New Broward school board faces state’s ‘immediate action’ order over grand jury’s red flags

The Broward County School Board's new chair said there is a crisis that needs to be addressed.

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – After Gov. Ron DeSantis’s appointees to the Broward County School Board, were sworn into office Tuesday, they voted for one of their own to serve as the chair of the board and met again on Wednesday.

DeSantis’s Republican appointees — Ryan Reiter, Manual Serrano, Kevin Tynan, Torey Alston, and Daniel P. Foganholi — were the majority. The only school board members elected by Broward County voters were Lori Alhadeff, Debra Hixon, Sarah Leonardi and Nora Rupert.

The Florida Department of Education recently asked the school board for “immediate action” after a state grand jury reported warnings about the district’s SMART program and underreported criminal activity at schools. Alston said reform is coming.

“We want within 30 days to have recommendations back on the grand jury, focused on people, programs, processes, the culture of the school district and stakeholders,” said Alston, 38, who graduated from Blanche Ely High School in Pompano Beach, and is the board’s new chair.

Alhadeff, 47, is the board’s new vice chair. The former health and physical education teacher was elected to represent BCPS District 4 just months after the Parkland school shooter killed her 14-year-old daughter, Alyssa Alhadeff, on Feb. 14, 2018, at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Alston said everyone agrees there is a need for change.

“There is a crisis in education. There is a proficiency gap that we just learned about with our students. That’s focus number one for us: Student achievement,” Alston said.

A state grand jury that formed in response to the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas recently accused Patricia Good, Donna Pilger Korn, Ann Murray, and Laurie Rich Levinson, of “incompetence” and “neglect of duty.” DeSantis suspended all of them on Aug. 26.

“We are collegial. We are working together. We are respectful. We are having open discussions and dialogue, and we are reaching a consensus. That’s good governance,” Alston said after the second meeting.

DeSantis appointed Reiter, 36, a retired U.S. Marine who graduated from Marjory Stoneman Douglas, to represent BCPS District 1, formerly of Murray. Reiter was with Kaufman Lynn Construction.

The term of Alston’s new appointment to represent BCPS District 2, which was Good’s seat, ends Nov. 19, 2024. The former Broward school board student member ran for a board seat in 2012 and lost. He served as a Broward commissioner also by appointment.

DeSantis appointed Foganholi, 34, to represent BCPS District 5 in May, formerly of Florida Sen. Rosalind Osgood.

DeSantis appointed Serrano, 52, a former professional baseball player who has experience in finance, to represent BCPS District 6, formerly of Rich Levinson. Serrano was with Clubhouse Private Wealth.

DeSantis appointed Tynan, 63, to represent the countywide at-large in seat 8, formerly of Pilger Korn, who is on the ballot in the Nov. 8 general election. Tynan was appointed in 2009 after Beverly Gallagher’s suspension over federal bribery charges in a case involving undercover FBI agents. He ran for a Broward school board seat against Good and lost in 2010.

Foganholi, Tynan, Serrano, and Reiter will only serve until Nov. 22 when the four members elected during the Nov. 8 general election take office. Like Alston, the terms for Leonardi and Hixon, whose 49-year-old husband Chris Hixon died during the massacre at MSD, end on Nov. 19, 2024. Alhadeff and Rupert were reelected for four-year terms on the Aug. 23 primary election.


  • Pilger Korn, the incumbent DeSantis suspended, will be running against Allen Zeman for Tynan’s countywide at-large seat 8.
  • Steven Julian and Brenda Fam are running for Serrano’s District 6 seat.
  • Ruth Carter-Lynch and Jeff Holness are running for Foganholi’s District 5 seat.
  • Rodney Velez and Marie Martin are running for Reiter’s District 1 seat.

Watch Osgood’s interview during This Week In South Florida

The grand jury report that blasted the Broward County School Board recommended five board members be suspended.

About the Authors:

In January 2017, Hatzel Vela became the first local television journalist in the country to move to Cuba and cover the island from the inside. During his time living and working in Cuba, he covered some of the most significant stories in a post-Fidel Castro Cuba. 

The Emmy Award-winning journalist joined the Local 10 News team in 2013. She wrote for the Miami Herald for more than 9 years and won a Green Eyeshade Award.