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Three county school board seats on election ballots

By Staff | Aug 11, 2020

There are primaries for each of the three Lee County School Board seats up for grabs, but voters countywide may only cast a ballot in one of the nonpartisan races.

The seats for Districts 2 and 3 will be determined by voters who live in those districts, while all voters – regardless of party affiliation or the district in which they live – can cast ballots in the at-large District 7 race. Sanibel and Captiva voters will only be able to cast a vote in the District 7 race.

The relatively new format of seven board members went into effect in 2016 after voters passed an amendment that changed the five-member all-elected-at-large board into a seven-member board, with five members elected within their district and two elected districtwide.

The Aug. 18 Primary candidates for District 7 seat are George Peter Bohatch, incumbent Cathleen O’Daniel and Curt Sheard. The top vote-getters will advance to the Nov. 3 General Election.

DISTRICT 7

– Dr. Pete Bohatch

Seat sought: District 7

Age: 59

Education/ degrees:

Doctorate in Organizational Leadership, Master’s in Social Studies, Bachelor’s in Political Science

Occupation: Retired

Time in district: Employed with the School District of Lee County for 16 years. Resident of Lee County for 8 years.

Professional Experience:

27 years in public education serving as a teacher, dean of students, assistant principal, principal, district director, and district executive director.

Political Experience: None

Civic/Community Involvement: Coalition for Drug Free Lee County

Family: Married wife Jill 36 years, 3 daughters Jessica, Laura, and Katie

Military experience: None

FB page: Pete Bohatch for Lee Schools District Seven @DrPeteBohatch

Candidate positions at a glance

Why are you running?

Running on CHANGE. The current board is “dysfunctional, seldom focusing on issues at hand. Also, EXPERIENCE. My 27 years of experience in several areas of public education would be a huge asset to the students, staff, and community of Lee County.

Planks of platform

– Health, safety and security

– Fair compensation for teachers and support staff

– Utilize tax dollars more efficiently, reduce waste in all areas of the organization

Top three issues:

– Safety and security cannot be compromised

– More emphasis on social-emotional learning

– The student assignment system is broken

– Always involve teachers in the decision-making process

– Fair compensation for teachers and staff

– Reading. Reading. Reading.

– Cathleen Morgan, incumbent

Seat sought/district: School Board, District 7

Age: 72

Education/degrees:

BA-Political Science and Economics, Chatham University

MBA-Corporate Finance, NYU Stern School of Business

MEd-Administration, Virginia Commonwealth University

Occupation and place of employment:

Lee County School District, Board Member, District 7

Time in the district/years of residency: 13 years

Business or professional experience applicable to the office you are seeking:

Investment Banking-Department Head, Operations Management and Administration

Commercial Banking-VP, Operations Management and Administration

Political Experience/offices held:

Lee County School Board, 2012-Present

Rye City School District, NY, School Board Member-1993-2000

Civic/community involvement:

School Board Finance Advisory Committee: 2008-12

Gulf Coast Literacy Council: 2011-12

Sacred Heart Center Board of Directors, Richmond, VA,: 2005-2007

Rye Presbyterian Church, Rye, NY-Deacon and Trustee: 1995-2002

Rye Nature Center Board of Directors, Rye, NY: 1992-98

Family: Husband-George “Gie” Morgan; Son-George Morgan, wife Brooke, and son Georgie; Son-Rich Morgan

Military experience: None

Website: Morgan4LCPS@gmail.com

Candidate positions at a glance:

Why are you running?

My job is not finished. Critical elements of high achieving school districts are a high performing superintendent, a flexible, forward thinking strategic plan, and a professional, high quality school board. Five years ago, we hired a Superintendent who has proven to be an effective education leader-respected by educators, business leaders, and community members. Four years ago we implemented a District Strategic Plan (Envision 2020). It has proven to be effective-for three years our graduation rates have increased, student achievement in language arts and math has improved at all levels, and the achievement gap for minorities is narrowing.

Nevertheless, our current Board struggles to agree on policies and strategies as we move forward. I am committed to working on a stable, committed, focused Board team, so that we can become the high quality School Board families and taxpayers deserve.

Planks of your platform:

Increase Operational Funding

Learning readiness: pre-K to grade 12

Community collaboration: quality pre-K and state-of-the-art career and technical education.

Top three issues:

1. Funding:

Teacher hiring, retention, and compensation: We need to provide professional living wages that will encourage people to enter the profession and choose to stay.

We need additional student services staff to support classroom teachers-social workers, psychologists, school counselors-and we need to provide the time and resources they need to do their job professionally.

Until state and local leaders acknowledge the mutual symbiosis of public education and the economy; until they agree to fund all types of public education equitably; and until they allow local districts to make local decisions about programs and allocation of resources that meet the needs of their student population and constituents, we will struggle to obtain adequate funding for the challenges we face.

2. Learning Readiness:

Expanding capacity for access to high quality, early childhood education. Build literacy, language capacity, and school readiness skills for children entering kindergarten.

Teacher time management/student seat time paradigm shift: Change state grade and classroom readiness requirements and associated accountability for teachers. Our distance learning strategy in response to the pandemic has deepened our understanding of what may be possible in a blended learning model for public education. Qualified classroom educators are the greatest predictor of student success and their time should be used where it has the greatest utility for student learning.

3. Community collaboration:

The School District must facilitate increased community involvement with local providers of early childhood education to improve access to high quality child care-child care that is developmentally appropriate.

We must expand our capacity for teaching and learning in career and technology areas. Local partnerships will help us improve quality of instruction, curriculum, and training materials.

– Curtis J. Sheard

Seat sought/district: District 7 School Board

Age: 47

Education/degrees:

Attended public school in Lee County and graduated from Cape Coral High School.

Georgia Military College A.S. Military Science

Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University (FAMU) B.S. Construction Engineering Technology

Occupation and place of employment: Project Manager (C2 Consulting Group )

Time in the district in which you are running; years of residency in Lee County: 30 years

Business or professional experience applicable to the office you are seeking:

Entrepreneur General Contractor for 25 years.

Upon completion of a Bachelor of Science degree in Construction Engineering Technology from FAMU began a career as an active duty U.S. Army Corps of Engineers officer. While serving in various roles, was instrumental in organizing and successfully completing a mobilization exercise consisting of over 800 soldiers and $15 million of equipment from Texas to Washington State. Completed military career as a Captain and entered into the private sector of construction, working in various industries within the construction arena including fiber optic construction and installation, underground utilities, commercial and residential. Project budgets have ranged from thousands to his largest project in excess of $110M which were constructed in Afghanistan.

Upon returning home to Florida, received his Florida Certified General Contractors License.

Political Experience/offices held: N/A

Civic/Community involvement:

Former Executive Board Member of the Dunbar Youth Football and Cheer Association, Former Member of the City of Fort Myers CRA Advisory Board, Former Member of the Lee County School Board Advisory and Construction Committee

Family: Son CJ, Daughter AJ

Military Experience: Former US Army Engineer Officer (Captain)

Website: www.facebook.com/imwithcurt/

Candidate positions at a glance

Why are you running?

It is my desire to provide a fresh perspective while utilizing my business skills, military training and community service time to add value to the board. It is my goal to be the catalyst of positive change which will in turn make our school district more desirable.”

Planks of your platform:

Why are you running for the school board?

It is my desire to provide a fresh perspective while utilizing my business skills, military training and community service time to add value to the board. It is my goal to be the catalyst of positive change which will in turn make our school district more desirable.

Top three issues:

accountability, transparency and student safety

All biographic information has been provided by the candidates.