ON THE BALLOT: Your 2016 Guide to the Candidates

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It’s time to go to the polls and cast your vote for the person you believe is best suited as a candidate. In an effort to provide information for Lake and Sumter County voters, Style has gathered brief candidate profiles. However, those who are running unopposed or filed their candidacy after editorial deadlines will not appear here. Voting is a privilege and should never be taken lightly. Get to know the candidates, make an informed decision, and participate in a true democracy—go vote!


Lake County Commission, District 1

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Michael “Mike” Levine

HOME: Clermont
BORN: Aug. 17, 1958, Queens, New York
PROFILE: Mike owns and operates Century 21 World Properties and Certified Real Estate Investments, Inc. He has spent years volunteering and was on the East Central Florida Regional Planning Council 2012-2015.
CHILDHOOD: Moved to Orlando in 1963; played baseball, football, enjoyed surfing. He began working in restaurants at age 12, and graduated from FSU’s School of Business in 1980 with a major in hotel and restaurant administration.
FAMILY: Daughter, Lindsey; son-in-law, Keith, and two grandchildren, Sidney and Parks.
FUN FACT: After his granddaughter learned to play piano watching YouTube videos, Mike spends a few minutes daily brushing up his guitar skills.

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Timothy M. Loucks

HOME: Windermere
PROFILE: Has lived in Groveland since 2007. Worked at Reedy Creek Energy Services at Disney World for 26 years. Served on Groveland City Council since 2010.
CHILDHOOD: Moved to West Orange County when he was 2 months old. Attended community college and Clemson University and received a variety of certifications pertaining to his work for more than 20 years and is currently working on a degree in civil engineering.
FAMILY: Tim is married to Susan.
FUN FACT: Working to get a sustainable and affordable water source for Groveland’s current and future population is one of the many milestones Tim achieved during his time as a city official.

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Tim Sullivan

HOMETOWN: Gaffney, South Carolina, and moved to Lake County in 1969.
PROFILE: Spent 33 years in the military—including active duty, reserves, and the Army National Guard. Served as a county commissioner since 2012.
CHILDHOOD: Once held the Leesburg High School record for most points (42) scored in a single basketball game, and that was before the 3-point shot.
FAMILY: Married to his wife, Fran, for more than three decades, and they have two daughters, Bridget and Meagan, and two grandkids.
FUN FACT: He enjoys riding his Harley through the countryside of Lake and Sumter counties and is an admiral in the Great Navy of the State of Nebraska.


Lake County Commission, District 3

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Wendy Breeden

HOME: Leesburg
CHILDHOOD: Grew up in Leesburg, 1968 Leesburg High School graduate; was Miss Leesburg High School and in the Homecoming Court. Received a B.S. and M.S. from Florida State University.
PROFILE: Has worked in library systems in Winter Park, Orlando, Tavares, and for U.S. Naval Support Activity in Naples, Italy. Upon return to Florida, she was Library Coordinator for Lake County Board of Commissioners, Library Services Division Director, and Public Resources Department Director. A member of the 1995 class of Leadership Lake County.
FAMILY:  Married to Jim, and they have a son, Austin.
FUN FACT: Wendy belonged to the International Archaeological Society while living in Naples, Italy, and currently is on the board of directors for the Camellia Society of Central Florida.

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Jimmy Conner

HOME: Tavares
BORN: Sept. 27, 1954, in Leesburg
PROFILE: He is serving his second term on the Lake County Commission, and led as commission chairman in 2014 and 2015. Previous service positions were with the Lake County School Board and Tavares City Council.
CHILDHOOD: Growing up in Tavares, he was a Cub Scout and played football and baseball at Tavares High School. Many of his friends are people he has known since elementary school.
FAMILY: He and his wife of 31 years, Sherry, have four children, four grandchildren, and a beloved Labrador, “Annie.”
FUN FACT: Jimmy says he is committed to a daily devotional for guidance in his life.


