Woltanski to run for Keys School Board as Martin decides against running again

A retired pediatrician who has been an outspoken critic of the role standardized testing plays in public schools has filed the paperwork to run for the Monroe County School Board’s District 5 seat.

Sue Woltanski, 56, of Tavernier, is running for the seat that Ron Martin plans to leave when his term is up this year. Martin has endorsed her.

“One hundred and twenty percent,” said Martin, a former high school principal first elected to the five-person board in 2010.

“I’m running out of breath,” Martin said of his planned retirement. “I’m almost 71. I’ve got five grandchildren and a couple of health issues going on. I’ve worked for Monroe County schools cine 1973 in one capacity or another. I’ve done my share and I’m ready to retire.”

Woltanski, a Fremont, California native and the daughter of a local public school administrator, finished medical school at the University of Michigan. She began her education advocacy career eight years ago on the Plantation Key School Advisory Council and began investigating school funding and became increasingly aware of the high stakes attached to standardized testing, she says.

Woltanski, in her first run for public office, quickly corrects anyone who says she is against all standardized testing.

“I’m against the misuse of standardized test scores and the way they’ve taken over the classroom,” she said. “I feel like kids are being trained to be good test takers and not always educated.”

Woltanski is married to Tom Woltanski, a physician who works in Homestead, and they have two children in the public schools, one in sixth grade and a ninth-grader.

She also has a master’s degree in exercise physiology from the University of California at Davis.

The family bought a home in Tavernier in 1999 and permanently moved to the Keys in 2008.

The term is four years and school board races are nonpartisan and members run countywide.

Gwen Filosa: @KeyWestGwen