Luisa joined the School Board after one of the most disputed School Board elections in recent memory.
On November 17, Luisa Santos was sworn in as District 9 School Board Member. She won the most contested race against Denis Moss, a term-limited Miami-Dade County Commissioner. Santos outpaced her opponents in the August primary elections, and on November 3 she defeated career politician Moss, winning 52 percent of the vote.
Once an undocumented immigrant born in Colombia, Luisa was brought by her parents to South Dade when she was eight years old. Now, she has turned from being a proud product of Miami-Dade County Public Schools to a School Board Member in the county she grew up in.
She has always had a special bond with the school district. “Perrine Elementary, Southwood Middle and Coral Reef Senior High changed my life,” she added. In High School, she found out she was undocumented; however, she made it to Miami-Dade College. After obtaining her citizenship, she went on to graduate with honors from Georgetown University.
Luisa is also a local entrepreneur and owns an ice cream shop in downtown Miami. Despite having her own business, she never neglected her passion for education or her need to advocate for change in her community, which inspired her to run for the board. She attributed her win to a year of building an organization with the support of teachers, parents and students.
Santos plans to carry out policies she openly spoke about in the past year, starting with the district’s 5-year strategic plan. “The strategic plan is a tool that will help us align goals, for instance, close the existent academic results gap within students of different races or economic levels,” she added.
Likewise, she plans to provide CAP (College Assistance Program) advisors with the necessary resources and information to carry out their role as tutors. “Many talented kids are missing the opportunity to attend college or university just for the simple reason of not knowing which scholarships are available.”
She is also planning to strengthen Mental Health Service in schools. “Currently, there are 462 students per counselor. Even the best counselors can’t do a good job if they need to advise that many students,” and is working on a guide for undocumented students, “where we can provide them with information about their rights, without asking for their immigration status,” she said.
“At the end of the day, we need a system that brings equity and serves students, teachers and families, satisfying their needs so they can move ahead in life,” Santos concluded.
Haz clic para leer en Español: Luisa Santos planea llevar a cabo las políticas de las que habló durante su campaña