Lake County Commission, District 5

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Josh Blake

HOME: Lady Lake
BORN: June 25, 1981, in Winter Park
PROFILE:  Received his B.A. in political science from the University of North Florida before working on Special Elections for the Republican Party of Florida. He has been a legislative aide to State Rep. Marlene O’Toole in the Florida House of Representatives for eight years. Serves on the Board of Directors for United Way of Lake and Sumter Counties, and is an alumnus of Leadership Lake County (2011).
FAMILY: Married to Jackie Blake, a speech therapist in the school system, and they are expecting twins this month, a boy and girl.
FUN FACT:  Josh plays bagpipes in “The Sounds of Scotland” pipe band.

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Welton Cadwell

HOME: Umatilla
BORN: Eustis
PROFILE: Welton was elected to the Lake County Commission in 1992 and is the longest-serving commissioner. He loves local government and feels more can be accomplished than at the state or federal level.
CHILDHOOD: His family owned grocery stores, and Welton worked in these grocery stores at a young age doing the jobs no one else wanted.
FAMILY: He and Barbara have been married more than 40 years and have four children and six grandchildren.
FUN FACT: As a child, Welton watched his father run unsuccessfully for a position as Lake County School Board member. That inspired his love for public service.

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Peter E. Tarby

HOME: Umatilla
PROFILE: Real Estate Broker, 31 years—TTG Associates & Consultants LLC, Florida League of Cities (past president, Lake County), past mayor of Umatilla, city council member since 2008.
CHILDHOOD: Grew up in Miami and graduated South Miami Senior High (1974)
FAMILY:  He and his wife, Cathie Sebree Tarby, have a son, Cory Tarby, and stepson, Allen Barto. Grandchildren are Teagan Barton, Carter Tarby, and they are expecting another.
FUN FACT: Spent two summers in New York City while his father ran the Florida pavilion at the New York World’s Fair from 1963 to 1964.


Lake County School Board, District 2

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Dr. Kristi Burns

HOME: Leesburg
BORN: Leesburg
PROFILE: She earned a doctor of chemistry degree from Georgia Tech while teaching college level chemistry classes.
CHILDHOOD: Kristi was raised in Mount Dora by two teachers and she graduated from Eustis High.
FAMILY:  She is a mother of four: A 9-year-old son, a 5-year-old daughter, 3-year-old twins (one boy and one girl), and a Labrador retriever. Her husband, Dr. Carlson Burns, made movies for Disney and DreamWorks Animation and now works for a Fortune 500 computer chip company working on video games
FUN FACT: She loves fostering kittens.

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Pernell Mitchell

HOME: Leesburg
BORN: Aug. 28, 1967, in Quincy
PROFILE: U.S. Air Force veteran is product of vocational training in Lake County. Graduated Lake-Sumter Community College, Law Enforcement Academy, and received four-year degree from Warner Southern University through satellite campus at the Public Safety Complex.
CHILDHOOD: Been in uniform since 3rd grade, starting as Cub Scout, Boy Scout, and Police Explorers to ROTC.
FAMILY: He and his wife, Ruby, have eight children, and 10 grandchildren.
FUN FACT: “Forrest Gump” is his favorite movie, which he has seen 10 times.

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Sandi Wells Moore

HOME: Leesburg
BORN: Leesburg
PROFILE: Her work has always involved community service; she’s currently executive director of Leesburg Chamber of Commerce.
FAMILY: Two sons, Justin, 15, a student at Leesburg High School; and Jacob, 12, a Carver Middle School student.
FUN FACT: “I once hit a large screech owl with my van, and when I realized it was still alive but not moving, I let me husband convince me to wrap it in a towel and bring it to him at the fire station to get help. Much to my and my boys’ surprise, the owl woke up with a loud screech and wings spread wide…thank goodness we were only a block from the station.”


