Here’s what to know about the new Miami-Dade School Board member Gov. DeSantis appointed
Last week, Gov. Ron DeSantis appointed Maria Bosque-Blanco as the District 7 representative to the Miami-Dade County School Board — the second member he’s named to the nineperson board this school year.
On Wednesday morning, she was sworn in to fill the seat vacated by Lubby Naserve varro, who stepped down Dec. 30, and by the afternoon, she had cast her first vote to elect Daniel Espino, the other DeSantis appointee, to serve as vice chair, a post that Navarro held. She joined Espino, who voted for himself, Chairperson Mari Tere Rojas and Roberto Alonso and Monical Colucci, the two board members DeSantis endorsed in the August primaries.
Bosque-Blanco, 48, will
the remaining two years of Navarro’s term.
As the guidance counselor at Our Lady of Lourdes Academy, an all-girls Catholic school that’s part of the Archdiocese of Miami, her appointment might have come as a surprise to some because she was not an educator in Miami-Dade Public Schools.
Her brief remarks Wednesday and her votes during the meeting could provide some insight into her priorities. Here are four things to know about Bosque-Blanco:
In her 28 years in education, Bosque-Blanco has been a teacher, a school psychologist and a counselor.
She began her career as a science teacher at St. Brendan High, a co-educational Roman Catholic high school in Westchester. She also served as the campus ministry co-director for six years at the school, her alma mater, according to her bio.
Then, she worked for more than 15 years as a school psychologist for Broward County Public Schools. She identified children living with disabilities and served as a liaison between schools and parents to ensure the students received an education and services.
At Lourdes, she spearheaded the mentorship program for incoming freshmen, according to her bio. She has also served as the Silver Knight coordinator, exceptional student education coordinator and the Advanced Placement (AP) coordinator.
She received a bachelor’s in psychology and a master’s and specialist degrees in school psychology from Barry University.
SECOND DESANTIS APPOINTMENT
In November 2021, DeSantis appointed Bosque-Blanco to the Miami Dade College Board of Trustees, where Alonso, the newly elected School Board member whom DeSantis endorsed, also sits. (DeSantis appointed him to the MDC board in 2020.)
Bosque-Blanco’s MDC term ends in 2025.
Similar to the other board members who were backed or appointed by DeSantis, Bosque-Blanco confirmed her support for parental rights in the classroom.
In her speech last Wednesday, she said, “I believe all children have a right to feel safe, loved and educated, while preserving the parents’ rights to be the primary educators in the home.”
As a teacher, psychologist and guidance counselor, she added, “It has always been clear to me that a strong collaboration between home and school is the most effective in maximizing the student’s potential and overall well-being.”
Parental rights is a key element of DeSantis’ education agenda, which he launched before the August primary elections, and has been a common talking point for other conservatives in the state.
INITIAL VOTES ALIGN WITH CONSERVATIVES
The election wins of Alonso and Colucci, plus the appointment of Espino in November, has all but guaranteed a 5-4 conservative majority on the board. Navarro was a staunch conservative who had become even more vocal in recent months; Rojas also often voted in favor of conservative items, such as banning a comprehensive sexual-ed textbook.
Bosque-Blanco’s appointment is expected to reinforce that majority.
Aside from her first vote to elect Espino as vice chair, Bosque-Blanco also aligned with the board’s conservatives on a change to the district’s controversial flag policy.
In December, the board approved a measure to ensure the American and Florida flags are properly displayed in classrooms and district buildings only after agreeing on an amendment that also included allowing “federally protected flags and classes may be visible” throughout the year. (Federally protected classes refer to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, familial status and disability.)
However, on Wednesday, Alonso brought the item back for an update, and the board voted 5-4 to remove the amendment.
Bosque-Blanco, who during the meeting acknowledged she was “a little bit confused” about the discussion and the “conflicting information” that was being provided from other board members, voted with Alonso, Colucci, Espino and Rojas to remove the amendment.