21 Mar Member Spotlight: Sue Woltanski
For the last four years, I have been honored to serve on the Monroe County School Board, representing District 5 in the fabulous Florida Keys. I am a retired pediatrician, mother of two public school children and one of South Florida’s leading advocates for public education.
I grew up in Fremont, California, earned a BA in Pharmacology at University of California, Santa Barbara, an MA in Exercise Physiology at University of California, Davis, and an MD at the University of Michigan. I practiced General Pediatrics in suburban Detroit, got married and started a family.
I retired from Pediatrics in 2008, when we moved our family to the Keys as our oldest began kindergarten so our kids could grow up next door to their grandmother. I almost immediately began volunteering in the classroom and the community. Soon I was serving on school and district wide committees. My advocacy really took off when I became aware of the excessive amount of standardized testing my daughter was being subjected to in 4th grade. I formed a local grass roots organization and spoke before the school board, calling for a review of what I thought was duplicative testing. A few days later, I met with my local school board member and he encouraged me to continue my advocacy and to run for school board when he retired. Eventually, that is exactly what I did.
My advocacy took me to Tallahassee, where I worked with coalitions of public education advocates defending public schools. I began writing a blog, Accountabaloney, which follows Florida education policy and questions its current test-based accountability system. I was elected to the Monroe County School Board in 2018. I am running for re-election this summer.
I believe our public schools are our community’s greatest public asset and they are most successful when we all work together to improve them. As a public education advocate, I felt it was essential to be involved in the local community. BPW was one of the first community groups I joined (in 2015) and it has been a life changer. Our BPW/Upper Keys is full of interesting, supportive women and their friendships have been essential to my personal growth and success.
When I’m not focused on education, I enjoy traveling the world with my husband and two children. Over Christmas 2021, we took our kids to Antarctica for the adventure of a lifetime and can now claim to have visited all seven continents together.