Eleven Collier School Board candidates take the stage in Tuesday candidate forum
Three of the five positions on the Collier County School board are up for election this year. Three incumbents and eight challengers are vying for the school board’s district one, district three and district five races in the Aug. 23 primary election.
All eleven candidates plan to participate in a forum on Tuesday, June 21 at the Naples Area Board of Realtors (NABOR) Convention Center from 6 - 8:30 p.m. The forum is sponsored by NABOR and Naples Better Government in partnership with Collier Citizens Council, the League of Women Voters of Collier County and Greater Naples Leadership.
WGCU’s John Davis will moderate the forum, which will be broadcast live on WGCU-FM and streamed online at wgcu.org, naplesnews.com, news-press.com, and via Facebook Live through each of the organization’s Facebook pages.
Collier School Board Vice Chair Jory Westberry faces two challengers. Westberry, who has a doctorate in education, has previously served as a teacher, vice principal and principal in the Collier school system before being elected to the board.
Westberry said she’s running for reelection, “to continue to apply my experience, dedication and support for CCPSA and positively promote and inspire additional impressive achievement gains for our aspiring students, talented teachers and staff.”
Boobyer is a high school graduate, a golf professional coaching youth golf through the First Tee Program of Collier County and a volunteer with the Special Olympics.
Boobyer said she’s running for school board with an aim to, “restore the foundations of academic excellence and traditional values for all students.”
Rutherford is also a high school graduate whose professional background includes working as a painting contractor and as a substitute teacher in Collier. He’s a member and past chairman of the Christian Coalition of Collier.
Rutherford said he’s, “running for school board because I want to have a vote, as a member, to stop poor educational practices.”
Rutherford’s campaign website prominently displays a quote of his own reading, “in today’s world, Leftists afflict others using illogical arguments with their own terms invading our schools system. When in fact, they are attacking gender and truth with their own cys-phobic ideology.”
Mitchell has a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and previously worked as a teacher in the district. She currently works as a local realtor. All four of her children have graduated from or continue to attend schools in the Collier district. Over the past nearly two decades Mitchell has volunteered extensively with Collier Schools leading to her involvement with the Champions for Learning Connect now Project that led to what is now the CCPS Strategic Plan.
Mitchell said she’s running for reelection, “to continue focusing on increasing student achievement, specifically in math and reading proficiency, expanding career and technical education, attracting and retaining great teachers, and maintaining strict oversight of the budget.”
Jana Greer is a high school graduate, a Doula, and a business woman with a background in massage therapy. She’s worked with the Collier County ESE students advisory board and is active in her church. Greer’s campaign website emphasizes her faith, reading, “I feel that God is calling me to serve on the School Board. When BLM and Pride flags are allowed in classrooms, but the Bible isn’t, something’s very wrong.”
Greer said she’s running because, “we need American values back in America’s classrooms and to do better for our children in Collier County, who are our future.”
Fellow district three candidate Kelly Lichter has a master’s degree in Social Studies Education and serves as founder and President of Mason Classical Academy. She’s a mother of two and has previously taught U.S. History, Economics and Government at the high school level, as well as experience teaching special needs students.
Lichter said she’s running for school board, “on a solid track record of student success and fiscal responsibility with taxpayer dollars,” and that she “could have an even bigger impact countywide.”
Terry has a Master’s in Education and his past experience with the district includes serves as a teacher, coach, athletic director, assistant principal and principal. He’s also a member of the Collier County Education Foundation Board of Directors and the YMCA of Collier County and President of Greater Florida Consortium of School Boards.
Terry said, “the district has made very positive strides over the past 10 years and these next four will either solidify and improve that momentum or see us slide back to where we were 10 years ago, and I want to finish the work we have done.”
Challenger Arthur Boyer holds a Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership and has worked as an educator for about the past two decades. Originally from Haiti, Boyer has lived in Immokalee for 30 years and is CEO of the education, leadership and life coaching firm Boyer Multidisciplinary Consulting.
Boyer said he’s running for school board to, “seek, serve and defend the success of our current and future students for the greater good of Collier County.”
Candidate Jacqualene Keay has a Master of Arts degree in Psychology with an emphasis in professional counseling. She’s a mother of four, who immigrated to Naples at the age of six from the Bahamas. After high school she enlisted in the U.S. Army and was stationed in Germany where she lived for 17 years before returning to Collier County. She previously taught at Mason Classical Academy.
Keay said she’s running to, “ensure our students have the education, skills and resources needed to complete for and secure jobs in the global world and to protect our democracy.”
Timothy Moshier graduated from Northwood University in Midland, Michigan before starting a building restoration company and a truck detailing company. He’s been in the trucking business for about three decades and currently serves on the Everglades City Code Compliance Board and the Ochopee Fire Control District Advisory Committee.
Moshier said he’s running for school board because, “children are our most precious asset,” and said he “won’t stop until he delivers the right education in academics as well as vocational education.
Candidate Ana Turino student Education at Nova Southeastern University and currently works through a nonprofit as an academic mentor for kids in the foster care system. The mother of six previously worked at a middle school in Miami. Turino is active in her church and Columbiette, a Catholic Auxiliary that assists the Knights of Columbus in raising money to help abused women and children. She also volunteers through Collier schools and with the Special Olympics. Turnio’s campaign websites emphasizes protecting students “by keeping inappropriate materials, media and CRT out of our schools!”
Turino said, “I am the best candidate based on my experience in education and my insight to what is currently happening in our schools.”
Collier school board races are non-partisan elections and voted on at-large, meaning all registered voters in Collier County, regardless of party affiliation or district of residence, are eligible to vote for one candidate in each race. If no candidate in a particular race garners at least 50% of the primary election vote, the top two vote getters will advance to the general election Nov. 8.
WGCU is your trusted source for news and information in Southwest Florida. We are a nonprofit public service, and your support is more critical than ever. Keep public media strong and donate now. Thank you.