Two semiretired community activists are seeking the District 4 seat on the School Board.
Republican Patience Nave, who ousted 12-year School Board member David Watson from the seat in the October primary runoff, now faces Democrat Jackie Evans.
Both women focus on their experiences and their interest in preparing students for the challenges of the next century.
Evans, 67, said she has always wanted to serve in public office, but the time was never right until now. Her interest was piqued this year when she campaigned unsuccessfully to have the school superintendent appointed rather than elected.
She is a retired paralegal and works as a mediator for the Citrus County courts. Evans has a bachelor's degree from the University of Miami and has done graduate work in management and community counseling.
She has been active in a variety of community groups, including the American Association of University Women, the League of Women Voters and Citrus 20/20.
Evans has also been involved with the schools as a PTA member and a mentor and has served on the Teen Pregnancy Task Force. Eight of her 11 grandchildren attend Citrus schools.
Evans has been campaigning for more parental involvement in the education process.
"If we could somehow start growing good parents, so much of what we wring our hands about and cry over every day would go away," she said.
"Another passion of mine is that every child needs to read before they leave elementary school," Evans said.
Evans also said she is a team player who thinks School Board members must have mutual respect in order to get the job done. "We don't have to necessarily like each other, but I think that we need to understand each other . . . and respect each other," she said.
A four-year resident of the county, Evans said the school district needs to do more to research how other school systems are solving the same sorts of problems facing Citrus schools. "There are good schools out there, and we need to share with one another," she said.
Nave, 65, moved to Citrus County seven years ago with plans to retire after several years of teaching overseas. "But I had too much energy and interest," so Nave got involved in a number of local projects, including Citrus 20/20, the Republican Party and working as a community college instructor.
That teaching experience gave her some of the push necessary to run for the School Board.
"I am deeply disturbed by the quality of graduates we turn out," she said. Nave has also campaigned on the need to give students a more worldwide view in their lessons.
In addition to teaching overseas and at the community college level, Nave has been a secretary to the president of a large corporation in Raleigh, the owner and operator of a small bookstore in Kentucky and an administrative secretary in the Western Kentucky University English Department. She has both bachelor's and master's degrees in English from Western Kentucky.
Discipline problems in the classroom are another of Nave's concerns. She said ideally the district needs a free-standing alternative school but may not be able to afford it. Whatever alternative program is designed for the county's disruptive children, it should be punishment and not a place students would want to be sent, she said.
Because of Nave's active involvement in her church and some elements of her platform that mirror issues raised by the Christian Coalition, Nave has responded to persistent questions about her membership in that politically active group. She said she is not a member.
She favors an opt-in approach to difficult subjects such as sex education and is not a fan of the self-esteem building programs that have been controversial in recent years.
Instead of making students feel good about themselves, the schools should focus on teaching them needed skills and allowing the self-esteem to be a natural outgrowth of those successes, she said.
Nave also said she believes that evolution, which is taught in school as a science, is actually a philosophy just as creationism is a philosophy. She said that if schools are teaching one possibility of how the world was created, then all philosophies, including creationism, should be included.
School Board District 4
Where the candidates stand
Question Jackie Evans Patience Nave
Do you favor Approach them with May take away
charter school? care local control
Do you support Opposed Opposed
Does the district Supports alternative Supports alternative
need alternative schools schools
How should Pay as we go. Supports seeking bonds
construction be or loans
Should students Opt in. Opt out
opt in or opt out of
such as sex education?