Updated Jul. 10, 2022; Jul. 23, 2022; Jul. 25, 2022
In this post, I share what I learned about the Collier County School Board candidates running in District 1: Kimberly Boobyer, Jerry Rutherford, and incumbent Jory Westberry. For each, I summarize their education and work experience, campaign platform, and campaign contributions, as well as what they say they would look for in choosing the District’s next superintendent. I also provide many opportunities for you to learn more.
If you are a Collier voter, you may vote in this election, regardless of where you live or your party affiliation. School Board members are elected in nonpartisan, at-large elections by all voters countywide. Every voter may vote for one candidate for each seat. Election Day is August 23.
Most of what I learned came from two School Board candidate forums and the candidates’ responses to my School Board candidate questionnaires. I encourage you to draw your own conclusions by watching and/or reading them yourself:
- Christian Conservative Coalition (CCC) Candidate Forum, May 21, 2022
- NABOR/Naples Better Government Candidate Forum, Jun. 21, 2022
- Sparker’s Soapbox Candidate Questionnaires
See also my previous post, The Collier County School Board Elections: Setting the Stage, where I reviewed the role of the School Board, why you should care, and information about the Collier County School Board and its Superintendent, Kamela Patton, and How I Research Candidates, on my website.
Kimberly Ann Boobyer
After graduating from high school, Boobyer, 53, worked in restaurant management and in the pharmaceutical/medical/home care industry. After moving to Naples, she apprenticed and became an assistant golf professional at Golden Gate Country Club.
Boobyer has homeschooled her 16-year-old daughter, who has Down syndrome, since 2014. She currently teaches and coaches golf and virtues with First Tee Program, and volunteers with Special Olympics.
“I am a proud American, conservative Christian Mama Bear. I am running for School Board because I am called to fight, not against flesh and blood, but against the spirit forces of wickedness. I will fight against the pervasive evil of indifference that ignores 38% of students that are failing English Language Arts and Math. I will pledge to restore academic excellence and traditional values.” (CCC Forum, timestamp 00:15:09)
Boobyer’s campaign is built around District students’ scores on statewide tests.
“Our education system has eroded and needs to be restored to its former glory,” she says on her website. “On average 38% of Collier County Public School students are not proficient in English Language Arts (ELA) & Math. Academic excellence for all students has taken a backseat in Collier County Public Schools and in schools across our nation and I want to bring it back.”
For context for this statement, including an explanation of Florida statewide testing, see my brief backgrounder, Florida Standards and Testing.
Boobyer is also a strong proponent of parental rights. “As a Collier County School Board member, she continues, “I will put students first and represent the parents and taxpayers of this county by respecting parent’s authority and spending the taxpayers hard earned money responsibly.”
Boobyer said she would look for these qualities in the next District Superintendent: leadership, integrity, knowledge, loyalty, decisiveness, and initiative… a team builder, an excellent communicator, someone that’s good at building morale among her staff, community liaison, a visionary…. focused on academic excellence and student achievement, fiscal responsibility, financial prudence, HR retention, and effective staffing. (NABOR Forum at 01:18:12)
- Website — kimberlyboobyerforschoolboard.com
- Facebook — Elect Kimberly Boobyer for Collier County School Board
- Campaign Contributions through 6/24/22
- Bob Hardin Show, Jun. 30, 2022, at timestamp 39:36–49:00
Jerry Rutherford, 85, moved to Southwest Florida from Orlando, FL, in 1982. After graduating high school, he had a 20+ year career in life insurance sales and a 20+ year career as a painting contractor. Rutherford says on his website that he became politically active upon moving here, serving as Chairman of Christian Coalition in Collier County in 1992 and 1993. He also founded and served as president for 10 years of World Changers of Florida, a local Christian organization that distributes free Bibles to high school students, and served for 16 years in prison ministries.
Rutherford was a CCPS substitute teacher for three years, and participated in the 2005-2006 state textbook review committee. He attended School Board meetings for 35 years and addressed the Board more than 300 times during Public Comments.
“Rectitude. Reliability. Resilience.” proclaims Rutherford’s website.
