No Bull, No Fluff, No Smudges
Your news source for
Flagler, Florida and Beyond

Sharon Demers, Flagler County School Board Candidate: The Live Interview

| August 8, 2016

sharon demers flagler county school board

Sharon Demers. (© FlaglerLive)

Sharon Demers is a candidate for Flagler County School Board, District 5. She faces three opponents: Paul Anderson, Maria Barbosa, and Myra Middleton-Valentine. Two candidates are running for the District 3 seat: incumbent Colleen Conklin and Jason Sands.

This is a non-partisan election. That means all registered voters in Flagler County, regardless of party or non-party affiliation–Democrats, Republicans, independents and others–may cast a ballot for both races, regardless of district. Whoever wins with a simple majority is the winner of the race: there is no runoff. The races will be decided on Aug. 30.

Flagler County School Board members serve four years. They’re paid $31,900 a year.

FlaglerLive submitted identical questions to all candidates, with the understanding that additional questions might be tailored to candidates individually and some follow-up questions may be asked, with all exchanges on the record. The Live Interview’s aim is to elicit as much candor and transparency as possible. We have asked candidates to refrain from making campaign speeches or make lists of accomplishments. We have also asked candidates to reasonably document any claim or accusation. Undocumented claims are edited out. Answers are also edited for length, redundancy, relevance and, where possible, accuracy. If a candidate does not answer a question or appears to be evading a question, that’s noted.

But it’s ultimately up to the reader to judge the quality and sincerity of a candidate’s answers.

The Questions in Summary: Quick Links

The Basics: Sharon Demers 

Place and Date of Birth: Levittown, Pa., Jan. 16, 1955
Current job: Independent Insurance Agent
Party Affiliation: Republican
Net Worth: $861,262 (Demers did not provide the full disclosure form as requested. You can read the complete version here.)

1. What makes you the best person for this public service job? What is your vision for public education in Flagler County? If you’re not the incumbent, about how many school board meetings and workshops have you attended in the past 12 months? If you are the incumbent, how many have you missed?

I am seeking the Flagler County School Board position because I believe in public service. My father was in the Pennsylvania state legislature and later Mayor of our home town until his death. I understand the responsibility that follows the position. Words of wisdom from my Mother turned me into a lifelong learner.  Taking college classes one at a time, working full time, being a wife and mother wearing many hats like most do today,  I earned what I call a “Blue Collar” MBA from Plymouth State University in 2006 taking one class at a time without student loans.  I also have a certificate in Human Resources and hold a Florida 215 Health Life and Annuity License.

At this stage in my life I now have the time, talent and tenacity to offer to the community. My business and budgeting background offers me the knowledge and ability to analyze information and make informed decisions for the best outcome for students, staff and citizens in Flagler County.

I have a son who was in the special education program while in school so I have empathy for the children, parents and teachers that have to maneuver the system to find the correct programs for each child. It is an extremely difficult task to find the right strategy that will work to develop children with special needs to their highest potential.

In business, I worked with teens daily for over 30 years and know their struggles with balancing school, home and a part-time job.

In today’s economy school districts are businesses, there is income and there are expenses. Money needs to be accounted for; tax dollars need to be spent wisely.  In the same business model we need to have stellar customer service to attract and keep our children in Flagler County Schools, to maintain the relationships with parents and to attract the best of the best teachers and staff.  As a Flagler County School Board member I will be part of a team always working toward excellence in education.

Since deciding to run, I have attended five sessions, both workshops and meetings.  There is little to be learned attending meetings other than quickly assimilating the formal process and observing the interactions of all involved.  More important have been the valuable lessons-learned from my interviewing people and digging into virtually every aspect of this school system from figuring out the high-level state political funding apparatus through our own elected legislators to school bus drivers and crossing guards.  I have interviewed board members, Superintendent Oliva, teachers, workers, managers, students, union leaders, union  members, including those on the street and in the schools protecting our students, staff and property.  I have examined procurement practices, bidding, pricing and statutorily over-priced construction costs aspects of this operation. Prior to my decision to run for the board I followed the board in the news as a concerned citizen. I often thought: Why did they make that decision? In reviewing the minutes from the previous year I determined that I did in fact have something to offer to the community.

