Brevard School Board Member Matt Susin Moves to End Melbourne High School Renaming Proposal

By  //  May 3, 2021

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YOUR VIEW: MATT SUSIN

WATCH: Brevard Public Schools board member Matt Susin discusses the proposal to rename Melbourne High School after Joseph Acaba, a former Hispanic Astronaut.


By Matt Susin, Brevard Public School Distirct 4 Board Member

For months an application to rename Melbourne High School after Joseph Acaba, a former Hispanic Astronaut who once taught at the school, has been receiving considerable opposition from the community.

The application to change the name of the school was filed by Sam Lopez, the iconic Hispanic leader from the United Third Bridge. Since the application was submitted Mr. Lopez regrettably passed away, leaving the leadership of the United Third Bridge to his daughter and the organization’s vice president, Samantha Brickman.

Ms. Brickman feels that it is better to name a building inside the school after Mr. Acaba saying, “UTB no longer wishes to continue and wants to build bridges, not burn them, within the Melbourne community.”

After meeting with Ms. Brickman, I began to advocate to end the process, and last week during the Brevard Public Schools board meeting, I called for the application to be rescinded by presented evidence that the United Third Bridge Board had rescinded the application and provided proof of the board’s legitimacy to make the decision.

I pointed out that we are allowing an application process to go through our school system that the organization that applied for it no longer wants it to be in existence, and the proposal has the majority of residents of Melbourne concerned.

I feel strongly it’s something we as a school board should give direction to end.

I emailed documentation that included an official rescinding of the application from the United Third Bridge Board of Directors, and the corporation paperwork from the State of Florida showing the legitimacy of the board that voted to rescind the request.

Other school board members agreed that if the group had rescinded the renaming that it should end but needed time to review the paperwork and legitimacy.

Ms. Bickman told Space Coast Daily that the United Third Bridge is looking forward to their continued partnership in bringing diversity and inclusion into the Brevard County Public Schools.

“As we spoke earlier and sent an email from our corporation, we have unanimously voted to withdraw our original request to have Melbourne High School’s name changed and look forward instead to name a wing or building at the high school after Mr. Acaba,” said Ms. Bickman.

“We have provided both a letter stating the withdrawal and proof of the legitimacy of the UTB board who voted to the Brevard County School Board and Superintendent Mark Mullins.”

The next step in the process to rename the school is a community meeting tonight at Melbourne High School and I hope that the district is able to review the documentation and call an end to the process soon.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Matt Susin is a member of the Brevard School Board, representing District 4, and assumed office in 2016. His current term ends in November 2024.

Matt Susin is vice-chair of the Brevard School Board, representing District 4, and assumed office in 2016. His current term ends in November 2024. Susin won re-election to the board last August and has worked as a teacher. He is an insurance executive and is also a member of the Economic Development Council and a board member of the Space Coast Tech Council.

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