WE NEED KAREN PEREZ
As your Hillsborough County School Board member, Karen Perez is a calm and rational voice on the issues confronting our district. She holds the administration accountable for its mistakes and works diligently to ensure our limited resources make it to the classroom. She has fought uphill battles to make sure the first cuts due to budget shortfalls were at the administration level and not among our teachers and support staff. Karen’s fight against waste, such as overpriced software and bloating of the top executive payroll, is well known and documented. We need an advocate for our children on the Board. We need to re-elect Karen Perez.
- Education Advocate – Elected in 2018 as Hillsborough County School Board Member at-large
- Small Business Owner – President and CEO of Embracing Changes for Wellness, LLC
- Caring for our Children – Care Team Coordinator, Hillsborough Kids, Inc.
- Aiding Our Children in Trouble – Twin Oaks, Juvenile Competency Trainer
- Helping our Vets – Primary Social Worker for Veterans’ Administration Hospital
- Healing our Families – Family Reunification Specialist at Northside Mental Health Center, Clinical Therapist, Social Worker at Memorial Hospital
- Protecting Our Community – Department of Juvenile Justice, Probation Officer
- Championing Mental Health – Board Member of National Association of Social Workers Children, Adolescents and Young Adults Specialty Practice Section
ABOUT KAREN PEREZ
School Board member Karen Perez’ ferocity and drive for mental health advocacy and how it affects families began in her formative years. Perez’ story starts in Brooklyn, New York with two brothers and a sister. Her mother and father split while she was young and she, her siblings and mother made their way to Tampa in 1979.
When Perez’ mother was a teen, she was diagnosed with schizophrenia. Unfortunately, due to the dynamics of a Latino household, the issue was never addressed and it wasn’t until a college psychology class that Perez learned about and understood her mother’s struggles. Perez connects growing up in a home with a single parent affected by mental illness to her passion of advocating for students. In her experience, no school officials or teachers ever asked her or her siblings how they were, despite their obvious struggles.
The family was lucky to have an incredible woman, Sella Torres, Perez’ aunt. Torres was the perfect role model who instilled a set of ethics and morals in Perez through her constant offerings of love, support and service. As young as seven years old, per her aunt’s invitation, Perez was eating side by side with the homeless and sharing thanksgiving meals with anyone who needed a place to sit. Torres taught Perez the importance of being active and giving to the community.
Perez’ entire family is invested in the community, even her pets. Her two dogs, Riley and Baxter, are certified therapy dogs and they frequent the hospitals Perez works as well as her private practice. Additionally, the Perez family donates $3,000 in scholarships a year to students going into the mental health field.
She won her first election for the county-wide position of Hillsborough County Public Schools Board of Education, District 6 on November 6, 2018, with 234,122 votes. Her vast experience and mental health expertise are the fires that ignite her passion for mental health advocacy in Hillsborough County schools. With the additional burden of COVID-19 and its effect on families and children throughout the county, she has been a fighting force in securing funding for the availability of mental health services, community resources, counseling and psychologists.
Karen Perez is a voice for our families who depend on our public school system, especially those affected by mental health issues. She also brings a perspective needed in this community as a Latina. Her experience as a single parent, survivor of domestic abuse and her difficult childhood make her a strong School Board member and help her better understand those who face similar challenges.