Personnel note: Thomas Cerra joins Ballard Partners as firm launches K-12 education silo

Ballard Partners
Cerra has 26 years of experience as a K-12 educator, school administrator, lobbyist and negotiator.

Nationally respected educator and K-12 government relations consultant Thomas Cerra is joining Ballard Partners.

As the former deputy superintendent for Miami-Dade County Public Schools, Cerra has built a national profile as a K-12 educator with a career that spans teaching, school-site administration as well as serving as chief lobbyist, chief negotiator in labor relations for the school district, which is one of the nation’s largest.

His experience also includes city, county, state and federal government relations, as well as strategic planning and policy development.

For the past 26 years, he has been president of the educational consulting firm Florida School Services, Inc. His clients have included school districts, benefits providers, school design and construction and publishing and technology companies as well as an educational foundation. He has also served as a legislative lobbyist for M-DCPS for the past 26 years.

“Creating this strategic partnership with a nationally respected educator and consultant like Tom gives our clients direct access to his decades of experience in K-12 education as well as his broad national reach especially in Florida and California,” said Brian Ballard, the founder and president of Ballard Partners. “Our firms have jointly represented a number of school districts in recent years, and we are delighted to establish this more formal K-12 partnership with Tom.”

Cerra added, “Partnering with Ballard Partners is a great opportunity to mutually enhance our respective relationships and deliver exceptional services to our respective clients. I’m looking forward to working closely with Brian and the supremely talented group of professionals at Ballard Partners.”

Ballard Partners has been one of the largest lobbying firms in the Sunshine State for years and has quickly become one of the largest in Washington since it expanded its operation to the nation’s capital five years ago.

It has since expanded become an international governmental relations firm, setting up offices in Israel and Turkey and representing multiple foreign governments in Washington.

Drew Wilson

Drew Wilson covers legislative campaigns and fundraising for Florida Politics. He is a former editor at The Independent Florida Alligator and business correspondent at The Hollywood Reporter. Wilson, a University of Florida alumnus, covered the state economy and Legislature for LobbyTools and The Florida Current prior to joining Florida Politics.


One comment

  • Charlotte Greenbarg

    August 17, 2022 at 4:51 pm

    I sat in on a meeting with Tom Cerra and contractors building a playground shelter for a school in Dade County. They wanted $50,000 to build it. The PTA at the school got a bid for $20,000. I asked why there was a difference. Cerra snarled, ‘OK then take the shelter out of the contract and let the PTA get it done.” Lovely.

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