Seminole County School Board Chairwoman Amy Lockhart: 'We're going to do all we can for Puerto Ricans who need to relocate here'

Photos for Headline Surfer / Seminole County School Board Chairwoman Amy Lockhart, who is running for the district 4 County Commission seat in 2018, interacts with students in the public schools here  She also serves on he Seminole State College Board. For the past several weeks, she has been focused on Hurricane Irma, which struck Central Florida on Sept. 10. She's now focused on relief efforts and the potential for Hurricane Maria victims in Puerto Rico looking to relocate here with relatives due to the massive destruction on the island. Below, Lockhart is shown at a Seminole County Emergency Operations Center press conference in the wake of Hurricane Irma. Behind her is Seminole County Sheriff Dennis Lemma.
YouTube download / Seminole County Schools video / Discussion of relief aid for Puerto Rico at 1:02:05 of the video.​
 

Seminole County School Board Chair Amy Lockhart is shown at a pres conference after Hurricane Irma / Headline Surfer

By HENRY FREDERICK
Headline Surfer

SANFORD, Fla. -- School Board Chairwoman Amy Lockhart is all too aware of the suffering of Puerto Ricans with the utter devastation inflicted on the island a week ago by Maria, which made landfall on the commonwealthas a category 4 hurricane.

With the cataclysmic destruction causing so much misery and suffering as well as the reality that it could take months, if not years, to restore Puerto Rico's infrastructure, Lockhart and her school board colleagues recognize their will likely be a mass exodus of Puerto Ricans to Florida, including the Seminole County cities of Sanford, Lake Mary, Oviedo, Altamonte Spring, Casselberry, Longwood and Winter Springs, where many will turn to relatives living in these communities, the district is making preparations now to deal with the influx. 

"We're going to do all we can for Puerto Ricans who need to relocate here," Lockhart told Headline Surfer earlier today in a phone interview, based on sentiment shared with her colleagues and Superintendent Walt Griffin. "Seminole County Schools are prepared for this." 

More immediately, Seminole County School Board members Karen Almond, Jeffrey Bauer, Abby Sanchez and Vice Chair Tina Calderon were in agreement at Tuesday night's meeting to encourage a relief drive for Puerto Rico on Friday and Saturday,Lockhart said. The drop off will be at 239 Rinehart Road. Non-perishable food items, toiletries, diapers, soaps, personal hygiene products, and sleep-ware, flashlights with batteries, and other such  are among the suggested items.

Seminole County School District holding relief drive for Puerto Rico / Headline SurferWith the cataclysmic destruction causing so much mysery and suffering as well as the reality that it could ake months, if not years, to restore Puerto Rico's infrastructure, Lockhart and her school board colleagues recognize their will likely be a mass exodus of Puerto Ricans to Florida, including the Seminole County cities of Sanford, Lake Mary, Oviedo, Altamonte Spring, Casselberry, Longwood and Winter Springs, where many will turn to relatives living in these communitis, the district is making preparations now to deal with the influx. 

"We're going to do all we can for Puerto Ricans who need to relocate here," Lockhart told Headline Surfer earlier today in a phone interview, based on sentiment shared with her colleagues and Superintendent Walt Griffin. "Seminole County Schools are prepared for this." 

More immediately, Seminole County School Board members Karen Almond, Jeffrey Bauer, Abby Sanchez and Vice Chair Tina Calderon were in agreement at Tuesday night's meeting to encourage a relief drive for Puerto Rico on Friday and Saturday,Lockhart said.

The drop off location is 239 Rinehart Road. Non-perishable food items, toiletries, diapers, soaps, personal hygiene products, and sleepware, flashlights with batteries, and other such  necessities are among the suggested items.

And while Lockhart is running for a seat on the Seminole County Board of Commissioners in the 2018 elections, she said her immediate focus is on her school board responsibilities. Especially as they relate to the crisis in Puerto Rico and the impact on the community here. 

Having gone through Hurricane Irma earlier this month, Lockhart was part of the Seminole County Emergency Management team of community leaders and first responders, who dealt with Hurricane Irma, which struck Central Florida earlier this month.

Lockhart said she cannot imagine going through two hurricanes like Puerto Rico has this month with Irma and then Maria. 

"We have families here worried about their loved ones in Puerto Rico," Lockhart said. "They went thbrough it with Irma. Maria was much stronger and many Puerto Rican families here have not been able to make contact with their relatives. They know they are in a devastated place. We are focused on preparing the schools for the arrival of Puerto Ricans who will turn to families here."

Profile Snapshot: Amy LockhartAmy Lockhart

Home: Sanford
Family: Married with two children
Career: Marketing & Sales
Appointed Office: Selected  by Governor Rick Scott to the Seminole State College District Board of Trustees in March of 2014
Elected Office: District 4 representative on the Seminole County Scool Board first elected in 2012. Lockhart sought and secured a second 4-year term in 2016, when she was unopposed in her bid for re-election. The election for her seat was subsequently canceled and she was automatically re-elected and named chair by her colleagues
Elected Office Seeking: Board of County Commissioners in 2018.
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Short Bio

Henry Frederick is publisher of Headline Surfer®, the award-winning 24/7 internet news outlet covering the Daytona Beach-Sanford-Orlando metro area via HeadlineSurfer.com. A longtime cops & courts reporter focused on breaking news & investigative reporting, Frederick is among the Sunshine State's most experienced reporters, having amassed dozens of journalism-industry awards. Frederick is enrolled online at Full Sail University in Winter Garden, FL, where he's a third of the way though the Master of Arts program in New Media Journalism. His graduation will be in March 2018.