Hear from the candidates running for the next superintendent of Lee County Schools

Author: Annette Montgomery
Published: Updated:

For the first time since the 1970s, Lee County voters will vote for the next superintendent of Lee County Schools. When you cast your ballot on November 5, either Victor Arias or Denise Carlin will become the elected superintendent of Lee County Schools to serve a 4-year term ending in 2028.

WINK News Anchor Annette Montgomery sat down with both candidates and walked through their plan of action and the personal and professional experience that has prepared them for this role.

Victor Arias was born in the Dominican Republic and has seven brothers and sisters. He’s an attorney in the area and said he has a lot of experience that can translate well to the role of Lee County Schools Superintendent.

“I was the staff attorney for two superintendents for seven years. So, that’s where I have gotten all of my that school experience directly from two superintendents. While they were there, they helped their school districts during that time period. So, I believe that all of that has prepared me for this position,” Arias said.

Denise Carlin is a retired Lee County educator who spent 32 years in the district. She said she knows the ins and outs of the district and what changes need to be made.

“I am a 32-year educator, I retired almost a year ago from the school district of lee county. I was a teacher; I was a principal and then worked my way up to chief of staff. “I know where our strengths are, I know where our challenges are and some people say they can hit the ground running on day 1, I truly can,” Carlin said.

Both candidates said they’re ready and excited to take on the position, and they have a few ideas in mind for their plan of action and the changes they want to see in the district.

“Education is my life’s work and I’m really excited about this campaign because it gives us an opportunity to make some changes that I think have been needed for many years. I have many priorities, but I’ve narrowed them down to 5. Safe and secure schools, increasing student achievement, increasing teacher recruitment and retention, ensuring fiscal responsibility, empowering the voices of our parents,” Carlin said.

“A lot of politics has been going into the school into the classroom. And I don’t think that’s correct.  I think the classroom should be for teaching, I think the parents should have access. And I think the educators should have the liberty and freedom to teach what’s appropriate, and the curriculum that exists,” Arias said.

Both candidates spent a large part, if not the majority of their lives here in Lee County. They both have two children and they both said they are focused on empowering the students and making sure parents have a voice.

“I can relate to all the parents, the students, and definitely all the educators. All these experiences growing up in different states, growing up in a different country, speaking Spanish, and serving and helping people as an attorney, has allowed me to gain a lot of experience,” Arias said.

“I spent 32 years in the school district building those relationships, they know who I am, and they know what they’re getting, and I think that’s important,” Carlin said.

Voters will cast their ballot on November 5th.

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