Cheryl Massaro Changes Mind; Will Not Run for Re-Election


In a reversal of her previous decision Flagler School Board member Cheryl Massaro will not run for a second term in office. She withdrew her candidacy on Tuesday and confirmed in a phone interview that she'd be stepping down after this year's election. Her seat currently has two candidates filed to run.

Massaro was first elected in 2020, defeating incumbent Board member Maria Barbosa to win a four-year term in office. She served as Board Chair from late 2022 to late 2023, succeeding the outgoing Trevor Tucker and preceding current Chair Will Furry. Once Massaro was considered part of an informal progressive majority on the Board, alongside members Colleen Conklin and Sally Hunt. She's proven to be a moderate member who accepts periodical confrontation, but who isn't overtly partisan. It's harder to draw any sort of political majority on the Board now, especially as other members have taken bold stances to assert their individualism.

The reason for Massaro's withdrawal is the decision of another candidate, Lauren Ramirez, to enter. Massaro has maintained that she'd run if there were no candidates she saw as suitable, but bow out if there were. Ramirez owns Salus Medical Training and is involved with Belle Terre Elementary School's parent-teacher organization. She launched her first political campaign by filing this week to run for Massaro's seat.

"I think Lauren would be a good asset for District 5," Massaro said Tuesday. "She's had some educational background which could be beneficial, and she's got a lot of enthusiasm. So I think she would be a good fit for that seat."

The other candidate, Vincent Sullivan, is an attorney with Chiumento Law. He entered the race in February. Though Massaro stopped short of announcing an impending endorsement, she raised objections with Sullivan's candidacy. "My biggest concern is a conflict of interest," she said. "I don't know him, I don't know if he's a good guy or a bad guy [...] Even though he's not necessarily the attorney of record, it doesn't mean that he would not be providing information in the background to a number of lawsuits that actually come from the Chiumento organization against the school district."

Ramirez and Sullivan are set to face off in this year's August primary election ballot, at which the winner will assume their in November. If a third candidate enters, the winner will have to earn over 50% of the vote to avoid a runoff election with the runner-up candidate.

"I'd like to do a little bit of real retirement," continued Massaro, who turns 71 this year. "It takes a lot of time and a lot of commitment to do this job right. And it's not a job you can do half-assed."