Our Focus

Whether they go to Key West High School, Adams Middle School in Tampa, or Destin Elementary School in the Panhandle, Families for Strong Public Schools knows that all kids across Florida deserve a safe, welcoming, and enriching school where they are valued for who they are and receive a top-quality education. But certain politicians are focused on politicizing our schools by banning books, erasing history, and attacking students and staff for who they are. These politicians want to distract us from their failure to fully fund our schools depriving our students and teachers of the resources they need to thrive. We see what lawmakers are trying to do. We will not allow ourselves to be distracted or divided. By showing up for all Florida students, we will create the schools our kids need. When we come together and advocate for the schools and education we know our students deserve, every kid in Florida can learn and grow and achieve their wildest dreams.

Family is Everything

Parents know what’s best for our children and their voices must be heard. Many parents have real, legitimate concerns about the direction education in Florida is heading, and healthy dialogues allow schools and teachers to grow. The role that parents and families play within education at all levels is imperative. When all players make children the sole focus, our children benefit.

Education is Above Politics

Our children are not pawns, and certain politicians have no right to use them to score political points. This is not about D or R, it’s about E – education. Certain politicians are trying to frame issues in education as being the fault of parents on one side or another, but that could not be further from the truth. These politicians are trying to drive a wedge between schools and families, to the detriment of students. We must take political rhetoric out of the debate and recenter on what is truly best for children, not what makes headlines for certain politicians trying to win a game that has nothing to do with our kids.

Schools Teach Kids What They Need

Schools teach independent thinking so that our children can navigate the world successfully, and every child deserves access to high quality and age-appropriate education. Our schools have a responsibility to help prepare children for the next stage of their life, and eventually the real world, and part of that requires understanding sensitive subjects. We must recognize that sensitive topics will require teachers to learn new skills, and teachers need encouragement and resources to properly support our children’s learning.

Schools Help Build Strong Citizens

American exceptionalism is real but fragile. Our children need to learn about our responsibility to protect it. Americans need to understand our complete and true story as we move forward; that is what sets our country apart. That understanding begins in our schools, and any attempt to limit learning as un-American is a direct attack on our freedoms and the values that makes our country so unique. Education builds awareness and is a vehicle for teaching good citizenship.

Our Team

Executive Director


Damaris Allen is a product of Hillsborough County Public Schools and the proud mother of a HCPS graduate and a HCPS student. She began her advocacy journey when she registered her oldest child for kindergarten and discovered her neighbors were opting out of sending their children to their neighborhood public school. Instead of pulling her child from her the school she decided to focus her efforts on working with parents, teachers, and the administrators to improve the school. Today, this local elementary school is one of the most sought after schools in the district. Damaris went on to serve in numerous roles, including but not limited to, President of Hillsborough County PTA/PTSA, Chair of the Hillsborough County School Board Citizens Advisory Committee, and a member of the Florida PTA Legislation Committee.

Prior to becoming a full time education advocate she studied Christian Education and Theatre at Florida Southern College and worked with children, youth, and their families in the United Methodist Church. Her advocacy work has taught her to never underestimate the power of the collective voice to transform education.

In her free time she is an avid reader of nonfiction, loves to bake for friends and family, and takes ballet classes whenever possible. Damaris is driven by the desire to help parents discover the power of their voice and empowering them to use them to create high quality public schools for all children.

Tampa Bay Regional Organizer – Hillsborough, Pinellas, Polk, Sarasota, Manatee 


Raised in Massachusetts, Nikki Rivera moved to Florida in 2018 to pursue a master’s degree in sociology from the University of South Florida. For over 12 years she has served as an educator in a variety of capacities, with students and parents of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities. She has taught swimming for the YMCA, JumpStart preschool with AmeriCorps, adult ESL classes for a Boston based immigrants’ rights organization, and a variety of undergraduate courses as a Teaching Assistant at USF. For over 7 years Nikki has also served as a community organizer as well, empowering community members to mobilize grassroots campaigns around parent-school partnerships, school testing, vaccine access, student debt, educators’ wages, food insecurity, affordable housing and homelessness, affordable healthcare, voting rights, cultural empowerment, racial justice, and (de)colonization. She brings years of experience facilitating connections between parents and community leaders and fostering spaces in which a diversity of experiences and perspectives can be shared. Nikki finds inspiration in storytelling, and believes it plays a key role in helping us to better understand the experiences of others. In her free time, Nikki enjoys spending time in her garden, growing herbs and vegetables that are hard to come across in grocery stores. She loves turning these humble, and sometimes unfamiliar, homegrown ingredients into flavor inspirations for her partner, who is a chef by profession and by heart. Through both food and travel, she enjoys learning about cultures of the world, especially indigenous and antiquated societies.

North Florida Regional Organizer – Clay, Duval, Flagler, Nassau, St. Johns


Raised in Arkansas, Alexander moved to Florida in 2016 to continue his education in political science and communication from the University of North Florida. Over the last decade he has served as a community servant and advocate working to connect people to resources that improve their day to day circumstances. Alexander’s focus on empowerment through action has allowed him to effectively mobilize grassroots campaigns that include parent-school partnerships, social justice advocacy, food insecurity, and voting rights coalitions. He brings years of experience in relational organizing that fosters connections between diverse groups and creates spaces where unity, trust, and innovation may be shared. Alexander believes that together we can help us all. Setting aside differences to better understand the experiences of others is how we secure a sustainable future.
In his free time Alexander enjoys training and teaching Kung Fu. Sharing both physical and mental meditative practices to transform the mind and body. Instilling self defense confidence while removing the fear of physical attack to develop an “I will” mentality. He also enjoys farming and is an avid gardener and regenerative agriculture enthusiast who assists landowners in establishing and maintaining food security networks. Alexander believes the way to truly lead is through service and seeks to use his life as an example of the power of connection.

Families for Strong Public Schools

Dedicated to centering our students in education policy by unifying, educating, and empowering parents to support a strong public education agenda at all levels of government.