One Horizon West resident is counting on his previous experience in the classroom, the military and federal agencies to bring about change in local schools.
Resident Prince Brown is running for Orange County School Board District 4 and hopes to garner the trust and votes of the community in next year’s election.
After serving his country in the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Public Health Service, Brown now hopes to serve the students of Orange County. He said he decided to run because he strongly believes he’s the most qualified candidate for the seat — and he wants to be a part of the School Board’s important job in the community.
“When I look at the School Board, I feel like the School Board’s activities should be based on making sure that every student is successful,” Brown said. “Beyond looking at the graduation rates and college acceptance, the School Board should be focused on the success of every student, because as we look at it, these are going to be our future bankers, our future police officers, our future military members, our neighbors.”
This wouldn’t be Brown’s first role related to education. After working as a federal investigator and public health analyst, Brown worked as an administrator for Orange County Public Schools and also taught as a college professor in the department of biological sciences at Seminole State College.
Brown said one aspect that sets him apart as a candidate is the perspective he has on his district — his wife is an OCPS teacher and his three children all are enrolled at OCPS schools.
“I look at my kids — how are they being guaranteed success?” Brown said.
“This is not about the elected official — it’s not about me being able to say ‘Oh, that’s the honorable Prince Brown,’” he said. “It’s not about me being elected — it’s about passing the torch to the next generation, to make sure that my son lives in a community where his neighbors understand what it is to be an American, what it is to be a citizen and what it is to be successful and to truly understand the American dream.”
The Summerlake Groves resident looks to bring a sense of strong leadership to the School Board. One of Brown’s main priorities if elected is fiscal responsibility, preventing wasteful spending so more funding can go back into the classrooms, he said.
According to his campaign website, Brown plans to allocate funding for updated facilities that take into account the rapid growth in Central Florida. He also intends to keep his attention, funding streams and training equally distributed in all district schools.
“I want to bring accountability to the School Board, transparency to the School Board,” Brown said.
The candidate wants to focus on rewarding, attracting and retaining high-performance teachers, as well. That means no more meetings that interrupt planning periods and lunch breaks; providing media and classroom resources to better aid instructional efforts; and providing a fair platform for pay negotiations and fringe benefits.
“When you pay your teachers properly, you’re making sure that you have the best and brightest kids,” Brown said. “It’s not about giving a one-time bonus and saying, ‘Oh, we’re going to make the teachers happy.’ I’ve been in a classroom. I know that it takes a concerted effort between the parents and the teachers to make sure that those students are prepared for what we call the real world.”
Safety at public schools also is a major priority, said Brown, who plans to channel his experience as a combat veteran and his certification by the federal government as an emergency response team coordinator and disaster preparedness advisor.
He intends to work with all law-enforcement agencies to come up with proactive plans related to violence in schools, as well as to seek funding for behavioral health and preventing substance abuse.
“Why aren’t we investing more into the safety and the security of our kids in the schools, but then also the security of their success?” he said.
Experiences in leadership, Brown said, is part of what makes him the best candidate for Orange County School Board District 4.
“We need to get back to true leadership — not the person who can raise the most money, not the person who wakes up in the morning and says, ‘Oh, I think I’ll run for office. That’s a good thing to do because I have nothing else to do,’” Brown said. “Leadership is, ‘Do your job or get out of the way.’ Do what the people put you there to do.”