the M-DCPS Food and Nutrition programs. She knows that despite the enormous efforts of educators to engage all students in a virtual way, there are many children who will be left behind through no fault of their own. These are fragile communities and vulnerable children. Lubby never forgets about the people she represents in Kendall, The Hammocks and South Dade.
Her tireless effort to help underprivileged communities comes from her strong awareness of her own humble beginnings. She was born in Cuba and grew up in similar surroundings to my own childhood. She and I attended the same schools, South Hialeah Elementary, Miami Springs Middle, Miami Springs Senior, and Florida International University.
Her 25-year career in public service began in 1995, serving as a legislative assistant to several members of the Florida Legislature. That is where she learned the ins and outs of advocating for our county. Among her numerous accolades, she was awarded the Woman Who Makes a Difference Award in 2018, and was also appointed to serve as Co-Chair of NALEO’s National Latino Commission on Census 2020.
This year will bring major changes to our school board as there are three open seats. Unquestionably, we must re-elect Lubby Navarro for District 7. The United Teachers of Dade supports her re-election campaign as we know that she is a tried and true champion for public education. Lubby Navarro was on the right side of history when it came to protecting our students and staff during this crisis, just as she was at the forefront of the much needed referendum that compensated the hard work of our M-DCPS workforce. She believes that all students, with the right guidance and assistance, can be successful in their endeavors. Proof is her annual backpack and school supply giveaway to support those in need because she knows that education can truly alter circumstances and put children on the path to success.
This crisis has taught us many things about ourselves, our families, and our communities. We have also learned that we need judicious leadership because politics impact every angle of our lives. It is important that we have a school board member that cares about our lives and the needs of the diverse people we call our neighbors. As we strategize how to help children with the academic gaps that COVID-19 has widened, the safety measures that will have to be implemented to reopen schools, and how to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our children and employees, let’s not leave it up to chance. We need the continued thoughtfulness and leadership of Lubby Navarro on our school board.