Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs needs to stay in public office to increase her taxpayer funded retirement payments… it’s not about the kids for her.
By Jacob Engels
Teresa Jacobs can’t seem to recognize what her life would be like if she didn’t hold public office. As she terms out as Mayor of Orange County, Jacobs spent early this year and late last year plotting her next move.
First she was supposed to be the next Chief Financial Officer of Florida and marched up to Tallahassee to inform the Governor that Jimmy Patronis should step down or be crushed in a brutal primary.
That idea was shot down instantaneously when Governor Scott and others balked at the demand. She did not pass go and she did not collect $200.
Then she set her sights on becoming the next Congresswoman from Florida’s 7th congressional district, currently held by freshmen incumbent Stephanie Murphy. Jacobs trekked up to DC and made similar demands for the field to be cleared for her… or else.
And again… activists, political operatives, grassroots leaders rejected her bully tactics and the the door on Jacobs’ relentless quest for political advancement.
That’s when Teresa Jacobs, who has been in public office for the past two decades, decided to run for Orange County School Chair. Having spent years opposing public-private partnerships to strengthen public schools, many felt this was an odd choice but understood that she expected her name recognition to carry her over the finish line.
She has no relevant background in education or schooling, save for the fact that at one point she raised children who went to school. Electing Teresa Jacobs our next School Board Chair would continue her political career and help her earn six figure annual payouts on the taxpayer dime… but it will not help strengthen or bring innovation to the way we approach the education of our kids.
Now I know it’s not a secret that I have long detested Teresa Jacobs and yes this is just my opinion. However, I come from a family of educators. My grandfather worked for over a decade in the Orange County Public School system as an administrator, innovator, and principal. Not once did he come home and tell us that he wished more politicians sat on the school board. Not once did he pine for political creatures to be part of the educational process.
So who is running in the race besides Teresa Jacobs? Why are any of them better candidates for the job? Let’s break it down.
Nancy Robbinson: She currently serves as a member of the school board representing District 6. She attended Orange County Public Schools and was involved as an advocate for the PTA before being elected to the school board. Nancy also sits on the board of the Florida School Board Association. She has overseen our rising graduation rates and has by all accounts done a bang up job for our students. My only gripe with her is the fact that she has been on the school board for some time, but holding public office is not always indicative of being a career politician or incompetent flunky.
Robert Prater: He has a degree in elementary education and is a resource teacher and school funding expert. Prater has lead the Faculty Advisory Board and School Advisory Board during his career in education. Prater wants to direct focus to vocational opportunities for students and to shift away our focus from standardized testing. He has never held public office or ran for public office ever before. Prater is running on a shoestring budget, but has been an aggressive campaigner since filing several months ago.
Matthew Fitzpatrick: He is a former teacher and Vice Principal in Orange County. Fitzpatrick is most well known to West Orange residents for his role as an educator and coach in the Apopka area during his time working with Orange County Public Schools. He currently serves in a high level role for Orange Technical College and is very adamant about approaching education from the ground up. Fitzpatrick wants to shift decision making away from county bureaucrats and form ideas with the men and women on the ground in classrooms across Orange County. He came up short in a school board race against Christine Moore in 2016, his only other attempt at public office.
There you have it. Each individual we discussed above has more business determining the direction of Orange County’s public school system than career politicians like Teresa Jacobs.
You might like her and you might vote for her out of habit. That is your right as an American. However, we implore you to look into these other candidates for the job and evaluate each one thoroughly.
What’s easiest at the ballot box isn’t always the best for our children or community. It’s up to you to step up and make your voice heard. The primary election is on August 28th.
Jacob Engels is an Orlando based journalist whose work has been featured and republished in news outlets around the globe including Politico, InfoWars, MSNBC, Orlando Sentinel, New York Times, Daily Mail UK, Associated Press, People Magazine, ABC, Fox News, and Australia’s New Dawn Magazine. Mr. Engels focuses on stories that other news outlets neglect or willingly hide to curry favor among the political and business special interests in the state of Florida.