Candidate Guest Opinion: Derrick Donnell


My educational philosophy is best summarized by a quote from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. which reads “The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.”

An important function of the Lee County School Board is to ensure that all policies that we enact are done so with the full understanding that these decisions will positively impact all children. The school board must gain the confidence, respect and trust of the entire community. Prior to my decision to run for this position, and even more so now, it was evident that there is a distinct disconnect between the school board and the community for which we serve.

I firmly understand that there is a direct correlation between the strength of our school system and the strength of our community. More simply put, the stronger our school system, the stronger our work force. The stronger our work force, the safer our community. The safer our community, the greater the probability of increased property values. Another major challenge facing the Lee County School Board is the budget.

Having been elected to two terms as a Cape Coral city councilman, there was no greater public interest than that of the budget. Not only do I understand this interest, but I also firmly believe that the budget of any institution in which the taxpayer is the main funding source, should be as lean and efficient as possible. It is incumbent upon us to work with the community to identify the educational needs of all children.

After we establish this monetary figure, we must work with our state, county, local officials and our community to identify sustainable revenue sources that will ensure that we create and maintain a world class school system.

Finally, the Lee County School Board has to work with the community and the superintendent to establish policies and that will increase the retention of highly effective and effective school teachers. As a life-long educator, I understand that the most important factor that impacts student achievement is a caring and educated teacher.

With fewer and fewer people choosing teaching as a career, it is imperative that we solve this issue now. As a strong supporter of public education I want to conclude by asking you to answer this fun yet relevant question—who was your favorite teacher?


Derrick Donnell
Candidate for Lee County School Board District 7