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a363: Ethnic groups divided on school diversity job

From: JD Lemieux <lxhaiti@yahoo.com>

Miami HeraldPublished Tuesday, January 15, 2002

Ethnic groups divided on school diversity job

The issue of who will be the Broward School District's
diversity chief may be heating up again.

The School Board is set to approve Maria de L.
Rodriguez as the executive director of diversity and
equal education, replacing Dorsey Miller, who resigned
three months ago.

But Margaret Armand, a Fort Lauderdale
Haitian-American activist, is trying to rally other
Haitians to support Antoine Auguste, a Haitian
American and Superintendent Frank Till's original
choice for the job. Till pulled Auguste's nomination
last week, saying Auguste hadn't been ``forthright''
in his job interview.


In a fax to members of the Haitian-American community,
Armand said Hispanics have lobbied Till to hire
Rodriguez and that ``we need to do the same.''

Armand is the vice president of ACTION Foundation,
which is dedicated to fostering harmony between
Haitians and other Americans. She said Monday she
doesn't want to pit two ethnic groups against each
other, but that Auguste ``is about the best person for
the job.''

The controversy centers on whether Auguste was on
sabbatical from his job as a professor at Florida
Memorial College in Northwest Miami-Dade when he
interviewed with Till and district staff in November.

Auguste became city manager of the Florida Panhandle
municipality of Gretna in May 2001. He officially
resigned from Florida Memorial in October 2001, and
interviewed with Till a month later.

Till contends that Auguste said he was on sabbatical
at the time of the interview.

Auguste has said he used the term sabbatical loosely,
and that it was clear from his résumé he no longer
worked at Florida Memorial College.

The Broward School District has two Hispanic senior
managers or department heads. There are no Haitians in
similar positions.


After his resignation, Miller said that Till had
neglected the diversity office and didn't give him
enough resources to promote diversity and monitor
equity issues in Broward schools.

On Monday, Miller said the hiring of his replacement
has been handled poorly.

``Right now, you have a lot of ill feelings in the
community,'' Miller said. ``This job is supposed to
bring people together, not apart.''

The board meets at 1 p.m. today at the Kathleen C.
Wright Administration Center, 600 SE Third Ave., Fort

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