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Now browsing: Hometown News > Election > Martin County

Candidates discuss campaign for school board
Rating: 3.01 / 5 (71 votes)  
Posted: 2012 Jul 27 - 00:58

By Samantha Joseph

Staff writer

MARTIN COUNTY - When voters go to the polls to elect a replacement for outgoing representative Sue Hershey, they will find three candidates with long ties to the county vying for the District 2 seat on the Martin County School Board.

Healthcare special project coordinator Marsha Powers, attorney Tony George and nonprofit founder Jeffrey S. Ralicki are campaigning for the leadership role in the highly rated school district.

Mr. Ralicki is a licensed social worker who helped form Palm City-based Tykes & Teens in 1996 to help children and their families deal with drug abuse, domestic violence, suspension from school and other issues.

Ms. Powers said she wants to restore "civility" to the board. When the incumbent announced last January she would not seek re-election, she cited a hostile working relationship as the key reason for leaving the position she held since 1990.

Mr. George, too, said he'd work on team building among board members and focus on reducing lawsuits to return focus to students.

Hometown News does not endorse any candidates for political office, but instead, provides information about each candidate for voters to make an educated decision.

Name: Jeff Ralicki

Occupation: Executive director of Tykes & Teens

Age: 43

Spouse and children: Married 20 years to Amanda. Children are Ian, 16 and Aidan, 15

Q: Do you have school-age children?

A: I have two school-age children who attend South Fork High School.

Q: How long have you lived in Martin County?

A: 30 years

Q: Why did you decide to run?

A: My entire professional career has been centered on advocating for what is in the best interest of Martin County children. After co-creating and managing Tykes & Teens for the past 16 years, running for school board is the next logical step.

Q: What are the top two priorities you plan to address?

A: Achieving a balanced budget and handling human resources, including lawsuits.

Q: What are the other central issues of your campaign?

A: In these difficult economic and political times, creative and innovative ideas need to occur to move the board to a more productive level. Successful collaboration has been a major cost-saving technique for me in running a nonprofit, and I hope to bring that to the school board.

Q: What makes you the most qualified candidate?

A: For the past 16 years I have made it my mission to ensure that the most vulnerable children in Martin County have access to the mental health services they need to grow into healthy, productive and educated adults. I am now looking to further advocate for the children of Martin County as a candidate for school board District 2.

My experience as co-creator and founding executive director of non-profit agency Tykes & Teens has provided me a wealth of knowledge regarding the creation and management of a multi-million dollar budget; effective and responsible use of taxpayer money; successful motivation and management of staff; and skillful navigation of state bureaucracy to ensure a positive outcome for our client/students, while adhering to strict regulations and standards.

This experience, coupled with a passion for ensuring that every child in Martin County has the tools to achieve their full potential, makes me an ideal school board member.

Contact information

E-mail: jeffralicki@gmail.com

Phone: (772) 220-3439

Other: www.facebook.com/pages/Jeff-Ralicki-for-Martin-Co-School-Board-District-2-seat/274725905931578.

Name: Marsha Powers

Occupation: Administrative coordinator/special projects learning and organizational development department at Martin Health System

Age: 44

Spouse and children: I have been married to my husband, Kevin, for 20 years. We have three children, Sarah, Paul and Meg.

Q: Do you have school-age children?

A: Yes. Sarah is in the10th grade, Paul is in the eighth grade and Meg is in sixth.

Q: How long have you lived in Martin County?

A: I was born and raised in Martin County and attended Martin County public schools from kindergarten through 12th grade. After graduating from college, my husband I lived in several areas of Florida before returning to Martin County to raise our family.

Q: Why did you decide to run?

A: The main reason I am running for the District 2 school board seat is for the children of Martin County. The board has become ineffective, and it is time to return respect and civility. After years of watching the dysfunction that exists, I felt strongly that it was time for change. I look forward to utilizing my leadership skills, strong ties to the community and business background to restore the working relationships among the board and superintendent.

Q: What are the top two priorities you plan to address?

A: My top two priorities are the budget and returning respect and civility to the board.

Q: What are the other central issues of your campaign?

A: My other central issues are improving employee morale and regaining the respect that has been lost through the dysfunction of the current school board.

Q: What makes you the most qualified candidate?

A: I offer years of business experience in both the corporate world and as a small business owner. I am invested in the community through our children, my commitment to community service and my passion for education. I offer a fresh, unbiased, professional approach to the challenges and opportunities facing our school system.

Contact Information

Email: powersforschoolboard@comcast.net

Phone: (772) 260-6891

Website: www.powersforschoolboard.com

Other: Facebook www.facebook.com/MarshaPowersForMartinCountySchoolBoard.

Name: Tony George

Occupation: Elder law attorney and business owner

Age: 50

Spouse and children: Karla, wife. Children: Satyra, 21; Chandler, 16 Dale, 4.

Q: Do you have school-age children?

A: Chandler is a junior at Clarke Advanced Learning Center, our county's charter public school. He will be in the class of 2014. Dale will attend Port Salerno Elementary starting in the fall of 2013. He will be in the class of 2026.

Q: How long have you lived in Martin County?

A: Since 1971

Q: Why did you decide to run?

A: The main reasons I am running for the Martin County School Board District 2 seat are my two sons, Chandler and Dale. Chandler, in the fall, begins his junior year at Clark Advanced Learning Center and will be in the class of 2014. Dale will begin at Port Salerno Elementary School in August 2013 and will be in be in the class of 2026. I want my children to receive a better education than the great education I received from the Martin County School District.

When elected, I will restore a civil atmosphere to school board meetings. The current school board and superintendent, all elected by us, have been in a protracted conflict. The board and superintendent focus little time on emerging needs in our schools.

I previously served on the school board for two terms. I was elected in 1992 and in 1996. Throughout that time, whatever our differences, we as a board and superintendent worked together to improve our children's education.

In the 1990s, we responded to the first FCAT school grades when four of our schools were D graded. We, as a team, increased assistance to teachers and lowered classroom sizes. All four schools have since risen to A graded schools. We worked together to establish a 5 percent reserve in the operating budget. I led the school board in establishing the district's student dress code.

Finally, as a parent who is an attorney, I will work with the board and superintendent to reduce the escalating litigation and legal fees the school district is incurring. I will reduce the legal fees to their historic levels and return the dollars to the classroom.

Q: What are the top two priorities you plan to address?

A: Restore a professional atmosphere to school board meetings while building a team of the superintendent and school board members.

Q: What are the other central issues of your campaign?

A: Proven experience, fiscal conservative, a collaborator and team builder.

Q: What makes you the most qualified candidate?

A: I have brought boards together before, including the school board, the Children Services Council and the Health Planning Council. I am master school board-certified by the Florida School Board Association. I will bring my skills of slowing down the discussion and working toward a unified mission as a team. I will restore civility to an elected body dedicated to our children's education.

My education consists of: certified master school board member, Florida School Board Association, 1996, juris doctorate, University of Florida, 1989, certification for ministry, University of the South: Sewanee School of Theology, 1986, bachelor of arts, University of Florida, 1983, high school diploma, Martin County High School, 1980.

Contact information

E-mail: adgim@aol.com

Phone: (772) 286-2200

Website: www.facebook.com/pages/Tony-George-for-School-Board-District-2/205163442940004.

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