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Incumbents Giovannelli, Patricca reclaim school board seats

By MEGHAN BRADBURY / news@breezenewspapers.com - | Nov 3, 2020

Lee County School Board incumbents Melisa Giovannelli and Chris Patricia held their seats in tonight’s General Election.

In the District 2 race, Giovannelli received 43,118 votes (64.76 percent) while challenger John F. “Jeff” McCullers received 23,467 votes (35.24 percent).

“It feels good. I’m tired. It’s been long, difficult with COVID,” Giovannelli said. “I’m excited that 60-plus percent have spoken and like what I am doing. I am going to continue to work for the people and the best interest for our children, staff and teachers of Lee County.”

Giovannelli said she hopes to foster better respect on the school board. She said she believes the overwhelming response of what the community wants and expects has to be about students and staff.

“We need to make sure our schools are safe, especially with COVID and what’s going on,” Giovannelli said.

She said it is about creating the best environment to educate the children.

Giovannelli was first elected to the board in 2016. A lifelong resident of Lee County, she has been a member of the Royal Palm Realtor Association for 22 years and an associate with Gartner group.

In District 3, Patricca received 37,866 votes (55.08 percent) while challenger Jacqueline Perez received 30,885 votes (44.92 percent).

“It’s a relief and it’s hope and exhilaration,” Patricca said about winning the election.

With the election behind her, she will continue to address student and family needs in an innovative way through the COVID-19 pandemic. Patricca said the pandemic is not only going to change education in Lee County, but across the state and the nation.

“It’s a matter of looking at the data coming out of this and finding out how we can tweak what we are doing,” she said, adding that the focus will be on what is working to make it sustainable. “If we have an outstanding Mandarin Chinese teacher in Cape Coral and total of 100 kids in the entire county, why can’t we offer that class to every kid in Lee County that is interested. Eventually we can cross district lines and offer high level instruction across district lines, state lines. There are no limits to technology.”

It is Patricca’s second term as a school board member. She is an adjunct processor in the Justice Students Department of College of Arts and Sciences at Florida Gulf Coast University.

Cathleen Morgan was re-elected in the Primary Election with over 50 percent of the votes for District 7, which is an at-large seat, for what she says will be her third and final term as a board member.

School board races are non-partisan and are elected by district with the exception of the at-large seats, which is open to all voters regardless of party affiliation or the district in which they live.

All election results are unofficial until certified.