“In today’s world,” he says, “Leftists afflict others using illogical arguments with their own terms invading our schools system. When in fact, they are attacking gender and truth with their own cys-phobic ideology.” He wants to “reinstate American culture in the classroom” and “return the educational system to reflect the philosophy of the Founders.”
“Aside from what Jerry’s platform represents,” according to his website, “you can count on his support on these core issues:”
- “Cameras in the classroom. This is for the teachers and the parents to see our K-12 in progress.”
- “Patronage + Flag. The only flags in any classroom are the United States of America and Florida State flags. All others are ideology flags and forms of indoctrination upon impressionable minds.”
- “American Exceptionalism. Eliminate Leftist Anti-American propaganda from the classroom.”
Asked at the NABOR Forum how the School Board could be working to improve teacher pay and retention, he said, “I have a plan. I don’t tell you what my plan is because if I put it out there, then everybody is going to know about it. I want to implement it, but I can’t implement it on the outside, and I’m not going to share it on the outside.” (NABOR Forum at 00:41:32)
Rutherford would look for these qualities in the next District Superintendent: honesty, integrity, ability to work with the school board. “They need to know what the problems are here before they get here so that they’ll know how to attack it.” A track record. “A good background check.” (NABOR Forum at 01:16:29)
- Website — jerryrutherford.com
- Facebook — facebook.com/jerry.rutherford.31
- Campaign Platform Video
- Campaign Contributions
- Christian activist group joins fight to distribute Bibles on school grounds, Naples Florida Weekly, 7/15/10
- Collier school district, local Christian group reach agreement about bible distribution, Naples Daily News, 9/2/10
- Man wants prayer at school board meetings, FOX4now.com, 5/10/16
- Endorsements: Collier County Republicans; Alfie Oakes
Jory Westberry, Incumbent
Jory Westberry, 73, has a BA in Elementary Education, an M.Ed. in Educational Administration, and a Doctor of Education with Honors from the University of Miami. She is also a graduate of Leadership Marco, Leadership Collier and Leadership Florida.
A lifelong educator, Westberry taught in CCPS elementary and middle schools, winning the prestigious Golden Apple Teacher award. She then served for 14 years as assistant principal and principal at Tommie Barfield Elementary School on Marco Island. After retiring in 2015, she became a mentor to new teachers and, in 2018, ran for the School Board.
Westberry is running for reelection based on her experience as an educator. “I am ‘life-time’ committed to providing the best education I can for students,” she says on her website. “Excellent education is my mission and the reason I ran for the Collier County School Board.”
Addressing the current state of affairs in the District, she says, “Over the past months there has been a vocal minority that disrupts school board meetings, not only in Collier County, but coordinated across the US, ostensibly to make changes in policies and procedures. However, most of the policies and procedures they want to change are controlled by the State of Florida, the Florida Department of Education and the Federal Government. I will follow the laws.”
Westberry would look for these qualities in the next District Superintendent: experience at K-12, a background in education, integrity, and communicate fairly with all. (NABOR Forum at 01:19:20)
- Website — jorywestberry.com
- Facebook – Jory Westberry for CCPS School Board District 1
- Twitter — @VoteWestberry
- LinkedIn — Jory Westberry
- Campaign Contributions
- Endorsements — Naples Better Government; Collier TIGER
Here are the monetary contributions and expenditures reported by each candidate according to their most recent campaign treasurer’s reports:
For details, download files at the above “Campaign Contribution” links.
I reviewed all the campaign contribution reports online on Jul. 6, 2022. Of interest:
- Boobyer received a $1,000 contribution from 2016 School Board candidate Louise Penta.
- Rutherford received a $1,000 contribution from Francis “Alfie” Oakes and $500 from former Collier County Commissioner Tom Henning.
Each of the three candidates has different skills, abilities, work and life experience, values, and views of the role of government.
If a candidate receives more than 50 percent of the votes cast, she/he will be the winner. If not, the top two vote getters will face off in the general election in November.
I urge all Collier voters to register and vote in this important election. If you have questions about any of the candidates, I urge you to contact them directly. If you have questions or need additional information about the election itself, visit the Collier County Supervisor of Elections website or call 239-252-8683.