Debbi Hixon, a lifelong Broward County resident, lost her husband Chris, a fellow educator, on Valentine's Day in 2018. With the coronavirus pandemic dominating the news now, Hixon, a Hollywood, Florida resident, sat down to do an email interview to answer questions about her first run for office.
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The former science teacher is seeking a countywide seat on the Broward County School Board. The seat is being vacated by a board member who is running for the state legislature. Broward's public-school system is the sixth largest in the nation, with about 270,000 students from 204 different countries. .browardschools.com/
This is your first time running for public office. Learning how to do it must be hard enough. Doing it during the coronavirus pandemic must make the task even more challenging. Please talk about what you are experiencing and learning as you seek one of nine school board seats.
This is my first time running for any office and it has been a huge learning curve for me. Before the pandemic affected our way of living, I was very busy getting out and meeting people throughout Broward County. I enjoyed meeting them and hearing their concerns about our school district and also sharing with them my experiences and vision for the district.
The past few weeks have been very challenging for the campaign, both financially and in meeting with people. I have been very active to keep people engaged with my campaign by meeting with people virtually through Facetime and Zoom and also personal phone calls and texts. I am blessed to have a wonderful team of volunteers that continue to help me spread my message through emails and social-media posts. I have had to get more innovative in my outreach on social media, making videos and engaging posts to make myself stand out.
I am finding that people are happy to speak with me right now and that they have more time to listen to my vision and experiences, which gives me a great advantage to not only give them my elevator pitch, but to engage in conversations and to answer questions. I am enjoying learning all the new tools to reach out and share my message with everyone across Broward County, but to be honest, nothing compares to having personal face-to-face meetings with people and connecting with them on a more personal level. I look forward to getting back to meetings and events once this pandemic subsides and it is safe for us to socialize again.
You taught at South Broward High School, in Hollywood, for more than 30 years. That is also the high school from which you graduated in 1984. What have you learned as a public-school student and teacher that will help you if you get elected to the school board?
I believe that having been in the Broward school system for over 40 years, as a student, parent and teacher, gives me a unique perspective that will allow me to be an informed, engaged and committed school board member. I have been to many schools around the district, as a magnet coordinator recruiting students, as a parent attending events such as award ceremonies and athletic events for my children, and as a student athlete participating in events myself. I am comfortable reaching out to parents and district staff to collaborate with them on ways to make positive changes in our district. I have relationships with a variety of people who have different positions throughout the district and I am acutely aware of their concerns and issues with the schools across the entire district.
The people of the district; students, parents and staff, will all be comfortable coming to me to seek leadership on issues that need to be addressed in their schools because I have been a member of this community my entire life and I will be able to empathize with them about their concerns. Our district is very diversified and we have to look at each school independently and realize that each school has unique needs and concerns and we should address them with a plan that works for the school and its community; a one-size-fits-all approach is not the best for our district.
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