Most importantly, I am a mom, an educator and a community member. I am running because it is time to step up and step out for change in our schools. I believe it's time to SHIFT GEARS for Indian River County Schools.
I am committed to building safe schools through strong and inclusive communities, exceptional academic achievement, and teachers and students who love to come to school every day.
I AM The Smart Choice for Safe Schools.
My campaign needs YOUR support to be successful. Together, we can change the future of education for Indian River County students.
MY 3 PRIORITY ISSUES:
1. Safe schools through supportive school discipline policies based on cultures of inclusion, fairness and accountability. Every child in an Indian River County public school deserves to feel safe, included and heard. Students must feel that they belong, teachers must feel heard, appreciated and supported, and parents and communities need to know that their children are well-cared for and well-educated. I will institute systems of accountability, fairness and respect that focus on solving problems, not laying blame. I have the experience to make this happen.
2. Academic learning policies and standards that build achievement and honor the strengths of all students. It is important that American students keep pace with those of other nations in math, science and language arts – the STEM fields and beyond. We also need to nourish creativity through arts programs. Many of our best teachers feel they must “teach to the test” rather than to the student, and they are losing sight of why they got into education in the first place. I will work to support the talents and strengths of all students and teachers, while raising overall school grades and academic achievement.
3. Improving teacher retention. Our teachers are burning out - too often and too fast. Happy and performing students are created by happy and supported teachers. Students are our future, and teachers are one of their most important resources. Teachers need support to do their jobs: they need to be adequately paid, they need to have access the supplies they need, and they need administrative and community support. It is the job of the school board to advocate and make sure they have these supports.
ABOUT DR. MARA SCHIFF
I am an educator and consultant with over four decades of experience in government, education and nonprofit sectors. I got my B.A. from Clark University (Sociology), and later my Ph.D. in Public Administration from New York University. I moved to Florida in 1992 for a job at Florida Atlantic University, where I have been teaching for over 25 years.
After a long career focused on juvenile justice issues, I realized that by the time kids got into the justice system, multiple opportunities to address their needs had already been missed by the public education systems that were supposed to serve them. So I switched my focus and started working instead to address issues in schools that were failing the kids who needed the most support.
I also run a consulting business that helps schools and school districts build school culture, climate and effective discipline practices by understanding and implementing restorative practices. I have worked with the School District of Indian River County, the School District of Palm Beach County, and Orange County Public Schools. I have trained school resource officers (SROs) and violence prevention specialist in Pinellas County, and served as a consultant for federal, statewide and local organizations.
I know my stuff and am well known as an expert on school issues. I am regularly asked to speak and train at policy, academic and governmental forums on restorative practices. I have been invited as a speaker at the School-Justice Partnership Project, the Federal Department of Education’s Rethinking Discipline initiative, Closing the School Discipline Gap in Washington DC, the New York State Permanent Commission on Justice for Children’s School-Justice Partnership Summit in New York City, the National Leadership Summit on School Justice Partnership in Washington, DC, Florida’s School-Justice Partnership in Tampa, FL. I was the conference host and lead organizer for the 5th National Conference on Community and Restorative Justice in 2015. I am the elected Vice-President of the National Association for Community and Restorative Justice (NACRJ), and I serve on the Board of Directors of the Florida Restorative Justice Association.
I am clear that it is time to think globally and act locally. I am ready to bring all my experience and passion back home to work for Indian River County Schools.
I bring a fresh voice to the Indian River County School Board and have the education, experience and commitment our schools need.
Remember, vote for the candidate committed to SHIFTING GEARS for Indian River County Schools -> The Smart Choice for Safe Schools.
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Thank you for endorsing this campaign!
JoAnne (Tara Ma) Finnegan endorsed
“She is a smart, committed Mom and activist who will bring compassion, coupled with her many gifts and skills to bear as our school board member.”
May 23, 2018
FRIENDS AND SUPPORTERS: The campaign is going INCREDIBLY well. I am so pleased, proud and blessed by all of the support I have been receiving. To date, we have raised over $5,000 for the campaign.
But look, the data clearly show that candidates who have out-raised and out-spent their opponents win these local races.
We are in a push to close out May STRONGER THAN EVER.
I NEED YOUR HELP.
Can count on you?? A SHIFT is coming, and we need it NOW.
THE TIME IS RIGHT NOW.
April 3, 2018
Thanks to my generous supporters, we have raised almost $3000 for the campaign so far (not all reported here as many donations by personal check and amazing in-kind services).
I could not be more grateful for everyone who believes in my campaign, in public education and in keeping our schools safe through strong and inclusive community building.
Let's keep it up!