Government-as-business is a popular mantra. But a business’ primary aim is to make money. Doesn’t the comparison miss the mark, and may even undermine the district’s mission by creating inapplicable expectations, as most of its spending is just that–spending on a service whose return is not measurable in immediate dollars but in such things as proficiency, graduation rates, college acceptance rates and so on? Can you explain what you mean by “statutorily over-priced construction costs aspects of this operation,” and give us two examples of decisions you questioned, and how differently you would have approached the particular issue?

“For the Children” is also an overused popular often empty mantra – We are, each and every one of us running for election or re-election, for the children, but I also know that to do any good for the students, we must also be strong on the business side of things. The reason that schools need to be run and looked at as a businesses is because not all of the Federal and State mandates are funded by our tax dollars. So it is important to have systems in place that check for waste. An example is that in another school district I used to teach a weight loss program to teachers and staff. The class was held after school. The custodians would come into the classroom and pull the trash bag out of the container and throw it into a large container with a trash bag inside and then take it to the dumpster. Some of the waste cans would have only a few papers in them and some may have a soda can or plastic bottle. Never did I see a full waste basket. It was my thought that the custodian should only empty the waste basket when full and to remove the cans and plastic to be recycled. The school did have huge recycle bins in the lobby area. It may have been wise to have small recycle bins in each class, like you see in hospitals and corporate offices. The pay back on recycled cans is .38 per pound today.

The savings on the trash removal would reduce expenses and also improve the environment. A small change in procedure could potentially save a district thousands which in turn could be used to pay for some of those unfunded mandates that will aid in the education of our children.
Our district now competes with charter schools and needs to be customer friendly and deliver a great product or Flagler will lose customers (Students) and funding. In business you rise and fall by the measurement of customer service. The board must do its best to give the teachers and staff all the tools (Funding) necessary to deliver a great product (Education). This is how my background and understanding of the business model will assist the district in improving proficiency, graduation rates and college acceptance and career readiness.

As for “statutorily over-priced construction costs,” the barriers to entry for a smaller newer company to win contracts with the district are oppressive. Smaller companies lose out when bidding on projects because they do not understand how to navigate the bidding process to become an eligible contractor. It is my understanding that we have a limited number of contractors to choose from therefore this reduces competition in the bidding process. Reduced competition raises the cost of construction and any product or service in the market. Again basic business supply and demand dictates pricing. My responses to your follow up question, as my original statement, are based on interviews with school officials and some in the business in the community. I have no specific examples to reference, but my generalization covers the issue.

We were hoping for examples relevant to the Flagler School district–which does, incidentally, have a recycling program–and examples that illustrate your implication that the Flagler district is not being run as efficiently as it could be, since you would not find disagreement from any current board members that the system is run as a business. If you have no specific examples to back up your claim about the onerous barriers to bid for smaller companies, why should anyone take them seriously? Any candidate can make any claim without backing it up. It doesn’t make it true, but creates the impression of a problem without having to show it to be so. Under what system is that fair–to the district or to voters?

Sharon Demers did not answer the question.

2016 Election Interviews

Supervisor of Elections

Kaiti Lenhart
Kimble Medley
Abra Seay


Jim Manfre (D)
Don Fleming (R)
Larry Jones (D)
John Lamb (R)
Jerry O'Gara(R)
Rick Staly (R)
Mark Whisenant (R)
Chris Yates (R)
Thomas Dougherty (I)

Palm Coast City Council

Robert Cuff (Dist. 1)
Troy DuBose (Dist. 1)
Sims Jones (Dist. 1)
Art McGovern Jr. (Dist. 1)
Nick Klufas (Dist. 3)
Anita Moeder (Dist. 3)
Pam Richardson (Dist. 3)
John Brady (Mayor)
Milissa Holland (Mayor)
Dennis McDonald (Mayor)
Ron Radford (Mayor)

Flagler School Board

Colleen Conklin (Dist. 3)
Jason Sands (Dist. 3)
Paul Anderson (Dist. 5)
Maria Barbosa (Dist. 5)
Sharon Demers (Dist. 5)
Myra Middleton-Valentine (Dist. 5)

Flagler County Commission

Charlie Ericksen (Dist. 1)
Ken Mazzie (Dist. 1)
Daniel Potter (Dist. 1)
Jason France (Dist. 3)
Dave Sullivan (Dist. 3)
Denise Calderwood (Dis. 5)
Donald O'Brien (Dist. 5)

2. Tell us who you are as a person—what human qualities and shortcomings you’ll bring to the board, what your temperament is like: what would your enemies say is your best quality, and what would your friends say is your worst fault? Give us real-life examples to illustrate your answer.

