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School Board Candidate District 4: Penny Madden

This is part of a series on all the school board candidates. To see all the candidates and learn more about them, click here. Penny Madden is running against five other candidates: Robert Mayersohn, Robert W. Sutton,Jaemi Levine, David “Dave” Thomas and Donald Samuels for retiring school board member Stephanie Kraft. Penny wrote her own bio.

My name is Penny Madden and my son is a Senior at Coral Springs High School and he has gone to Broward County Public schools his whole academic career.  I have been a resident of the City of Coral Springs for over 20 years.  For thirteen of those years, I have spent time as a volunteer at several Broward County public schools.  I started at Tradewinds Elementary school volunteering to work with the ESOL students.  When my son started school at Coral Park Elementary School I signed up as Room Mother for his class.  It was very enjoyable and rewarding working with the students and the teacher.

As I became familiar with the process I became PTA President for a number of years. While at Coral Park I was also SAC Chairperson for two years helping review the School Improvement Plan.  As a parent leader from Coral Park Elementary school I was invited to attend the Coral Springs Parent Education Committee meetings.

As my son progressed in school I followed him to Forest Glen Middle school.  While there I was PTA Vice-President for a year, then PTA President for two years.  I also served as SAC Chairperson for two years at Forest Glen and had the opportunity to speak in front of the School Board to present changes for our school that we were requesting.  During those years we were able to help the school maintain their A rating by helping to implement programs based on our School Improvement Plan.

At the end of my time spent at Forest Glen I was honored to be nominated and win the Crystal Apple Award for the North Area.

Again my son progressed on to Coral Springs High School and much to his chagrin I followed him there to offer my volunteer services.  At Coral Springs High School I was elected to be SAF Chairperson for two years and am now getting ready to serve my third year.  I was also SAC Co-Chairperson for one year and have been serving on SAC for the last three years.  Coral Springs High School has a great swim team and I have been the president for the CSHS Swim Team Booster Club for three years.  We were able to raise money each year to supply t-shirts and sweat shirts for the team.  This year CSHS was a Title I school and I was one of the parent representatives for the school.

I have represented CSHS at the I-Zone meetings and was the Coral Springs I-Zone representative for five years on the Facility Task Force.

With the extensive volunteering background at several schools I learned a great deal about what makes a school a good school.  With the knowledge I have gained and my love of giving back to the community I have decided to run for the School Board in District 4. In this way I may continue to serve the schools, teachers, parents and students with the knowledge, hard work and passion that I have gained over the years.

Campaign finance reports:

1)      In under 200 words, why are you running for the School Board?

With a very extensive volunteering background at several schools I learned a great deal about what makes a school a good school.  With the knowledge I have gained and my love of giving back to the community I have decided to run for the School Board in District 4. In this way I may continue to serve the schools, teachers, parents and students with the knowledge, hard work and passion that I have gained over the years.

2)      If you could, what would you change and why? How would you fund it?

I would like to maintain the Arts and Music programs that we have at the schools now.  To fund these programs I would go through the budget line by line to see where we could cut or add.

3)      What are your past, and current affiliations, with any school board committee, council, group, PAC, association or any other possible roles within the school system? Who appointed you to those positions? How long?

I have been PTA President at the several schools for a total of 5 years, I have been School Advisory Committee Chairperson or Co-Chairperson in three schools for a total of 6 years, School Advisory Forum Chairperson at Coral Spring High School for 3 years, I was asked to sit on the Facility Task Force for 4 years by the Coral Springs I-Zone, and I have attended the Coral Springs Parent Education Committee as a parent leader for 9 years.

4)      How long have you lived in Broward County? Did you go to school here? Where, if any, do your children go to school?

I have lived in Broward County for 21 years, 20 if them in Coral Springs.  I did not go to school in Broward.  Our son has always gone to a Broward Public School and he is now a senior at Coral Springs High School.

5)      The budget crisis in Broward schools has been a big issue in the community. Have you read the upcoming budget? Past budgets? What is your financial background to review these documents accurately?

