Election Day, November 4th is quickly approaching, early voting begins Monday and absentee ballots are being collected. It is with great thought that careful consideration that we ask citizens to cast their votes.
From the sample ballot distributed from the Supervisor of Elections office, Historic City Media has examined the candidates in several local elections and will offer our endorsement to those who we feel are best qualified and capable.
This contest is open to all registered voters located within District 5.
The incumbent in this race is 68 year old Carla W. Wright who was appointed to fill Joe Gordy’s unexpired term in 2001. According to an endorsement published in The Record, Wright had considered not seeking reelection when her term expired in 2004. Reportedly, Wright felt that the district was on the right track for continued success under Superintendent of Schools Joe Joyner.
Wright is challenged this year by 58 year old Virginia native Lionel “Skeeter” Key Jr., who was a teacher and later an administrator in the St. Johns County education system for almost 33 years. Today he is director of academic advising and retention for Flagler College; a job he has held since 2007. For a number of years he’s been an adjunct with the college and continues teaching there.
Key calls himself a man who thinks outside of the box and believes that quality along with his energy and management experience will be a plus on the board. Key calls himself a problem solver and says he’s pro-active and hands-on. “I don’t sit around waiting for things to get done,” Key said.
We have recently received and read dozens of published letter from parents, former students and associates of Skeeter Key who praise and thank him for his contributions to the school system as well as our community. Not surprising given that Key has been active in a number of community groups including the Kiwanis Club of Historic St. Augustine which recently named him member of the year; an honor he’s earned several times. He’s also active in First Tee and along with his wife Diane has been part of the coffee house at their church, Anastasia Baptist.
A school board that is complacent and defers to the Superintendent’s decisions and agenda defeat the role and purpose of an independently elected board.
Key says he doesn’t like what the State Legislature has done to “handcuff school boards” and believes they’ve taken away too much local control. “While it may have helped rein in some under-performing school boards, it’s not fair to high-performing districts such as St. Johns” he said.
We need an objective new voice with enough energy and motivation to guide us through the challenges of the next ten years – balancing budget constraints against the need for new schools to accommodate a growing population of families with school age children.
Skeeter Key wins our support, endorsement and vote.
Photo credit: Historic City News photographer Kerry McGuire