I am known to be a hard worker, tenacious, analytical, a problem solver, a people connector, a person with ideas, some good some not so good. My friends would say that I am generous, caring, an optimist and fun – I believe. I don’t feel like I have any enemies but there is one person I do not feel welcome around and recently she told me I had good ideas but I didn’t want to take charge. My friends would say that I am a “last minute person.” I schedule everything to the minute and have been known to deserve a speeding ticket or two.

Is there validity to that person’s allegation that you do not want to take charge–that you might be less assertive or more prone to follow others’ lead–now that you would be responsible for 20 percent of the district’s charge?

The person that said I offered good ideas but I did not want to take charge is someone who is not welcoming to me and is somewhat hostile to me. I did not want to take charge because the project was organizing an event /fundraiser/ dinner. Event planning is not in my wheel house of talents. In my more than 30 years in business I have always been in management, always in charge. One must know their limitations and not want to be in change when the need does not match their talents. When talents match the need I am more than happy to take charge.

3. Besides the obvious—leading by example, remaining ethical, listening to constituents and to your fellow-board members–describe the scope of your job as school board member as you understand it: what’s your primary responsibility? What’s in your power to influence on a day-to-day basis? What is not in your power to do?

As a school board member the main responsibility is to analyze, deliberate and as appropriate, approve the expenditures and support the Superintendent who is hired by the board.  As I had mentioned I am analytical so I will be looking at the business at hand analyzing the expenditure matched to its program or project before casting a vote.

As an elected official I am the voice of the people and will be more than happy to listen to and follow-up on any issue the public may have and as needed bring to the Superintendent’s attention and or the board.

I have no power to direct any employees of the district. Being on the school board is not about power and control it is about making the right decisions about the current operations within the scope of the board and the educational future of our children and our community.

What about directing, supervising and holding the superintendent accountable?

As a board member it is important to have open communications with the superintendent. If there is a concern brought to me by the public, students, teachers, staff etc.; after exploring options on how to resolve the issues through proper channels then I will be prepared and credibly informed to discuss the matter with the superintendent or anyone else. It is the board’s responsibility to evaluate the superintendent, which they just did, rating him a 3.5 of 4.0. If by chance there were some repeated incidents in the district that were not handled correctly by the Superintendent then obviously there would be conversations with the players on how to avoid, eliminate or solve the problem along with follow-up on that policy or procedure. If the superintendent is not performing to a particular requirement, then the appropriate contract remedies could be applied.

4. What are the district’s three brightest successes and it’s the three failures that affect students most? What will be your three chief priorities regarding student achievement, within the limits of the doable—that is, four years from now, what can we look back to and say: you were responsible?

The brightest successes:

  1. Recently the Future Problem Solvers participated in an international competition and returned with at least 10 top awards, three of which were 1st place. These teams are shining stars in the district and achieved this honor through hard work by students, teachers, families, and volunteers. 2. First Lady Michelle Obama recognized Bunnell, Rymfire and Wadsworth Elementary for her “Let’s Move Campaign” and said “these schools are raising the bar by creating Active School environments where students are happier, healthier and higher performing.” 3. iFlagler Virtual School was named best small district Franchise in Florida . iFlagler has a unique part that the others did not have. Students have face to face contact with the teachers on a regular basis and students also have access to the use of labs at the schools. The program is not 100 percent virtual learning it is a balanced blend. This virtual learning can help students to complete course work sooner, course work while sick, needed at home, or to make up course work to graduate on time.