Lake County School Board, District 4

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Lou (Lourdes) Buigas

HOME: Tavares
BORN: March 21, 1962, in Miami
PROFILE: Licensed building contractor and multiple business owner. She serves the community the following ways: City of Tavares Planning & Zoning Board; Lake Business Magazine Editorial Board; Lake County Arts & Cultural Alliance; Tavares Historical Society; Tavares Chamber of Commerce Board; Lake Eustis Museum Arts Board of Directors; Lake Tech Advisory Board
CHILDHOOD: As a child, I spent many hours at my family’s businesses. I developed a knack for customer service and strong work ethics.
FAMILY:  Married 33 years, and has one daughter and three grandchildren. Lou says she has experienced the Florida Public schools for three generations.
FUN FACT: She enjoys creating collages in her spare time.


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Sandy Gamble

HOME: Tavares
BORN: May 21, 1958, in Eustis
PROFILE: Lake County School Board appliance tech, pastor of Church of God of Prophecy in Tavares. Elected to Tavares City Council for four terms and appointed as mayor one term. Coached, umpired, and served as booster president at youth and high school level for over 20 years.
CHILDHOOD: Played baseball, football, basketball, and trumpet in the band. Loved to fish.
FAMILY: Wife Barbara, daughter Cassandra, son Corey married to Amber, and three grandchildren. Kayden, Nathaniel, and Kenzie.
FUN FACT: Sandy says he loved working with youth at Tavares Elementary School and participating in their past dinner theaters. He also loves to sing and play Christian music.

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James A. Myers

HOME: Sorrento
BORN: Omaha, Nebraska
PROFILE: James is a real estate lawyer with Bowen & Schroth, P.A. in Eustis.
CHILDHOOD: He grew up as a “city kid” in rural Iowa (town of 7,000 people). James was a Cub Scout and Boy Scout and was most often found at the swimming pool, tennis court, or climbing a tree.
FAMILY: James and his wife, Lori, have two children. Their daughter, Nola,14, will be a freshman next year at Mount Dora High School. Their son, Nile, 12, attends Mount Dora Middle School.
FUN FACT: In high school, James was selected to sing as a bass in the Iowa All-State Choir.


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Joan Marie Rintelmann

HOME: Rhinelander, Wisconsin; moved to Lake County 11 years ago.
PROFILE: An educator for 43 years—32 years in Wisconsin and 11 years in Lake County, teaching all levels, from preschool to college in small town, suburban, and urban settings.
CHILDHOOD: Her musician/civil servant father and community involved/homemaker mother gave her older sister and her an amazing, nurturing childhood filled with activities, family gatherings, and travel. The girls were encouraged to dream big and follow those dreams.
FAMILY: Joan shares her life with Lou and between them they have five daughters and 10 grandchildren.
FUN FACT: During her life travels, she has been to all 50 states and jumped from an airplane.


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Lake County Judge, Group 2

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Ben Boylston

HOME: Eustis
BORN: Aug. 23, 1981, in St. Petersburg
PROFILE: A founding partner of Stuart, Mount, & Boylston P.A., working out of the Tavares office. In his nearly 11 years as an attorney, he has practiced mostly criminal law and worked as a prosecutor and defense attorney.
CHILDHOOD: Growing up in Lake County, he was active in scouting.
FAMILY: Ben’s father, Richard “Red” Boylston, served as Lake County Judge for 20 years until 2010, and passed away in 2011. His mom and three of his four siblings live in Lake County.
FUN FACT: Ben can’t drive past a Popeye’s Chicken without pulling in to order something, whether he is hungry or not.

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Jonathan Paul Olson

HOME: Tavares
BORN: Nov. 5, 1969, in Fridley, Minnesota
PROFILE: Serves as assistant state attorney, assigned as a docket manager, and has taught trial techniques and evidence on the local, regional, state, and national level.
CHILDHOOD: Growing up on a Northwest Minnesota farm, he milked cows, threw hay bales, and was in 4-H. He also served as chapter president of FFA.
FAMILY: His wife, SaraJane Olson, is also an assistant state attorney. They have two children, PaulJon and Elizabeth, both Tavares High School students.
FUN FACT: He runs in 5K and triathlon events, and enjoys being involved in community theater at IceHouse Theater, Bay Street Players, and Melon Patch Theater.

