Teacher Turned Politician Making a Difference
“Coach P” is learning on the job as a Florida Representative
Rene Plasencia spent 15 years as a classroom teacher before deciding to run for a seat in the Florida House of Representatives. He narrowly lost his first election and learned a valuable lesson about the nature of politics, campaigning, fundraising, and the potential cost of speaking your mind and sticking to your beliefs. He ran again two years later and won.
Being a representative introduced Rene to a much broader perspective on education than he held previously. His outlook on education had been shaped by his experience of being a teacher in one classroom for 15 years at the same school. He realized his perspective was limited and started looking at the big picture perspective needed for making policy decisions on the state level.
“Now that I have a much broader perspective, what's most important to me is still and always will be our students and our families and our communities,” he says in this interview. “It is the basis of the fundamentals of a sound community and society — education.”
He has learned a lot, and he wants to make sure his decisions, especially regarding education policy, are always based on what is best for kids, schools and communities in the state, not based on preconceived political ideas or political affiliation.
Rene is a thoughtful and practical politician who takes all factors into consideration before making decisions. I’m sure many people in his district and across the state are thankful he decided to turn to public service.
About Rene Plasencia
Rene “Coach P” Plasencia was born and raised in Orlando, the son of a Cuban born father and Puerto Rican mother. He graduated from Dr. Phillips High School and earned a track and field scholarship to the University of Central Florida. While at UCF, he started their first student-athlete advisory board and served as president its first two years. He still holds the school’s indoor mile record. He went on to teach for 15 years and is currently a member of the Florida House of Representatives serving Florida’s 50th district.
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