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Duval County School Board, District 7

District 7 covers Mandarin and Baymeadows

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Four of seven seats on the Duval County School Board are up for election this year. These are nonpartisan races that will appear on the August primary ballot and if no candidate gets more than 50% of the vote, the two with the most votes will face off in November.

Incumbent Lori Hershey is facing two challengers: Matt Schellenberg and John Turner in District 7, which covers Mandarin and Baymeadows.

Scroll down to read each candidate’s responses to News4Jax’s questionnaire, presented verbatim as submitted.


Lori Hershey

Party affiliation: Race is NPA

Age: 56

Candidate’s family: Husband: Scott Hershey (married 31 years) 4 children: Andrew, Victoria, Joshua, Hope

Occupation: Real Estate Agent

Education: B.A. Stetson University, Masters Public Administration, American Public University

Political experience: 1 Term School Board

What do you see as the top three issues in this race?

  1. Reading/literacy & Ensuring students have the resources they need to succeed.
  2. Expansion of Career-Technical Education
  3. Health Safety & School Security

How can you help voters in a way that others running for this office cannot?

Experience and proven leadership is what sets me a part from my opponets. During my first term on the School Board, I served as Vice-Chair during the superintendent search which resulted in the hiring of Dr. Greene. As Chairwoman I led on the fight to improve school facilities. I have a proven track record for standing up to special interests and standing up for students. My experience in leading public education extends to the state and national levels. I am on the Board of Directors for the Florida School Board Association and The Council of Great City Schools. I have earned the designation of Certified Board Member which is held by only 28% of Board Members in the State of Florida.

What would you hope to be remembered for accomplishing after serving in this office?

Increased student achievement & becoming an A District.

Leading the board to develop a plan with a specific timeline to move off the river.

Transformation of our school facilities.

Strong Career Technical Education.

If elected how would you address the calls for racial justice?

I have listened and will continue to listen. I will continue to press for students to have the resources they need to succeed. I will continue to work on board policy that ensures equity.

What challenges does COVID-19 present to the office you are seeking?

COVID-19 forced us to reimagine public education quickly. Many of the pending decisions will be made prior to the election regarding the reopening of schools. I believe the ongoing issues will be when will we be able to resume a more normal school routine? The other challenges include extracurricular activities, student achievement, and student learning loss.

Campaign website: votehershey.com

Campaign’s social media pages: Facebook | Twitter


Matt Schellenberg

Party affiliation: Republican

Age: 67

Candidate’s family: Wife and 2 children

Occupation: Business Owner for 28 years

Education: BS from Florida

Political experience: City Council 8 years, Term Limited

What do you see as the top three issues in this race?

  1. Promoting educational equality for Jacksonville’s youth and leaders of tomorrow
  2. Developing a sustainable education model to better train a dynamic workforce for our city
  3. Demanding financial responsibility for our $1.7B budget to ensure quality education for the future

How can you help voters in a way that others running for this office cannot?

Through my experience on City Council, I have proven to be a change agent with a record of adapting the community needs into tangible action. I spearheaded the City's health insurance budget reduction, saving Jacksonville's taxpayers $20 million annually. Duval County Schools need these kind of tangible results and I can deliver. Further, my financial expertise and experience as a business owner will enable me to streamline our budget. Innovative thinkers like me can find ways to do more with the $1.7B budget so we can achieve more together.

What would you hope to be remembered for accomplishing after serving in this office?

Our school Board and I have the opportunity to lead the development of a more equitable, sustainable education model. By doing this, we can enable Jacksonville's youth to become the dynamic workforce of the future. These challenging times call for forward thinking solutions by delivering components of quality education in new remote learning environments.

If elected how would you address the calls for racial justice?

The foundation of equality for all starts at a quality of education. Education should not be based on your income, your zip code or the color of your skin. I will focus on raising the standards for all children to train our youth into successful citizens with productive futures.

What challenges does COVID-19 present to the office you are seeking?

COVID 19 has had unprecedented impacts on our young people, their families and the educational system. We need innovative leaders who can help transform our living rooms into classrooms and keep our youth headed toward success. Within Duval County's budget we can

find opportunity technology solutions for all students who need them and the training and support for teachers who are now assuming unexpected responsibilites.

COVID 19 has also impacted how I garner feedback from the community. As a city councilman, I learned the most important duty of public service is to listen to the needs of the community.

In light of COVID 19, my team and I are using technology to connect with constituents and listen to their needs. Please visit our Facebook page—we would love to hear from you.

Campaign website: mattforschoolboard.com

Campaign’s social media pages: Facebook


John Turner

Party affiliation: NP

Age: 59

Candidate’s family: Married 35 yrs, three children

Occupation: Retired, U.S. Navy

Education: Some college

Political experience: (no answer)

What do you see as the top three issues in this race?

  1. Expose the lies told by the school board regarding the half-cent sales tax.
  2. Audit the school board for waste, fraud, and abuse.
  3. End discrimination in the classroom.

How can you help voters in a way that others running for this office cannot?

I have a website that exposes the lies and false information being spread by the school board and I have plan to get DCPS back on track.

What would you hope to be remembered for accomplishing after serving in this office?

I was an honest and hardworking school board member who actually improved the quality of education while reducing property taxes.

If elected how would you address the calls for racial justice?

Return to traditional phonics in first grade and provide extensive remedial training for students who are falling behind in reading skills.

What challenges does COVID-19 present to the office you are seeking?

Schools must open as scheduled. Failure to open schools due to COVID-19 is an excuse by the liberal school board and the teacher's union so as to hurt the re-election chances of President Trump. It has very little to do with the health of students and teachers.

Campaign website: turnerforschoolboard.com

Campaign’s social media pages: turnerforschoolboard@comcast.net


The Jacksonville Public Education Fund hosted virtual candidate forums for each of the School Board races. Watch the District 7 forum below.

School Board Candidate Forum District 7

Attention, Mandarin! Learn more about the candidates running to represent YOU on the Duval County School Board - Lori Hershey and Mat Schellenberg. Please share with the school communities you know are in the Mandarin area. Kids can't vote, but you can. Primary is August. 18. Special thanks to Melissa Ross of First Coast Connect with Melissa Ross for co-moderFirst Coast YMCA More at jaxpef.org/school-board. Duval County Council of PTAs

Posted by Jacksonville Public Education Fund on Thursday, July 16, 2020