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Cary Rada

HOME: Eustis
BORN: Elizabeth, New Jersey
PROFILE: Moved to Florida at age 7, and has been a Lake County attorney for more than 20 years. He served as an assistant state attorney for eight years, and was one of the first prosecutors assigned to Judge Donna Miller’s courtroom in 1995.
CHILDHOOD:  Cary was active in football, soccer, and as a teen he worked weekends and summers with his father in construction.
FAMILY: Cary and his wife Brandy have five boys, Christian, Christopher, Matthew, Andrew, and Ethan, and the family dog, Copper.
FUN FACT: He is a certified building contractor, and enjoys disc golf and other outdoor activities.


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Judy Ann Stewart

BORN:  Born and raised in Michigan. Moved to Florida in 1979.
PROFILE: Graduated from Mount Dora High School then attended Lake-Sumter State College before moving and graduating from Warner University and FAMU College of Law. She now practices primarily criminal law and family law.
FAMILY: She and her husband, Steve, have one daughter, Amanda. They are expecting their first grandchild in October.
FUN FACT: She currently has one dog and a grandpuppy.

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Brian Welke

HOME: Eustis
BORN: Jan. 5, 1965, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
PROFILE: He has practiced many different areas of law since 1997, and now to be limits his practice now to probate, estate planning, and adoptions.
CHILDHOOD: Growing up in the 1960s through the 1980s, he says he entertained himself by building forts in the woods and spending a lot of time on the lakes of central Florida.
FAMILY: He has been married to his wife Teresa for 28 years, and they have two sons, Chris, who is in the United States Air Force, and Alex, an entrepreneur.
FUN FACT: In his spare time, he enjoys researching military history.

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The Winds of Political Change

Believe it or not, there was a time when Lake County residents voted primarily for Democratic politicians. In 1964, Leighton Baker became the first Republican since the post-Civil War Reconstruction era to be elected to office in Lake County as a state representative. Leighton is the father of Carey Baker, who currently serves as Lake County Property Appraiser. Today, Supervisor of Elections Emogene Stegall is the only Democrat to hold a countywide office in Lake County. She was first elected to the position in 1972 and is retiring in 2017.


Lake County Supervisor of Elections

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Margie Eaton

HOME: Eustis
BORN: Jan. 9, 1964, in Winter Park; she moved to Lake County at age 8.
PROFILE: Margie works as a judicial assistant in Orange County. She received an AS degree in legal assisting from Lake-Sumter State College, and went back to college in 2008 to graduate summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in technical management from DeVry University, while working full-time and maintaining a 4.0 GPA.
CHILDHOOD: Growing up in Eustis, she treasures lasting friendships dating back to her youth.
FAMILY: Husband, Mike, and daughter, Ashley
FUN FACT: Margie is excited to become a new grandmother. Her first grandchild, a girl, is due mid-September.

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Christopher Flint

HOME: Leesburg
PROFILE: Worked for N2N Global in Longwood while in school 2011-2013 and earned a B.S. in computer science from the University of Central Florida. Currently works with CACI.
CHILDHOOD: Born in Orlando, grew up in Winter Garden. Attended Dillard Street Elementary, Lakeview Middle, and West Orange High schools.
FAMILY: Christopher and his wife Mikel have two children, Cayden, 3, and Carolyn, 2, both born in Clermont.
FUN FACT: Christopher has been interested in the elections process since he was a teenager. He was 13 during the 2000 election recounts and has followed politics since then.

