Miami-Dade school board swears in two more candidates backed by DeSantis

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – The Miami-Dade County School Board announced the appointment of two new board members, Roberto Alonso and Monica Colucci, on Tuesday.

Alonso, 43, will succeed Chairwoman Perla Tabares Hantman, who announced in April that she would resign.

Alonso, whom Gov. Ron DeSantis appointed to the Miami Dade College board in 2020, discussed what he will bring to the table as a newly elected board member.

“I will work to oppose any extreme agendas and make sure the focus is on educating our students,” he said.

Colucci, 49, a career educator, will replace longtime board member Marta Perez, whom she defeated in August.

After swearing in, Colucci said she will work on putting differences aside with other board members and keeping the focus on the children.

“We may disagree at times and we may have different points of view, but we always have the same goal at heart and that is to do what’s best for children,” said Colucci.

The swearing-in of Alonso and Colucci comes after DeSantis announced the appointment of Daniel Espino to the school board on Monday night.

Espino will replace Christi Fraga, who is heading into a runoff election next month in the race to be the next mayor of the City of Doral.

Espino is a former colleague of Fraga. He was a Doral city attorney when she was a councilwoman.

Fraga submitted a resignation letter in June which went into effect on November 22 to run for Doral mayor.

Read the resignation letter in our 5:00 p.m. report:

Had Fraga resigned, voters could have had the say in picking the new board member.

The three newly appointed board members currently make up one-third of the Miami-Dade School Board.

Ahead of the primaries, DeSantis focused on putting his imprint after endorsing more than 30 school board candidates across the state, including Alonso and Colucci.

At the time, the move was seen as an attempt by the governor to inject partisan politics in what had historically been a non-partisan entity, since school districts are partially funded by taxpayers. But Tuesday’s event highlighted the political and overall similarities between DeSantis and the incoming board members.

School Board Member Mari Tere Rojas, an educator for more than 45 years, was unanimously chosen today by the new board to chair the Miami-Dade County School Board in the coming year.

A 5-4 split for Lubby Navarro may signal the split to come as the new board shepherds new state-driven changes.

Speeches by the newly appointed board members made references to Florida’s recent shift to a more conservative education agenda and the way forward, with parents driving decisions and a return to fundamentals.

“Listening more than talking,” said Colucci. “When we listen to others and their points of view and we do so with civility and respect.”

“Different individuals in our school system who are trying to bring in politics and social issues that are not the kind of things students want to learn and not the kind of thing parents want their children to learn,” said Alonzo.

When asked by Local 10 News’ Glenna Milberg “when you say indoctrination, is that what you mean?”

“That is correct,” said Alonzo.

About the Authors:

Glenna Milberg joined Local 10 News in September 1999 to report on South Florida's top stories and community issues. She also serves as co-host on Local 10's public affairs broadcast, "This Week in South Florida."

Ryan Mackey is our newest digital journalist at WPLG. He is New York born and South Florida raised.