Vice-Mayor Patricia Fairclough, pictured here at a recent Homestead parade, has served on Homestead City Council since being elected in 2011.

Vice-Mayor Patricia Fairclough, pictured here at a recent Homestead parade, has served on Homestead City Council since being elected in 2011.

Councilmember Patricia Fairclough announced her re-election bid for a final term on Homestead City Council on July 4th.

She was first elected to Council in 2011.

She was re-elected to Council in 2015 and was also voted Vice Mayor of Homestead for a two year term.

Asked why she does this work, Fairclough responded, “It’s not about any titles but it is about a mission. I do what I can while I can and there’s more work to do here.”

Her background is firmly in education.

Born and raised in Homestead, she graduated from Homestead High School before getting a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education with honors from Florida A&M University in Tallahassee.

Fairclough’s first teaching position was at Air Base Elementary Magnet School of International Education. In 2007, she received her master’s degree in reading education from Nova Southeastern University. She was named Miami-Dade County’s Teacher of the Year in 2009 and was also a semi-finalist for Florida Teacher of the Year.

“My chief priority is to work closely with our schools that are nderperforming,” she said in an interview this week. “I’m proud that our school rankings are the best in twenty years. So now I’m working to eliminate all C-performing schools in the community, as well as have all our schools STEM-designated.”

Science, technology, engineering and math training (STEM) offered locally on Saturdays through non-profit organizations is at capacity. At the June Council meeting, Fairclough suggested redirecting unused Community Development Block grant monies to add resources for STEM programs. The issue is to be voted on at the July 24 Council meeting.

“A STEM school requires strong community partnerships,” said Fairclough. “It’s one of the criteria for designation.”

A school’s STEM designation is approved by the Miami-Dade School Board and an advanced education accreditation company, according to Fairclough. Of the thirteen public and charter schools in Homestead, only a few are STEM-designated.

Fairclough currently is principal of the George Washington Carver Elementary School in Coral Gables, an A-rated International Studies Magnet school with

multilingual programming.

“Quality of life is an important part of community leadership,” she continued. “Safety and security are aspects of that community.”

Fairclough is not satisfied with the policing ratio in Homestead, feeling it needs to be increased.

“We have fine officers doing the best they can do,” she said. “We should approach this in a way that’s fiscally responsible, having incremental increases to the number of officers.”

She added that the conversation must come during budget discussions – trying to do more with less to stretch resources for the city’s police force.

Asked about city parks, Fairclough said, “I’m taking a tour of five Miami-Dade parks for ideas, with cost analyses of amenities they feature. I’d like to see a regional park here where the old baseball stadium was.”

“Our parks are heavily on the west side of town,” she added. “A water feature and trails on the east side could create a destination regional park. It should have components available to children with disabilities.

And it could tie in to the Greenway Trail (Biscayne to Everglades). We can be seeking additional grants to finish building that feature as well.”

Fairclough added that traffic congestion is also an issue. “With more housing coming online, we have to work on a mechanism so we can travel through our city without facing traffic gridlock,” she said.

Fairclough is currently Council’s human resources liaison, in charge of the Mayor’s Youth Council, and chair of the city’s Education Committee.

“I’ve lived in this town for forty years,” she said. “I’m vested in this community. My mother always told me ‘Do the best you can with everyone you can while you can’. There are many issues that need work and I’m passionate about continuing that work.”

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