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Alan Hays

HOME: Umatilla
BORN: Kentucky
CHILDHOOD: Grew up in Winter Garden and attended Lakeview High School.
PROFILE: Played college football at Connors State in Oklahoma. Served in the United States Coast Guard for four years. Received DMD degree from the University of Florida, a charter student at the College of Dentistry. Republican member of Florida State Senate, 11th District, since 2012, and represented the 20th District from 2010-12. Prior to that he had a private dental practice with patients from around Central Florida.
FAMILY: Alan and his wife Jeanne will celebrate their 50th anniversary in August. They have three daughters and seven grandchildren.
FUN FACT: A big fan of aviation, Alan Hays is an instrument-rated private pilot and once enjoyed the thrill of flying in the backseat in an F-15 fighter with the Florida Air National Guard.


class-buttonLake County was thrust into the national spotlight in 1994. That’s the year when three conservative Christian Lake County School Board members—Judy Pearson, Claudia Ramsey, and Pat Hart—passed a controversial policy forcing educators to teach students that American culture and values are superior to foreign cultures. The policy was eventually overturned when moderates took control of the School Board after Hart opted not to seek re-election in November 1994.
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Michael Holland

HOME: Eustis
BORN: September 16, 1964
PROFILE: He serves on the boards of Florida League of Cities, Alee Academy Charter School, and Lake County EMS. He chairs the operations committee for EMS, is an active member of Eustis Kiwanis Club, and is the current president of the Lake County League of Cities.
CHILDHOOD: He was involved in Cub Scouts, First Baptist Youth Choir, Eustis High School Football Team, Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
FAMILY: Proud to be third generation (along with surviving father and sisters) to call Eustis home.
FUN FACT: He loves spending time with family, friends and is an avid Florida State Seminoles’ fan.

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Scott Kirlin Larson

HOME:  Fruitland Park
BORN:  Southeastern Michigan
CHILDHOOD: Grew up in Detroit and moved to Central Florida more than 10 years ago. Attended Central and Western Michigan University and doctoral program at UCF.
PROFILE: Completed his doctoral program at the University of Central Florida. Has always been active in community service, specifically with the American Red Cross and spent a year out west with Guardian Angels establishing Neighborhood Watch programs.
FAMILY:  Married since August 2001, Scott and Beth are the proud parents of Nathan, 11, who attends St. Paul Catholic School, and Alice, 5, who is at Lake Montessori School.
FUN FACT: He helped develop the program with the University of Central Florida that gives graduates from Lake-Sumter State College a guaranteed pathway to a bachelor’s degree if they graduate with an AA or AS, the first program of its kind in the nation.


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Lake County Sheriff

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Charles Broadway

HOME:  Clermont
BORN:  Long Island, New York
CHILDHOOD: Brought up in a Christian home with one brother and two sisters. Mom was a hairstylist; dad worked for Grumman. Graduated from North Babylon High School in New York.
PROFILE: He began his career with the New York Police Department, was a detective and first responder on 9/11. He was a detective with the Gainesville Police Department and worked with Florida Department of Law Enforcement before becoming chief of police for Clermont.
FAMILY:  He has been married for 22 years, and met his wife at church on Long Island. He is father to four daughters.
FUN FACT: He has a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, a form of martial arts, and plans to keep working until achieving his black belt.


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Andres Obregon Jr.

HOME: Lady Lake
PROFILE: Andres has 29 years of law enforcement experience and has worked for the Lake County Sheriff’s Office. He has also served as a U.S. Border Patrol agent and an impact terrorism instructor.
CHILDHOOD: He fondly recalls going fishing and hanging out at Ski Beach.
FAMILY: Andres has four children: two boys ages 31 and 28, and 24-year-old twin daughters.
FUN FACT: Andres became a pro boxer at age 17. He once appeared on CBS Sports Spectacular. His last fight was at age 23.

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Peyton Grinnell

HOME: Lady Lake
BORN: Eustis
PROFILE: Peyton has been employed with the Lake County Sheriff’s Office for 23 years. He earned his way up the ranks to chief deputy. He also served in the United States Marine Corps from 1986 to 1991.
CHILDHOOD: Growing up, Peyton spent much of his time hunting and fishing. He also loved playing T-ball and Little League baseball.
FAMILY: Peyton has been married to his high school sweetheart, Jennifer, for 26 years. They have two children: Lauren and Blake.
FUN FACT: While serving in the Marine Corps, Peyton was involved in two helicopter crashes—both as a result of equipment malfunction.