The three negatives:

One key negative is the unfortunate loss of a 7-year-old child at a bus stop. The district, city and county need to find solutions to better protect the children at bus stops.  Our children need to be safe from door to door. Second would be the ranking of a “B” by the DOE. I believe that the system of rating is complicated and may not reveal a true measure. However, the district must always strive for continuous improvement to improve the ratings our children need to be prepared for the next step in life. Third would be the graduation rates. Currently the district is working on identifying at risk students and tracking students that leave the district to get a better idea of the true graduation rates as the rates measured by the DOE is again not an accurate measurement. Understanding how these numbers are created helps to provide a better view of the Flagler graduation rate. The formula does not deduct the children who moved out of the district after 9th grade with a proper transfer; it does not add in students who took 5 years to graduate, nor does it include students who left school and finished their GED, or students that graduated with a Special Diploma.  I believe Flagler’s actual graduation rate may be as high as 90%.

Four years from now, looking back on my tenure, what I will expect to see?

At least these two accomplishments:

  1. Having in place a well-developed ongoing practiced commitment to strong functional safety at every level.
  2. To have the district operating from a clear well-defined set of measurements applicable to the realities of our district. (Refer to Second failure reference in preceding question set.)
  3. I am certain that others will emerge over the course of early participation in my board work. I will prioritize one or more, make public and will welcome grading on my progress.

Regarding your first point, the school district, under the leadership of Andy Dance, and Palm Coast, under the leadership of Jason DeLorenzo, along with the Problem Solvers and staffs from both governments, undertook sustained efforts (and spent some money on limited new infrastructure) to improve bus safety, bus stops, student awareness going to and from school, especially when riding bicycles (four of last year’s wrecks involving students were the result of a vehicle striking bicyclists, though in none of those cases were students at fault). The initiative is ongoing. Were you aware of it, and do you think it falls short? Your second point–“To have the district operating from a clear well-defined set of measurements applicable to the realities of our district”–has the ring of a valid goal at first glance but the more we read it the more we scratch our head about its meaning: the goal itself seems ill-defined. Your third goal is To Be Announced: But as a prospective leader of the district, shouldn’t you be brimming with ideas and goals?

I am aware of the steps being taken to ensure bus stop safety. I just have a few suggestions that may help to improve upon what is already being done. In my neighborhood the parents pull up and park at the corner of the street where the bus stops, the children stand in the street and it is very difficult to make a turn in or out of my street at bus time. If for example a yellow safety line was painted two car lengths back from the corner and parking was not allowed close to the corner during drop off and pick up, the children would be able to wait for the bus out of the center of the road. The parents that drive the kids to the bus stop could be organized, trained and given safety vests as an added dimension to help keep the children safe. Parents represent a significant stakeholder and resource in this effort and are being underutilized.

As you can imagine it is difficult to evaluate a district with the measurement system changing from one year to the next. If the district set up an internal measurement that was more reflective of the true graduation rates then they would know where the work needs to begin. As an example: the district could do this by tracking the students as they enter and flow through the district. It is important to include the students that earn alternative diplomas, GED’s and students that graduate in five years. As of now these students are not included in the graduation rates.

As for the third goal, I am brimming with ideas, but they are not important, yet. It is not about me and my agenda. It is about the students, teachers, staff and the parents and their needs. Time will provide plenty of opportunities for focus.

It’s very much about you: you are running for election, not students, teachers and parents: voters need to know your ideas before they cast a ballot, not after. If you’re brimming with ideas, why not share them?

Sharon Demers did not answer the question.

5. The school board’s discretion to raise revenue locally has diminished drastically in the last few years, but it still has some authority to do so. Would you support a referendum to raise the local property tax by 0.25 mils (or 25 cents on $1,000 in taxable value, what would add $31 a year on a $150,000 homesteaded house), raising $2 million that could be spent on educational programs at the local board’s discretion?

No.  Added taxes must be precisely justified.  Programs must be justified.  One of the most challenging issues faced by school boards is justifying raising taxes. Flagler does a great job in stretching tax dollars. Recently our district’s finance head, Tom Tant, said that Flagler is ranked the 3rd lowest in the state per child in spending. That being said hard decisions must be made when it comes to raising taxes.  Be assured I will cast a well thought out vote should the occasion arise.

