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Fisher, Jordan, Langford-Fleming win school board seats

By MEGHAN BRADBURY - | Nov 9, 2022

Two newcomers won seats on the Lee County School Board Tuesday night while the lone incumbent retained hers.

With polling sites limited due to damages and impacts wrought by Hurricane Ian, final results came in shortly after 11 p.m. showing Sam Fisher as the top vote-getter in District 1, incumbent Debbie Jordan in District 4 and Jada Langford-Fleming in District 6, an at-large seat.

Results are not final until certification on Nov. 18.

District 1

The District 1 seat was between two candidates, Fisher and Kathy Fanny, who were neck-and-neck through the evening with Fanny ahead at the 9:45 p.m. count.

At 10 p.m., Fisher moved ahead where he stayed at final count to win the seat.

At 11:04 p.m., Fisher had 26,425 (51.75 percent) votes to Fanny’s 24,634 (48.25 percent).

Fisher, a resident of Lee County since 2008, became a resident of Cape Coral in 2013. He is a small business owner and an attorney, and former Oasis Charter School Governing board member and former Deputy Administrator of a local state agency.

Fanny moved to southwest Cape Coral 12 years ago with her husband, Lew. She has a bachelors and masters degrees in education and educational fields, who has spent 38 years as a public schools teacher, as well as 26 years as a Title 1 reading specialist.

District 4

Jordan retained her District 4 seat, receiving 19,722 votes (55.57 percent), to challenger Dan Severson’s 15,770 (44.43 percent).

Jordan, the current board chair, has lived in the same Fort Myers home for 33 years, where she raised her children. She is a small business owner of a hospitality management company, Nina Rose Events. Jordan was first elected to the board in 2018.

Severson has lived in Southeast Cape since 2015. He was a state legislator in Minnesota for eight years, four of which were in executive leadership, and an officer in the United States Navy for 22 years flying fighter aircraft. He was also assigned to numerous leadership positions before retiring as a commander with numerous medals.

District 6

Langford-Fleming received 111,436 votes (51.53 percent) to opponent Denise Nystrom’s 104,817 (48.47 percent).

Langford-Fleming, a seventh generation Floridian, lives in Fort Myers with her husband and three children. Before becoming a small business owner, Jada Fleming Fitness LL and personal trainer for young adults and athletes, she taught elementary education for 20 years. She also was a P-5 PE coach for the last four years of her education career, as well as a high school volleyball coach for 12 years.

Nystrom retired to Southwest Florida seven years ago, first living in Collier County for five years before relocating to Bonita Springs two years ago. She was a 14 year special education teacher, three year special education administrator and an eight-year assistant superintendent of schools responsible for managing the human resource department.

A fourth race, District 5, was decided in the August primary. Challenger Armor Persons beat incumbent Gwynetta Gittens by receiving more than 50 percent of the vote. Persons had 8,232 votes, or 55.09 percent, while Gittens received 6,712 votes, or 44.91 percent.

School Board Referendum

A referendum asking Lee County voters if they wanted to repeal a decades-old resolution that made the superintendent of schools a school board appointed administrative post passed Tuesday night, meaning voters will elect a superintendent in the next General Election.

HB 497, entitled Lee County School District, was one of 10 bills Gov. Ron DeSantis signed on May 3. District 78 Republican Jenna Persons-Mulicka filed the bill on Nov. 4, 2021.

The measure passed with 62.15 of the voters voting “yes.” The vote was 153,461 for and 93,478 against.

With the yes voting winning, the 1974 resolution will be repealed and the school district will move to an elected superintendent, to done in a “partisan election by vote of qualified electors residing in Lee County for a term of four years, beginning with the 2024 general election.”

The superintendent will become another elected constitutional officer, making a total of eight for the county, including Sheriff, Clerk of the Courts, Tax Collector and Property Appraiser.

Total election turnout was 53.27 percent with 275,962 ballots counted.