Positively Osceola published an article that featured the six women who are running for the school board in Osceola County, a first for the school district. There are two men also running for seats on the school board, Will Fonseca, who is running for the District 4 seat, and Jim Nickles, who is running for the District 1 seat. We want to make sure we give them an opportunity to share who they are and why they are running as well.
Although I am not a native Floridian, I am a 30 year resident of Osceola County, District 1. My wife, Laura and I have raised 2 amazing children here within the County. My Daughter Amanda is a graduate of Celebration High School and works in hospitality while my son Jack is a recent graduate of Gateway High School where his mother is a chemistry teacher. He is currently serving in the U.S. Coast Guard.
I have worked in hospitality for over 40 years, allowing me to meet many people from around the world, travel around the Country and experience different cultures and diversity within our Country. For those of us that have been in the Kissimmee area for some time, you may remember me as one of the few original Big Bamboo bartenders.
I have been provided with many opportunities locally to serve our children – As an Orange County Public School teacher and industry services coordinator for what is now Orange Technical College, adult leadership in the Boy Scouts of America, U.S. Naval Sea Cadets and Pop Warner Cheer programs. I also currently serve on the Orange Technical College Lodging Program board.
Community involvement is something I truly believe in. Locally, I serve on the Osceola Tourism Council as vice-chair, the West 192 Development Authority board, co-created the West 192 Safety group and Orlando Mayor’s Veterans Advisory Council.
As the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla Commander for Osceola County, I lead our Flotilla in which our members provide boating safety checks, lake clean ups and most importantly teach boating safety to adults and children within our County. I am also the Coast Guard agency representative and Situation Unit Branch Director at the Osceola Emergency Operations Center.
I am running for school board to continue my service to our community and most importantly our most valuable asset, our children. The school board needs members that are even keeled, can maintain professionalism, listen to all concerns of the parents, teachers, students and stakeholders and be the leaders in creating solutions to make positive changes that will assure student success.
Osceola County is where I met my high school sweetheart Lucy, who became my wife. We both graduated from Gateway High School, Go Panthers! Osceola County is where we raised my three children, my son Ryko, my daughter Leilany, and my niece Jasmin, who I have raised through her high school years. Leilany has recently been blessed with being accepted to the Osceola County School for the Arts.
My father has worked in the electrical and construction field for more than 30 years, and my mother has devoted the last 20+ years of her life working for the Osceola Council on Aging. In my free time, I partner with her to help seniors visiting for the day and sometimes deliver meals on wheels to the seniors at home.
I have coached local youth organizations for about 15 years and have sat on various boards in the city, county and the school district. I have always been involved through community service with organizations such as Special Olympics and the Council on Aging. My older brother Frankie has been an athlete for the Special Olympics since I was a young kid and serves as an inspiration for my entry into coaching. To be completely honest, I can say that my brother instilled the passion of service in me as there are always people in society who are less fortunate and can use a hand up. With Special Olympics, I have volunteered as a partner, coach, and committee member.
In recent years I have sat on the Osceola County School District SRO School Resource Officer Task Force, Osceola County Charter Review Board, and the City of Kissimmee’s Board of Adjustments. My professional experience includes business management, consulting, insurance, marketing, investing, and real estate. I have worked with people in helping improve their credit scores and financial standing to qualify for mortgages and have managed businesses with a multi-million-dollar budget. I have been blessed and would like to pass on that experience by working for you on the school board. I believe in being student-focused with a common-sense business approach.
I feel that my commonsense approach to finding solutions and my lifelong commitment to the community, will not only benefit our students, but our district and our county. Our students, parents and our teachers deserve the best, and I intend to deliver that. I humbly ask and hope that you support me as I embark on this journey.
Thank you and God bless you.