6. Almost two decades ago the late educator and theorist Neil Postman wrote: “Forty-five million Americans have already figured out how to use computers without any help whatsoever from the schools. If the schools do nothing about this in the next ten years, everyone will know how to use computers. But what they will not know, as none of us did about everything from automobiles to movies to television, is what are the psychological, social, and political effects of new technologies. And that is a subject that ought to be central in schools.” Provide us with your analysis of Postman’s statement. Tell us if you think Flagler schools are too infatuated with technology, or not enough.

For the record, personally I would rather not be on a computer or checking my smart phone for messages.  I do feel that the level of access to technology for our children is wonderful. Children with this type of access and abilities will be more successful in business and college. Landscapers, woodworkers, mechanics, doctors, lawyers, cashiers, hairdressers all need computer skills to conduct business. Computer skills are a necessity, having information at your fingertips is amazing and makes life easier.

There needs to be a balance of computer time and activity away from the computer to develop a well rounded student. I worry about verbal communication skills, and the ability to socialize with peers as being a slippery slope that may result in a child not fitting in with their peers if they are too shy and cling to their technology and social media. The sense of community is one of the most important factors that keep children in school and contributes to success. I also worry about eye strain, headaches, lack of sleep caused by compulsion to check social media and too much stimulation for younger children. Families need to monitor activity to ensure balance at home.

Do you think the district’s focus on technology in the classroom is well balanced?

In speaking with students, parents and teachers, most love the technology. This is a time will tell situation as far as results and whether our children excel or are harmed by having too much technology. May I remind your readers that families may opt out of using the computer. I would prefer a mix for my personal learning. I cannot say yes or no because I need facts to analyze the results.

7. The district has put a premium on art education. But now we’re in a deep recession. We can have art or football. Not both. What goes?

Well, we are mostly clear of the deep recession and we certainly can have both art and football, but balance is important. As a disclaimer, I have absolutely no artistic talent nor do I ever watch sports and I played softball just two years only because my friends needed one more to form a team. There is no personal bias on this subject.

I do favor having parental contributory involvement of time, talent and treasure as much as possible to help offset necessary expenses.  Safer football would be my choice to keep if one of the two absolutely had to be cut. On the other hand, football is clearly not for everyone.

I will fight to avoid any cuts in art and believe that even in tight situations; art is also a key component in the overall educational mix.

Football teaches more than a game, students learn how to be part of a team, which is essential for future employment. Sports teach dependability, children have better study habits, a sense of community, accountability, leadership skills, and children learn how to schedule their time. Sports builds family unity, increases physical activity, encourages healthy eating habits. Children that participate in sports may have the opportunity for a sports scholarship that otherwise would not be available. Children that participate in sports have lower dropout rates. When children are in sports they have less idle time for mischief. The booster clubs, school spirit and again a sense of community that is built around sports all benefit from having sports teams.

8. You’re at a school event with your 5-year-old child or grandchild. You take that child to the bathroom. A transgender person who was clearly not born as the gender represented by the bathroom you’re using enters as well. What do you do? How would you change current policy to address the issue?

I feel that this is an overblown issue as statistics show that only 3.8 percent of Americans identify as LGBT of which only .03 percent of those 3.8 percent number identify as transgender. To answer the question:  I would finish using the restroom with my granddaughter and leave.  The district is dealing with gender identity on a case by case basis, and it is my understanding that the policy is working.

Your answer is unsettling, in that it seems to predicate the response to a minority of the population, however small, on its numbers, rather than on the appropriateness of equal protection whether the affected population is one, 10 or 100 in a school–understanding, too, that the most recent study places the proportion of Floridians who identify as transgender at closer to 0.7 percent, a considerably larger figure than the .03 you mention. Is an issue overblown because the minority affected is so small, or just emerging into broader awareness? 

What is unsettling about finishing and leaving the rest room in an apparent scenario as you describe? I stand by the position the district has taken to deal with the transgender issue on a one on one basis. The study that you refer to is newer than the one I found and it appears that no children were surveyed. That said, the numbers are ambiguous. I would never want any child to feel uncomfortable in a rest room. I actually have a transgender friend who was Wayne (60) and is now Toni. Toni is still attracted to ladies and still has all of the male parts Toni had at birth. Toni has endured many torturous years making the decision to become a woman and I respect her. Toni is still my friend. While I am truly compassionate on this and many other gender-related issues, when a person makes that difficult choice to swim against the tide they may expect to be hit by a few waves. Whether you agree or disagree, as an example, there is a difference between sharing a female restroom facility with a youth and (this is the stereotype) an 18-20 year old 180 pound male. You appear to be invoking Equal Protection as a premise which, if followed through to the letter, would require four restrooms. Let’s all continue taking a sensible workable approach to this and move on. Our policy is working. Why keep pushing?

