Matthew Fitzpatrick, an Apopka resident and former candidate for the District 7 Orange County Public School Board, announced on Facebook that he was running for OCPS Board Chairman.
Fitzpatrick joins Oak Hill Elementary School teacher Robert Allen Prater, and District 6 OCPS School Board member Nancy Robbinson in the race.
Bill Sublette is the current OCPS Board Chairman but announced he was vacating the seat in September of 2017 in order to run for Orange County Mayor. However, in January Sublette quit the mayor’s race.
Fitzpatrick has been in education for 23 years—12 as a teacher, and 11 as an administrator. He worked at Apopka Memorial Middle School, Ocoee, Boone, and Apopka High Schools, Orange Technical College-Westside Campus in Winter Garden, and for two years as the District Athletic Director.
He ran for the OCPS District 7 School Board seat in 2016, placing second in a field of four, but eventually losing to incumbent Christine Moore in the general election runoff.
He made this statement on his Facebook page yesterday:
“I stopped by the Orange County Elections Headquarters after work today…I decided to jump back in the ring and give it one more try. To borrow a line from Jimmy Chitwood from the movie Hoosiers, “I don’t know if it will make any change, but I figure it’s time for me to start playing ball.” If you aren’t familiar with that movie, what it means is…It’s time for me to start officially campaigning again. This time a bit smarter, a bit more focused, and a lot more organized. I learned a great deal during my first rodeo…and now it’s time to get back on the horse.
I’m officially running for Orange County School Board Chair. Education is my passion…it seems like I’m always campaigning, promoting, and highlighting the power of education to change lives. Running for a leadership position in education seems natural, and I believe it is more of a calling than anything else. I believe I have both the heart and the experience to help lead our school district to even greater levels of success.
While there are many positives in our school district that we can highlight and showcase, I believe we also have much room for improvement when it comes to the learning and working conditions of our students, teachers, and staff members. I want our school district to become the most desirable place to both work and learn in our state…even in our country. Together, we can do this…it’s the power of We over Me. Please share with all of your friends. Now is our time!”
Prater is a resource teacher/leadership member at Oak Hill Elementary. He serves as the dean of students, and as I-Ready, Title I, Title III and Title IV coordinator, and has participated in the five-star program.
Prater filed in December to run for the board’s chair and has raised $775 for his campaign.
Robbinson has been an OCPS Board member representing District 6 since 2008. She serves on the Communications and Legislative Committees and as vice chairman from 2015-2016. She became a Florida School Board Association Certified Board Member in June 2010 and served on the FSBA Board of Directors from 2011-2015. She also represented the Central Florida School Boards Coalition on the Congress of Regional Leaders through myregion.org from 2010 – 2015.
Robbinson filed in November to run for the board’s chair. Since entering the race she has raised $71,000 for her campaign.