Mayor Susan Whelchel

An educator by nature, Mayor Susan Whelchel likes to spread knowl- edge any way she can. Her passion has always been in teaching, never expecting that one day she’d be the Mayor of Boca Raton, “I realized that I had to be the change that I wanted to make.”

Mayor Whelchel was a teacher for 18 years before even considering running for office. “I watched kids grow up and go to college. A lot of students, including my children, didn’t return to Boca Raton because they found better offers and more jobs in other larger cities,” Mayor Whelchel explains, “I wanted to find a way to open more doors for young adults in our community and show them that there were great universities in our own backyard to attend and jobs for them to come back to if they did go away to college.”

The mayor of Boca Raton was having a conversation about that exact topic with a few of her other retired teaching collogues and friends when they proposed she run for office, “They told me that if anyone was passionate about our children and our neighborhood, it’s me.” It was then that Mayor Whelchel became an influence in the city of Boca Raton and an advocate for local schools and education.

“I wasn’t sure if I was going to be elected, but I knew that if I was, I could make a difference,” the Mayor continues, “So I went for it.”

Being a teacher gave Mayor Whelchel the patience she needed once in office, “A lot of people think that once you’re the mayor, you can make change immediately and it’s not that simple.” She had to do a lot of waiting when she wanted to implement a change. In order to make an adjustment in an already in place system, the mayor has to get a lot of people on her side that agree and believe that it is the right adjustment to make. “It was a challenge to persuade the other members of counsel to take on a particular project. The timing has to be right and the people involved have to be right, otherwise it’s a waiting game.”

One of her best accomplishments was just that, an idea that she turned into a reality. The Don Estridge High Tech Middle School was opened in 2004. “I wanted that school in Boca Raton, and I wouldn’t rest until it was here.” The Don Estridge High Tech Middle School is a technology infused middle school that offers an above average education to the kids of Boca Raton and its surrounding cities. The school is ranked an “A”, results from the FCAT tests students have to take, for seven years in a row and still going strong. “We have to educate these kids in order to succeed, if we can’t do that, we have failed them.”

Being a great listener and being able to hear all sides of a story is Mayor Whelchel’s idea of a good mayor. “You have to be fair, at all times, no matter what,” she continues, “You also have to be true to yourself and believe in what you stand for.”

Mayor Whelchel believes Boca Raton is truly the best place to live. Between having the white sand beaches that run for miles, some of the top-ranked hospitals in the county and highly sought after private colleges and universities, Mayor Whelchel says Boca Raton has a lot to offer its community, “There’s really no place like it and we’re right in the middle of great neighbors, Miami and Orlando.”

When Mayor Whelchel is not on mayor duty, which she admits is rare, she spends her time with her family, “Family has always come first, and they are my life.” Mayor Whelchel also spends a lot of time volunteering, “It’s my job to give back and I love that I am able to do that for a living.”

Contact information:
Telephone: (561) 393-7708
email: swhelchel@ci.boca-raton.fl.us