I'm Maria Salamanca.

I am a proud OCPS graduate. I'm running for School Board District 2.

Every student, parent and teacher deserves a tireless advocate. I’m ready to be that advocate for the exceptional community of District 2.

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Q&A with Maria Salamanca

How does Maria know our school district?

After immigrating to America at the age of 7, Maria attended McCoy Elementary, Lake George Elementary, Conway Middle, Discovery Middle, Avalon Middle, and Timber Creek High School.

While at TCHS, she was highly involved as Student Body President and Debate Captain.

Eager to reinvest in the OCPS community after graduation, Maria founded the OCPS Super Scholar Success Initiative, inspired by her own experience as a first-generation college student. The initiative provides a peer network and curriculum to students pursuing out-of-state education many times at our nations top 50 colleges, while also giving parents additional resources and support.

Maria believes deeply that our district plays a key role in bringing students back to Orange County.

Read the Orlando Sentinel on the program.

What has being a venture capitalist taught Maria about education?

Maria works alongside entrepreneurs dedicated to keeping our students competitive within a rapidly changing economy. She has spent the past 10 years working in the technology sector with strong awareness of how it will continue to impact the future workforce that students will enter. She believes she is the only candidate and potential voice in the school board with this perspective.

She is an investor in Inspirit VR (the largest 3D STEM library) and Career Karma (matches career switchers to alternative education paths that help break into the tech industry). Maria knows technology accelerates access to engaging and effective learning. 

But, she also recognizes that tech is not a “one size fits all” solution. Technology should amplify the amazing work our incredible teachers do every day - not create additional hurdles.

Maria has participated in 65+ investments and seen more than 8,000 startups since she started working in venture capital in 2015. She hopes this perspective can provide the Board insights when thinking about today's generation of students and teacher leaders.

Why is Maria running for school board?

Maria credits her success to the OCPS teachers and leaders that went the extra mile to support a first generation Latina. It was her second grade teacher that believed in her to transition out of ELL classes, her 4th grade teacher that advocated for her to be tested for gifted classes, and her AP teacher who recruited her to debate where she was exposed to higher education. To pay it forward, she wants to be a voice for today’s students who she views as some of the most diverse, entrepreneurial and driven. 

Believing wholeheartedly in OCPS’s talented teachers and administrators, Maria knows that OCPS can lead the nation in innovative approaches to student success.

Maria studied Public Policy at the top Public Policy program, the Goldman School of Public Policy where she taught a class about Education Reform.

After spending 7 years investing in rapidly changing sectors like edtech and digital health, Maria feels passionate about our schools being well-positioned to succeed in an evolving economy without additional work.

Maria is aware how tough the last years have been for students and teachers. Read about specific issues she is thinking about here.

What values drive Maria?

Community: Relationships are the best investment. After all, a strong community can change the world.

Innovation: Maria’s entrepreneurial spirit drives her to reexamine current practices in pursuit of  effective, people-driven solutions. 

Diversity: Being a first-generation queer Latina, Maria understands the benefit of enagaging multiple perspectives and lived experiences in any initiative.

Who is #TeamMaria?

Maria lives in Lake Nona with her fiancée Alex and their dog Snoop.

Running a volunteer led campaign meant the incredible opportunity to get a group of lifetime friends and peers involved. Many of them Timber Creek and OCPS alumni as well - Jomayra Herrera, Ellen Schneider, Jodalys Herrera, Brandon Manbahal and many others.

Great teachers and supportive schools enabled Maria to succeed academically and professionally independent of family resources. She hopes this can continue to be the reality for many other OCPS students.

With your support, Maria hopes to be the first alumni voice in District 2 of the Orange County School Board.

Want to talk to #TeamMaria?