Respected and accomplished local educators have endorsed Kelly Barrera’s bid for re-election as the District 4 representative on the St. Johns County School Board in an announcement received by Historic City News this morning.
Former Jacksonville University President Dr. Frances Kinne, Project SOS founder, and former St. Johns County School Board Member Dr. Pam Mullarkey Robbins and former St. Johns County educator Dr. Christine Arab all endorsed Barrera, who is seeking her second term on the school board.
“As an educator over many decades, it is always exciting to me to identify a talented supporter of education,” said Dr. Kinne, chancellor emerita of Jacksonville University. “From the very beginning, (Barrera’s) leadership has been outstanding.”
Kinne said Barrera’s background in business management was an asset to the school board and praised her ability to respond to the tremendous growth being experienced by the St. Johns County schools. In her time on the school board, Barrera has overseen the construction and opening of three new elementary schools and additions to Nease High School and Crookshank Elementary. Two new K-8 schools are also currently under construction.
“The St. Johns County School Board is very fortunate to be blessed with the involvement of Kelly Barrera,” Kinne said.
Those sentiments were echoed by Mullarkey Robbins, who founded Project SOS to teach critical life skills to St. Johns County students. “Kelly’s degree in business has helped her oversee a $315 million annual school district budget for the past four years,” she said. “By prioritizing the classrooms, she has helped St. Johns County become a national leader in allocating 97 percent of the annual budget into schools with only 3 percent going to administration.
“Students are always Kelly’s first priority – whether it is their school safety, academics, character, vocational skills or mental and emotional health,” Mullarkey Robbins continued. “Kelly is and always will be a champion for the students.”
Dr. Arab noted that she had worked closely with Barrera on the Schultz Board, a nonprofit that provides professional development to Northeast Florida educators.
“In my role as chair of the Schultz Board, I have found Ms. Barrera to be an educator, a leader and an exceptional public servant,” she said. “As a former educator in St. Johns County, I am well acquainted with the work of the school board and the extraordinary effort it takes to represent all of the county’s students with integrity and honesty. I confidently endorse Kelly Barrera for election to another term….”
“To receive the support of such well-respected, strong women educators is immensely gratifying,” Barrera said; explaining that she was humbled to receive the educators’ endorsements. “I appreciate the confidence they have shown in my service and my leadership.”
Bill Fehling, long time former St. Johns County District 4 School Board Member stated “Kelly is forward thinking as our school district strives for continuous improvement and as we build on our academic and extracurricular activities.”
The endorsements by Kinne, Mullarkey Robbins, Fehling and Arab follow Barrera’s recent endorsement by former St. Johns County Schools Superintendent Dr. Joseph Joyner. Under his leadership, St. Johns County was routinely ranked as the top-rated school district in the state of Florida.
“There is no question in my mind that the re-election of Kelly Barrera is essential to the continued success of the St. Johns County School District,” Joyner said in his endorsement. “I have worked with many board members in my 40 years in public education and Kelly Barrera is one of the finest.”
A graduate of Jacksonville University, Barrera and her husband, Gil Barrera, are the parents of two adult children. They have been Ponte Vedra Beach residents for more than 25 years. For more information on Barrera, visit kellybarrera.com. Paid by Kelly Barrera, for St. Johns County School Board District 4, nonpartisan.