I have worked on the School Advisory Council at several schools and have had the opportunity to read the individual schools budget.  This along with working in business has giving me the training to read and understand budgets.

6)      How would you address the cuts being made in the Broward district? What would you keep, and what would you cut? Any pet projects? Why?

I would go over the budget to see where we can trim anything that does not pertain to the classroom.  I want to keep the Arts and Music in the curriculum.  I do not want to cut anything having to do with the education of our students.  I would like to improve the rapport between Teachers and Principals.

7)      How would you work to alleviate problems with the Broward Teacher’s Union which has been extremely vocal in its displeasure with the current school board? How would you work to get past the mediation of issues?

I would like to sit down and open up constructive communication between the Broward Teachers Union and the School Board.  We need to get rid of the animosity and work as a team for the betterment of educating our students.

8)      The Broward Sheriff’s Office is also looking at budget cuts, which could get rid of some school resource officers. How would you continue to look at addressing parent’s concerns about safety in our public schools?

To help the concerns of the parents I would talk to the cities and see if they could help with the school resource officers.  Or try to have parents volunteer to help at the school just to an adult presence on campus.

9)      What priority do you put on what is considered extras (anything non-FCAT related generally)? How would you look to fund it?

The FCAT is not the only thing to learn as far as education is concerned so I would put a high priority on the “extras”.  As far as funding again we need to look hard at our budget.

10)  How would you reach out into the community to build creative ideas to educate students while working with local businesses?

I am so fortunate to live in the City of Coral Springs, which already works to bring the schools and business community together.  Our Mayor Scott Brook’s has an internship program for students in our city with him as Mayor.  I would like to expand that to other businesses in the community and other cities.

11)  What is your perspective on the various boundary issues, such as Cooper City, and other concerns about overbuilding while schools on the east have more space? What is your stance on boundary concerns and their impacts on communities?

Having been to several boundary meetings I know that boundary changes are very difficult and can get very emotional.  We need to look for solutions to use all of the school space to its best advantage.  No one likes boundary changes.

12)  Do you support the constitutional amendment in the November ballot that would relax class-size rules, allowing schools to base class size as a school wide average instead of strict per classroom numbers?

I would rather see the state fund the original class size amendment.  I think the amendment on the November ballot will be a way for the state to take even more money away from education.

13)  What companies have made donations to your campaign?


14)  What are your qualifications to help meet the educational needs of the students of Broward County in the 21st Century?

Having a son in the current school systems makes me aware of the needs of the public schools.  My job is also a technology based job and helps keep me up to date with what is going on in the business world so I will know what we need to do to better prepare our students for life after school, whether it is college, the military or the work place.

15)  Obviously residents in Broward have grave concerns about ethics violations. How can you assure us of your morals, ethics and genuine interest in the school board? How will you continue to address this issue with constituents?

Once trust is lost it is so difficult to get back.  One of my jobs would be to earn that trust back by doing the right thing and keeping open communications with the parents.

16)  What do you think should be the school system’s focus over the next four years?

I would like to see more state money for education and I would like to improve our graduation rate by keeping student engaged in school so they feel they want to be there to learn what they can to help them in life.

Related posts:

  1. School Board Candidate District 4: Robert Mayersohn
  2. School Board Candidate District 7: Nora Rupert
  3. School board candidate District 6: Laurie Rich Levinson
  4. School Board Candidate District 6: Melvin “Doc” Propis
  5. School board candidate District 1: Rebecca Horner

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Posted by Andrea Freygang on Aug 12 2010. Filed under Broward County, Elections, Fort Lauderdale, Local news, Schools. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

2 Comments for “School Board Candidate District 4: Penny Madden”

  1. 22 School Board candidates running in Broward's August 24 primary | Broward News and Entertainment Today

    [...] Click for bio and answers to questions. [...]

  2. Lisa

    Penny has been a neighbor and aquaintance of mine for several years. I have seen first hand her dedication and hard work in our local schools. She has given countless hours of her personal time to better our children’s education. Thanks for all you have done, Penny. Youv’e got my vote!


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