School Board Candidate Matthew Susin
Why are you running? I have spent over 15 years passionately fighting for our children in Brevard Public Schools as a teacher, civic leader, and as a school board member. As a father of four with my fifth child due in October, I feel it is my civic duty to fight for my children’s future and the future of other Brevard children who deserve the best education possible. Due to my belief in term limits I am running for my last term. I have delivered on my first four years campaign promises of bringing back trades programs with the initiation of an Aviation program at Eau Gallie, a manufacturing program at Bayside, the expansion of five construction schools, and the implementation of 6 other new programs aligned for Brevard’s workforce needs. By not taking on any new debt and cutting over 27 million in the operating budget to reallocate more resources to the classroom, and paying down over 110 million in debt, I have kept my word to the taxpayers. With the expansion of security and social emotional programs we are leading the state in keeping our kids safe and filling in the gaps where society and in some cases their own families have left them behind. I am running because my passionate service to students for 15 years has been results driven and produced quality initiatives that have made our schools the best in the state of Florida, and I do not plan on slowing down.
What qualifies you as the best candidate? I am a proud husband and father of four children (my 5th due in October!) and have dedicated the last fifteen years to Brevard Public Schools as a teacher, citizen, and School Board Member. My unique multifaceted experience comes from being an award-winning teacher and coach, successful civic servant in the community, and a result driven school board member. As a teacher I taught hands on and high energy lessons in American History and American Government classes. My students still today talk about reenacting the Battle of Belleau Wood, and vividly remember when I heated up the room and reenacted the early industrialization sweat shops. I have been awarded Beginning teacher of the year for the state of Florida, National Teacher of the Year for the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Walmart Teacher of the Year, and Social Studies Teacher of the Year for Brevard Public Schools. As a coach I thrived through motivation and team building for multiple sports and was honored as Cape Coast Coach of the Year for taking a wrestling team to an undefeated season. For many service projects my club was given the National Jefferson Award for Public Service where my students were honored by then Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. After a successful teaching career that spanned almost a decade I moved into the private insurance sector. I was selected to serve on the Half Cent Sales Tax Citizens Oversight Committee to audit and monitor over 50 million dollars a year in capital construction projects. For the first time I was looking from the outside in and decided to make a difference once more by running for school board on a platform of delivering trades programs and reducing debt. As the son of a construction contractor I knew firsthand how to navigate and relate to many of the trades and was successful in introducing many new programs to include welding, manufacturing, construction, and aviation. In 2019 I delivered the largest youth jobs program in the country and was honored Nationally by Vocational Rehab at their national convention in Jacksonville. I believe my most important achievement was to support the first policy in the state that requires an EKG heart screening for all athletes. In its first-year partnership with Who We Play For BPS screened over 8,000 athletes and caught 18 students who had surgery and thrive today rather than possibly be a statistic. I am qualified as the best candidate because of my broad experience, results driven work ethic, and true passion for our children’s future.
What are you top 3 priorities if elected to office?
- After building the largest expansion of trades programs in BPS history, and the largest jobs program in the country, it is now time to put these kids to work by developing a strong workforce pipeline form our schools to filling the employment gaps in Brevard County’s manufacturing and construction industry.
- Expand the number social workers in our schools and expand the overall social emotional program in Brevard Public Schools. To increase the effectiveness of our staff we need to realign current guidance counselors job responsibilities from frivolous duties and tasks to give them more time to address the needs of their students in our current and ever-changing environment.
- Create Trust, Transparency, and Accountability through a series of policy reforms to include printing all spending for all budget items 500.00 and above from our yearly budget. This will allow all citizens to know what their schools are spending their money on and ultimately allowing every citizen to become a fiscal watchdog for their taxes.
What programs would you like to see implemented to maintain or improve school scores?
- Continuing to remove common core standards and other useless mandates that have handcuffed our teachers ability to do what they do best ….. just teach.
- Overhaul our discipline policy to allow the students who come to school to learn and reduce their disruptions in class by those that don’t.
- Continue to improve the recruitment and retention of our teachers and staff to ensure we have the very best teaching our students and that we are able to keep them until they retire.
- Continue to expand programs to bring in businesses, churches, and civic groups to provide mentoring, firsthand life experiences, internships, and fill in the real world gap that exists in some of our classrooms.
Will you support increased security measures in our schools, like arming school personnel (staff, admin, teachers) to keep our kids safe?
Over my last 4 years on the school board Brevard Public Schools has undergone the largest workforce, and infrastructure increase to security in its history. BPS has increased security spending by over three million dollars to include putting an armed security specialist or school resource officer at every school, initiating two K9 police dog units for random school checks, creating a single access point at each school through fencing and locked gates, installed over 1,000 new camera’s, created a phone app for faster law enforcement notification, brought in experts to train staff on the latest security measures/identification systems, and a host of other improvements. I have never voted against a security increase or any initiative brought forward by the superintendent and will continue to do so as I think keeping our students safe is our number one responsibility.