9. Twice in the last six years Flagler Palm Coast High School was the scene of high-profile conflicts between free expression and censorship: the censoring of the staging of “To Kill a Mickingbird,” and the censoring of a student’s art work in a student display. After a long controversy the play was staged and whatever fears had been claimed over it proved groundless. The student’s art work was never displayed alongside its peers’ works, even though administrators recognized its accomplished value. In both instances, Jacob Oliva—as principal in the first case, as superintendent in the next—asked that staff’s decisions at the school itself be respected, though the school board is an avenue of appeal. Would you readily defer to staff? Please provide examples of when a school board should override a staff decision in certain controversies?

As I have stated before I am an analytical person so I would gather the facts, listen to all sides and make a decision. Here is a case that I was close to when I believe a teacher, principal and school board acted inappropriately. It is the case of Billy Baer vs the Gilford, N.H. school board. The object of the dispute was a book titled “Nineteen Minutes” by Jodi Picoult. If you look at the   Wikipedia Nineteen Minutes  description of the story it never describes a rape scene. The rape in the book is not the only objectionable part of the book. This book was assigned to 14 and 15 year old boys and girls in English class. The school’s choice to assign the book was poor. In this case I would have sided with the parents to remove the book from the reading list.

In fairness to the school board, and to potentially similar situations locally, we should note that Picoult’s book had been part of the school curriculum, according to a media report of the case you mention, for seven years–as many of Picoult’s topical books tend to be across the country–and that the school board’s error in this particular case was that the usual opt-out form that goes to parents with certain books did not make it to this particular parent: it appears the whole issue could have been avoided had it not been for that glitch. The same opt-out allowance is granted any student in Flagler with books that might be deemed objectionable in certain households, but the book itself–whether it’s “Mockingbird,” “Huckleberry Finn” or perhaps even Picoult’s growing oeuvre–remains available. Would you object to that approach, and grant a blanket ban on certain titles parents bring to a school’s or the board’s attention?

One of the points I made was that the book’s description on Wikipedia and on the authors web site does not describe the rape of a teenage girl, the pregnancy that resulted, or the underage causal drinking of beer. The author even tweeted “Another parent is challenging #19Minutes bc it contains a sex scene far more vague than anything on TV. Sad to focus on that & not bullying.”

If the book was assigned from the reading list in previous years, the parents did not know the true content. The content was miss- represented. No woman every wants to read about a rape of a teen or any child. I think that this was inappropriate material to be assigned to a 14 year old child. If this issue came before the board, I would want a team formed to review the reading assignments this particular teacher was assigning. Then set policy of how books are chosen. This book is better suited for parents and teachers not 14 year old boys and girls.

10. Briefly explain the mission and scope of IB program. What is your opinion of the program and how committed are you to its continuation?

The IB program is an excellent program that takes education to the next level form learning facts and figures to helping children learn how to be critical thinkers. Critical thinkers are necessary in many roles in life, especially leadership, medical science, engineering and journalism. I would support the continuation of the IB program in Flagler County Schools.

11. What two items would you strike out of the current student code of conduct, and what two items would you want to see added? Amendments would work as well, if you prefer a less dogmatic approach.

  1. On page 30 there is a ban not allowing children to have food or beverages on the bus. I think children should be permitted to bring lunch to school in a lunch box or in their back pack on the bus.
  2. On page 34 the absentee rule states that the parents must offer an absentee excuse on the first day the student returns to school.

I feel that if your child is going to be absent you should call/ text/email the school in the morning to let the staff know your child will be absent. Then if the parent doesn’t call, the school can reach out to the parent to avoid truancy issues or a missing child incident.

Most of the code of conduct is determined by state statute and I feel the rest should stand as written.

12. Evaluate Superintendent Jacob Oliva, specifying how supportive—or not—you are of his administrative approach, and his focus on the flagship program.