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Daniel Lee Sells

HOME: Minneola
BORN: Columbus, Ohio
PROFILE: Daniel has 44 years’ experience in law enforcement in Ohio and with the Orange County Sheriff’s Office.
CHILDHOOD: Growing up, Daniel says his interests were sports and meeting girls. Also, he was passionate about his beloved 1957 Chevy and music—everything from the 1950s to ‘70s, Doo Wop, and rock ‘n roll. His all-time favorite singer is Elvis Presley.
FAMILY: He has three daughters and five grandchildren.
FUN FACT: Daniel cherishes his 1938 Chevy two-door Hot Rod and Harley-Davidson Dyna Wide Glide motorcycle.


Sumter County School Board, District 4

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Jennifer Boyett

HOME:  Webster
PROFILE: Jennifer Boyett is a tenured mathematics and statistics professor with Hillsborough Community College. She serves on the college’s Budget Committee. Jennifer also provides consulting services for the National Math and Science Initiative.
CHILDHOOD: Her family has been in central Florida for more than six generations. As the oldest of five children, she says she was raised to be honest, dependable, and work hard.
FAMILY: She and her husband Shane love ranching and being part of the agriculture world in Sumter County.
FUN FACT: Jennifer was into boxing in college; her favorite workout is line dancing.

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Rozanne P. Grady

HOME:  Bushnell
BORN:  March 3, 1962, in Morganton, North Carolina.
PROFILE:  A graduate of Lees-McRae College and Florida Atlantic University, with more than 31 years in public education.
CHILDHOOD:  Growing up, she as involved in student government, Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA), and Girl Scouts.
FAMILY:  She and her husband of 25 years, Patrick, are parents of Brittani and twins, Ashley and Brandon, all South Sumter High honors graduates.
FUN FACT:  Rozanne has been Volunteer of the Year for Sumter County Schools five times, a 4-H Leader for 11 years, and executive director-coordinator of the Sumter Community Action Partnership (C.A.P.), a drug-free coalition, since its inception.


Sumter County Superintendent of Schools

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Richard A. Shirley

BORN: Donaldsonville, Georgia
HOME: Webster
CHILDHOOD: Growing up in Sumter County, he was active in athletics, the science fair, FFA, and church activities.
PROFILE: He served as the Superintendent of Sumter County Schools since 1996, and was Florida’s 2013 “Superintendent of the Year.” He earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida, a master’s from the University of South Florida, and completed more than 50 hours of coursework toward a doctorate in educational leadership.
FAMILY: He and his wife of 38 years, also a longtime Sumter County educator, have two sons, two daughters-in-law, two granddaughters, and a grandson.
FUN FACT: He received a call from the White House and didn’t leave a teacher evaluation to answer the call.

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John Temple

HOME: Wildwood
CHILDHOOD: Lived in Wildwood since 1981. 1994 Wildwood High School graduate.
PROFILE: Attended Southeastern University and Nova Southeastern; 17 years in education—teacher, assistant principal, principal; Mathematics teacher, The Villages Charter School and McKeel Academy of Technology; Principal, Bushnell Elementary school, received “Exceeding Expectations Award” in third year (first school in the district to receive award); Principal, Wildwood Elementary School.
FAMILY: Married to Jessica Straughn Temple for 16 years. They are parents of 11-year-old Jenna Rae and 8-year-old Julia Payne. Works with children’s ministry and summer camp at his church, Heritage Community Church.
FUN FACT: Currently principal at the school he once attended years ago, and his goal is to reestablish the pride and excellence with support from the community, parents, teachers, and staff.

REP-buttonSumter is a strongly Republican voting county; almost 70% of the population is red. Democratic voters actually decreased from 36.1% to 32.3% from the 2008 to 2012 elections.

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