After teaching math at Deerlake Middle School for five years, Alva was first elected to the Leon County School Board in 2014. She was re-elected in 2018 and is currently seeking her third term being the voice for public school teachers in our community. Alva is also involved in higher education as the Executive Director for the Center for Law and Business at the FSU College of Law. She served on the board of the Council on Culture and Arts (COCA) and was appointed to the Children Services Council Planning Committee in 2019. Alva was selected as a member of Superintendent’s Leadership Academy in 2013 and is a graduate of Leadership Tallahassee, Class 34. Alva attended Kate Sullivan, Raa and Lincoln High School, and is a graduate of Florida State University where she was a member of Alpha Delta Pi. Alva is married to George Smith and together, they have six children, all of whom attended and/or graduated from Leon County public schools.
Since being elected in 2014, I have fulfilled the campaign promise to be a voice for teachers on the Leon County School Board. I have continued to advocate for teacher raises and for allowing our teachers to do what they do best, teach. By placing more mental health counselors and law enforcement officers in our schools, our teachers can focus their energy on teaching.
As a mother of six, I want to be involved in every decision made regarding the health and education of my child. As a former educator, I value the rights of parents and feel that education should include the child and their parents. Parents have a fundamental right to direct the upbringing of their children, including their education. As a member of the Leon County School Board, I want input from parents of the children in our schools and value their voices and opinions.
Since being elected, we found money to give a 12.5 percent raise to bus drivers and food service workers, a 20 percent raise for substitute teachers, a 15 percent raise for bookkeepers, and a 3 percent raise for teacher assistants. From 2017 to 2018, we put an additional combined $500,000 into classroom supplies and $1 million for high school extracurricular activities. I want to ensure all of our students can engage in school activities without cost being a barrier.
My priority is to support the mental wellness issues of our students. Now more than ever before, our students need emotional support from professional mental health counselors. Under my leadership, the Leon County School Board has placed more mental health counselors in our schools than ever before, and have placed an increased importance on the safety of our students. Safety measures in all of our schools have been evaluated and modified to protect our most precious resource, our children.