There will be at least one new member on the Collier County School Board in 2018, as Erika Donalds will not be seeking re-election this year.
Donalds, who was first elected to the board in 2014, said in a Facebook post she wished to spend more time with her family as part of the decision not to run again.
“I have decided not to seek another term on the Collier County School Board this year. I appreciate all of the kind words and encouragement for me to continue to serve,” Donalds wrote. “I really wish I could, but I know it is time for me to focus on other roles in my life which only I can fulfill – being a supportive wife to Byron, and a devoted mom to Damon, Darin, and Mason.”
Donalds is married to Florida Rep. Byron Donalds, who represents District 80 which covers Hendry and eastern Collier County and was elected in 2016. She was also appointed to the Florida Constitution Revision Commission last year.
Since joining the board in 2014, Donalds, along with Kelly Lichter, formed a conservative bloc on the board which advocated fiscal restraint, expanded school choice, greater parental involvement within the district, and called for greater transparency within the district’s processes.
The divide occasionally created friction over sensitive issues on the board with Donalds and Lichter coming up at odds with the rest of the board at times, and even though Donalds won’t be on the board after this year, she implies that she’ll still be around.
“God has a part for each of us to play in ensuring the next generation is prepared to carry the torch,” Donalds wrote. “I will continue in this movement, in some way or another!
There are currently two candidates seeking Donalds’ soon to be open District 3 in 2018: realtor Jen Mitchell, and Kathy Ryan, who lost to Donalds in 2014 in a run-off election.
Three seats are up for election in 2018. Roy Terry has declared he will run and has drawn a challenger in Mary Ellen Cash in District 5. Lichter, the incumbent in District 1, has not yet filed paperwork for re-election. So far Jory Westberry is the only declared candidate in that district.
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