Putnam County School Board, District 5

This race is nonpartisan, open to all voters

Voter's Guide thin header

Two candidates are seeking the votes for Putnam County School Board, District 5.

News4Jax sent a questionnaire to each candidate asking about their background and their views on several issues. Scroll down to read the responses of those seeking your vote -- in their own words.

Note: Responses are sorted alphabetically and are presented exactly as submitted, with no editing by News4Jax staff.


Phil Leary

Occupation: Land Use Consultant/Realtor

Age: 66

Your family: I have a dughter and a Son and firve Grandaughters.

Education: Bahelor of Science -University of Florida

Political experience: Former Palatka City Commisssioner and former USDA Rural Development State Director

What do you see as the top three issues you’ll likely face while holding this office?

  • Teacher recruitment & retention
  • Instruction/Curriculum
  • School Funding/Budget

“Parental rights” has recently become a law in Florida and a political buzzword. What does that concept mean to you and how would it affect your decisions on the school board?

  • “Parental Rights” means supporting the direct involvement of, and providing opportunities for parents in the District School Sysytem. .

How would you balance new state laws and guidelines restricting how history, gender identity and civics can be taught in public school classrooms with the need to educate children in a complex 21st Century society?

  • I support the legislation passedin the 2022 Legislative Session and signed by the Governor. And, as a School Board member I will work diligently to assure all State Education Statutes and Rules are being followed.

Outline your ideas to address teacher shortages and morale.

  • First, there has to be increaes in Teacher compesation and support. Second, chronic disiplne problems must be eliminated and removed from th classroom, allowing Teahers to teach. Third, establish a program in local High Schools for those students wanting to be teachers, and implementing a career cirriculum and scholarship program. Investing in future Teachers that want and willl stay in the community.

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

  • By utilizing my combination of education, experience in Local, State and Federal government and the private sector, having served as a City Commissioner and USDA Rural Development Agency State Director,. Being a life-long and permanent resident of the county, having raised two childen who are gradduates of our School District and being a former PTA President. I understand the challenges the School District is facing and I am totally to improve and sustain excellemnce in education, and believe that challenges become opportunities with hard work.

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

  • For Initiating and enhancing Health Science and Family Planning instruction and education that will work to reverse generational poverty.

Campaign website: (No response)

Campaign’s social media site(s): Phil Leary for Putnam County School Board, District 5

Kevin Whitlow

This candidate has not responded to email and telephone invitations to submit the News4Jax candidate questionnaire.