My name is Julia Keleher. Since 1997 I have devoted myself to the betterment of our public education system because I believe that access to a quality education can level an often uneven playing field. In my 22 year career, I have worked as a teacher, guidance counselor, school administrator, district superintendent, state chief, federal programs official, and most recently, Secretary of Education in Puerto Rico.
Despite being seen by many as an outsider, I accepted the nomination because of the high expectations I had (and continue to have) for public education in Puerto Rico and a belief that, with effort and dedication, broken systems can be transformed. My goal was to ensure every child had access to a high-quality public education, and for 28 months I worked tirelessly to address the island’s debt crisis, right-size the education system, purchase textbooks for the first time in 10 years, and provide access to technology and computers.
My work was not without its critics. I upset the status quo, but at every turn, I made the best decisions I could to faithfully execute the responsibilities I had accepted. I always put the interests of the students above the interests of adults. In the end, my ambitious reform efforts were no match for the strong forces that sought my undoing. In 2019 and early 2020 I was charged with criminal accusations of public corruption – despite the fact that the first indictment lacked any allegations that I benefited from any personal gain and in the second indictment I lacked any authority to effect the underlying act of which I am accused.
I am innocent of these charges, and I will continue to fight until my innocence is proven.
I am seeking your support in my efforts to clear my name, correct misrepresentations, and raise awareness about the urgent need to continue the reform efforts to reform public education in Puerto Rico.