Superintendent Oliva was just evaluated with a 3.5 score out of a possible 4.0. The current board appears to be satisfied with his administrative approach to the district. Next year’s results will be a better measure of his abilities to improve graduation rates and the districts state wide ranking. A school district is like a huge ship in that it takes time to correct course. I am a strong supporter of the Flagler Flagship Classroom to Careers programs. These programs excite children about learning and they have fun. The programs will help children to build a sense of community and to possibly find their passion in life.

13. Who on the board currently is the board member most closely aligned with your idea of a school board member and why?

Presently no one. I have only had a few interview conversations with board members and have no allegiance or alignment with any members of the board. I have a high level of respect for each member and should be better equipped to make your requested comparison at a later time.

Does that not signify a lack of familiarity with the very board you seek to join?

I think lack of familiarity with the board is an advantage for the public whom I will represent. Fresh eyes and fresh ideas instead of the same old rhetoric and rubber stamp.

You went from evading the question to making yet again unsupported claims. You’re not willing to cite a board member that most closely aligns with your ideas, yet in the same breath as claiming lack of familiarity with school board members you’re quite willing to smear all board members as stale, same-old and rubber-stampers without so much as one specific example. How is that logical, how is it transparent about you, fair to board members or to voters?

Sharon Demers did not answer the question.

14. Have you ever been charged with a felony or a misdemeanor anywhere in Flagler, Florida or the United States (other than a speeding ticket), or faced a civil action other than a divorce, but including bankruptcies? If so, please explain, including cases where charges did not lead to conviction.


15. Question customized for Sharon Demers: You provided engaging, well-written and candid responses. You spoke having the “time, talent and tenacity to offer to the community,” with business and budgeting background  and a keenness for analysis, but aside from your interest in special education, you leave a sense that you could have just as well run for city council or the county commission: you do not have a stated vision for education in Flagler so much as a governance vision. So why the school board in particular? It’s no secret that the Republican Party is strongly behind you: would you have run had Sue Dickinson not decided to opt out? 

My qualifications best match School Board, not the other offices you mentioned. My education, career and life experiences fit School Board. I have no knowledge of land use, building roads, water and sewer etc. I have helped to develop and support many candidates through the years and over time, I have been asked to run for other elected positions but none were a good fit until now. Flagler School Board, District 5 is the best fit by far.

Many in the Republican Party support me in my effort to win this District 5 School Board position as do Democrats, Independent and thousands of No Party Affiliation Voters. All can vote in this School Board Election. Supportive Democrats and those of other or no political affiliations also seem to appreciate my strong business and political knowledge as qualifiers for the job. Had she decided to run for re-election, I would not be trying to unseat Sue Dickerson [sic.]. By all accounts she has been a wonderful team member on the School Board.

I am pleased to be in contention for the job and do sincerely appreciate your readers’ patience and forbearance with your questions and my responses.

1 Response for “Sharon Demers, Flagler County School Board Candidate: The Live Interview”

  1. Dave Sullivan says:

    This candidate for School Board, Sharon Demers, has provided thoughtful, intelligent and meaningful responses to the Editor’s questions, Exactly what we want in a member of our School Board to insure our Flagler County children get the best education possible in our schools. The School Board is not the place
    for distracting issues to keep the Board from making timely decisions and gain the support of the public for future issues where voters must decide on potential investments. Sharon will hold to her principles but still bring unity to the Board.

Leave a Reply

FlaglerLive's forum, as noted in our comment policy, is for debate and conversation that adds light and perspective to articles. Please be courteous, don't attack fellow-commenters or make personal attacks against individuals in stories, and try to stick to the subject. All comments are moderated.

Read FlaglerLive's Comment Policy | Subscribe to the Comment Feed rss flaglerlive comment feed rss

More stories on FlaglerLive

FlaglerLive Email Alerts

Enter your email address to get alerts.


suppert flaglerlive flagler live palm coast flagler county news pierre tristam florida
fcir florida center for investigative reporting
FlaglerLive is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization | P.O. Box 254263, Palm Coast, FL 32135 | Contact the Editor by email | (386) 586-0257 | Sitemap | Log in