School Board Holds Annual Reorganization Meeting

(L-R) Erica Whitfield, Karen Brill, Judge Bradley Harper, Marcia Andrews and Debra Robinson.

Four Palm Beach County School Board members were sworn in Wednesday, Dec. 5, kicking off their new four-year terms of service to the School District of Palm Beach County.

Karen Brill (District 3), Erica Whitfield (District 4), Marcia Andrews (District 6) and Debra Robinson (District 7) were re-elected to serve on the school board until 2022. The board members were sworn in by Judge Bradley Harper.

Brill will serve a third term on the board. She was first elected in 2010. Brill has been actively involved in public education locally and at the state level for more than 25 years, most notably as an advocate for students with disabilities.

“Thank you for your faith and trust in me as we work through different issues,” Brill said. “We are working toward the same goals.”

Whitfield was elected to her second term after being first elected to the board in 2014. Whitfield feels that her position as a school board member helps her make a difference in people’s lives and provide her with a greater opportunity to better serve her community and all the children of Palm Beach County.

Whitfield said that she encourages students to follow her example of public service. “I tell them it’s important every day to do something that matters,” she said.

Andrews is in her third term, having been first elected in 2010. As a school board member, Andrews’ focus is on student academics and personal achievement, as well as ensuring that policies are in place that meet the needs of all students.

Andrews said that she is approaching this term with the same resolve to put the community, particularly the students, first. “I will continue to work hard every day to ensure that they have everything they need for success,” she said.

Having first been elected in 2000, Robinson is the longest-serving of the board members sworn in on Wednesday. In her position on the board, she leads the charge for a focus on addressing the socioemotional needs of students and staff, fairness in the application of disciplinary rules, and the use of disaggregated data to drive district movement to equity.

“It has been 18 years since I was sworn in for the first time,” Robinson said. “I have seen a lot, and I know a lot.”

Robinson noted that in her tenure on the school board has covered a generation, noting that her own children have grown beyond the school system and her grandchildren are now in kindergarten and pre-K in Palm Beach County schools.

As part of the meeting, the board chose Frank Barbieri as the board chair. Chuck Shaw will serve as vice chair.

Wednesday’s swearing-in was ceremonial, as the newly re-elected board members were officially sworn in on Nov. 20, per state statute.