TEACHERS UNION ENDORSES REP. CASTOR DENTEL, SCHWALBACH IN SCHOOL BOARD RACE
By Sean David Hartman
The Orange County Classroom Teachers Association, a division of the American Federation of Teachers and the Florida Education Association, has announced their endorsements of two School Board candidates running for election in 2018.
The trade union and advocacy group representing public teachers has placed its support behind Former Maitland Democratic State Representative Karen Castor Dentel for District 6, and Eric Schwalbach for District 7.
“The Orange County Classroom Teachers Association is the most influential education union in Central Florida, being the political voice for over 14,000 instructional personnel in the ninth largest school district in the country. We are proud to endorse these two candidates who are both experienced, respected, and dedicated teachers and members of OCCTA,” said Wendy Doromal, President of the OCCTA in a press release.
Representative Dentel previously served a single term in House District 30 before being defeated in 2014 by Former Longwood Mayor Bob Cortes, a Republican. The Castors are a prominent political family in Florida, with Representative Dentel’s mother having served as Education Commissioner and her sister as a Tampa Congresswoman.
Representative Dentel was not completely out of the public eye after leaving office. She was rumored to be a potential running mate for Governor Crist in 2014 but has denied such discussions took place. Recently she had been involved in many local Democratic campaign events, supporting the candidacies of Gwen Graham, Sheriff Jerry Demings, and Anna Eskamani.
She touts her experience in public schools as well as her brief tenure in the State Legislature, where serving on the K-12 Education Subcommittee. Castor-Dentel also fought against high-stakes testing.
Eric Schwalbach is also a career educator who has been teaching for 24 years. He is running a constituent-centric campaign, focusing on monthly town hall meetings with teachers and parents, school safety, and replacing the Marzano Teacher Evaluation. Schwalbach, it seems, does not have a campaign website, but seems to be aligned more with Republicans, showing the bipartisan nature of the endorsement.
Both candidates have a history with teaching in Orange County public schools, something noted by Doromal.
“Each of these two candidates has demonstrated over and over again in their roles as educators and advocates, that they stand with public education, teachers, staff and students,” Doromal said.
“They have been actively involved with advocating for improvements to education on both the local and state levels. They have proven that they will fight to ensure the best education for every student and will fight to improve working conditions and salaries for every dedicated OCPS employee.”
Sean David Hartman is a freelance reporter for the Central Florida Post, with a wide portfolio ranging from entertainment to politics. He is a centrist political operative and blogger and a student at UCF. Hartman is autistic and bipolar, and supports the neurodiversity movement.