Melissa Byrd, an Apopka resident and former school teacher took the lead in fundraising for December in the Orange County Public School Board – District 7 election.
In her first month, Byrd raised $6,140 in cash contributions and $2,756 in in-kind contributions for a total of $8,896. Byrd raised more than any candidate for an individual district for the Orange County School Board from outside contributors for their first month or during the December reporting period.
The support came from 37 contributors, which ties her with one other candidate for the most contributors during the entire school board cycle.
“As a first-time candidate, it is overwhelming to have so many people step up and support this campaign, especially during the very busy holiday season,” Byrd says. “It’s bi-partisan support and a great combination of businesses and individuals showing the community wants a mom and a former teacher to represent them and fight to improve this area’s educational offerings.’
Byrd, a former teacher and a mother of two students in Orange County Public Schools, filed to run for Orange County School Board District 7 on December 1, vowing to work to improve the schools in Northwest Orange County.
While Byrd filed for the election in 2020, it is anticipated a special election will be called in 2018 as the current school board member for District 7, Christine Moore, has filed to run for Orange County Commissioner.
Byrd remains unopposed in the race.
According to Byrd, if she is elected she’ll focus on improvement in four areas: educational opportunities, classroom environment, teacher advocacy and community schools.
Byrd taught for several years at Forest City Elementary School and performed multiple leadership roles, such as the Title I reading resource teacher working with struggling readers in all grades. After that, Byrd taught at Pace Brantley Hall School, where she specialized in working with children with learning differences in first through fourth grade.
In 2003, after the birth of her first daughter, Byrd left the classroom to raise her children, Abigail, 14, and Madeline, 10, but still works as a substitute teacher for Orange County Public Schools, working at elementary, middle and high schools in Northwest Orange County.
She currently serves as the PTSA vice president and chair of the School Advisory Council at Piedmont Lakes Middle School. At Clay Springs Elementary School, she volunteers at multiple PTA events and was a regular classroom volunteer.