FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – After Debbi Hixon’s election win Tuesday night, there are now two family members of people who lost their lives at Marjory Stoneman Douglas who will be serving on the Broward School Board.
But both of them want to make it clear: That association with MSD is not all they’re bringing to the board.
“I love this school system and it was an opportunity, an empty seat, to step up and make some of the changes I’ve been asking for for the last almost three years,” said Hixon, who defeated Jeff Holness in a landslide Tuesday.
(577 / 577)
Hixon, whose husband was killed in the Parkland mass shooting on Feb. 14, 2018, joins current board member Lori Alhadeff, who lost her 14-year-old daughter in the tragedy.
But both women have extensive teaching experience, and they say their association with that day isn’t the only thing they’re bringing to the table.
“Being the wife of Chris, who was murdered at Marjory Stoneman Douglas, it gave me a stronger voice,” Hixon said. “Now people are listening, so it’s an opportunity to take that voice and make a difference for our schools and really for our community.”
Alhadeff won a seat on the school board back in August 2018.
"The tragedy that happened at MSD and the loss of my daughter Alyssa definitely was the catalyst to make me want to be on the school board to make sure change happens and make school safety a top priority,” she said.
Debbi Hixon’s husband Chris had been the athletic director and a coach at Stoneman Douglas.
Since the tragedy, many of the families who were directly affected haven’t been thrilled with Superintendent Robert Runcie — and with Hixon’s election, questions about Runcie’s job security are certainly getting louder.
But Hixon says that’s not her goal.
“Will I hold him accountable? I will absolutely hold him accountable,” she said. "Will I ask questions? Yes, that’s why people voted for me. But I didn’t run and my expectation is not to jump in and try to fire Mr. Runcie.”
The school district is still under investigation, and Alhadeff said the findings of that investigation will be very telling for not only Runcie’s job security but for the district as a whole.
She also said Hixon will be a valuable addition to the board.
“Having a fresh new idea and opinions up on the dais is going to make us stronger as a school district,” Alhadeff said, “and I know Debbi will bring her expertise as a school teacher and make the dais a lot stronger.”