Mitch Rosenwald, PhD, LCSW, Mayor, City of Oakland Park, Fla.; City Commission


By Sue Coyle

Mitch Rosenwald

Mayor Mitch Rosenwald, PhD, LCSW, has always had his eye on the big picture and an interest in working to make that big picture fairer. It is part of the reason he chose to run for city commissioner of Oakland Park, Fla. “In 2020, I was elected as commissioner and was inaugurated as mayor in 2024,” he says, explaining that the mayoral role rotates among the city commission annually. “What inspires me in my role is that I problem solve issues for constituents and work to make better policies,” Rosenwald says.

He did not begin his career planning to run for a political office, however. He hadn’t even planned on social work. “I originally wanted to become a professor of sociology,” Rosenwald says. “But I needed to be part of a profession whose primacy was direct interaction with client systems of all sizes.”

Rosenwald earned his master’s degree in sociology as well as master’s and doctoral degrees in social work. He has held a variety of clinical social work positions and cites his role as a child maltreatment investigator as the job that first confirmed he was in the right profession. “(It) fortified my confidence as a social worker,” he says. “This experience is responsible for my scholarship in foster care, including a book on advocacy in the foster and kinship care system, which I co-authored.”

Rosenwald also is a professor of social work, and prior to running for office in Oakland Park, was elected president of NASW-Florida. “I was honored to receive the Social Worker Year of the Award from NASW-Florida, and that recognition resulted in the then-executive director asking me to run for vice president of the (chapter).” He was later elected chapter president.

Working in so many corners of the profession—from clinical to macro to education—has enabled Rosenwald not only to enjoy the versatility of social work but also to recognize how interconnected the sectors are. “When looking at all of this from a bird’s eye view, I see how clinical work, macro work, and education and scholarship intersect and integrate. All rely on each other.”

Rosenwald will finish his mayoral term in November. He is planning to run for state representative of his district in Florida next.

Outside of work, “I love spending time with friends, my two dogs, and swimming, and need to spend more time practicing my guitar!”

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