Four individuals are running for the nonpartisan District 5 seat on the Citrus County School Board: the incumbent, Linda Powers; plus challengers Deborah Daniels, Joseph Faherty and Mary Seader. The challengers are all first-time candidates. This race will be decided in the Aug. 23 primary election unless no candidate receives 50 percent plus 1 of the votes cast, in which case it will go to a runoff in the November general election.
Citrus County’s School Board race is fortunate to have attracted such a talented group. All the candidates agree that the current School Board has been doing an excellent job for students. They agree on several other points, as well. They all want to keep students as the focus and raise academic achievement. They also want to continue to keep Citrus County schools safe. And they appreciate the Veterans in the Classroom program.
However, all the candidates feel they have contributions to make for continuing the Board’s first-rate performance. We agree. Although it was not an easy choice, we endorse Deborah Daniels for the seat.
Deborah Daniels retired from teaching in Citrus County schools in 2018. She stresses her relatively recent experience as a classroom teacher as well as her active participation in the local teacher union as strengths. Funding, she said, is always an issue in providing the tools and resources to teach both knowledge and critical thinking. Daniels agrees with others in the race that more counselors are needed in the schools. It’s critical to maintain a safe environment for teaching and learning, Daniels said, and referenced “safe storage” of firearms. She also said that, while school boards must follow the law, politicians shouldn’t be making the rules for schools because they “don’t understand what teaching is.”
Incumbent Linda Powers has been on the School Board for 18 years, and has wide experience in education. She is passionate about the need for sufficient mental health resources for students and staff. She supports hiring more counselors, social workers and psychologists who can help students as well as their families. Powers wants to keep the focus on excellence for all involved in young people’s education.
Joe Faherty is familiar to many from his years in the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office, his work with children and schools, and the Christmastime Shop with a Cop program. Currently, a resource officer at Withlacoochee Technical College, Faherty said his academic degrees in behavioral science and security management, plus working with youthful offenders, prepare him well. He said he believes in accountability, but gravitated first toward opportunities to talk. He supports having people with adolescent counseling experience in the schools, as well as parenting classes.
Unlike the other candidates, Mary Seader has not worked in a school system. She said that her work on Republican committees in two counties and her time on the campaign trail give her a good idea of what people are thinking. She opposes use of new technology in schools, as well as being against LGBTQ+ and “cross-dressing” in schools. Seader said her strength is that she stands up for what she believes in, and people know where she stands.
Citrus Chronicle, July 8, 2022