St. Johns County School Board Vice Chair Kelly Barrera will seek re-election as the District 4 School Board representative in this year’s elections.
Barrera said she is running for re-election to ensure that academic excellence continues to be the hallmark of the St. Johns County School System, which for the past nine years has been the No. 1-rated school district in the state of Florida.
“Our wonderful A-rated schools are one of the many reasons families move to St. Johns County,” said Barrera, whose district includes Ponte Vedra Beach, Nocatee, Palencia and parts of St. Augustine. “If re-elected to the St. Johns County School Board, I will focus my efforts on advancing the educational excellence, extracurricular programs and support services that make our schools the best in the state.”
Barrera said her experience serving on the school board, combined with her more than two decades of active engagement in the county’s education system, have given her experience with and insight into the challenges and opportunities facing the St. Johns County schools.
“I recognize no system is perfect; however, I am anchored and invested in the success of our students and schools,” she said. “I am committed to continuing to improve the academic excellence and further educational opportunities for all our students and schools, and I will continue to advocate for our students and challenge our system to provide the best learning environment to meet the needs of students across all spectrums, learning styles and interests.”
As a regional manager for Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, Barrera understands the importance of offering St. Johns County students a rigorous academic experience that will prepare them for higher education, emerging technologies and the 21st-century workforce.
“With 39 schools, 40,000 students and a budget of $315 million, the St. Johns County School System is larger than most businesses – and managing it requires the ability to balance the best interests of our students within financial constraints,” Barrera said. “Drawing on my business and financial management background, I will be a good steward of taxpayers’ dollars while working to ensure that our students receive the resources they need to learn, grow and excel.”
In addition to serving on the school board, Barrera has served as a board member of the St. Augustine-St. Johns County Airport Authority, serving as both chairman and treasurer and overseeing multimillion dollar budgets.
Building for the future
“That financial experience will be crucial,” Barrera said, “as the St. Johns County School System struggles to keep pace with the tremendous growth the county has seen in the past decade.”
During her term on the school board, Barrera oversaw the construction and opening of three new elementary schools. Two additional new K-8 schools are currently under construction.
If re-elected, Barrera would advocate for the construction of a new high school to handle the growing student population. In particular, she noted, the myriad of new housing communities currently under construction along the 210 West corridor makes a new high school critical.
“As a school board, our primary goal is to offer our students the highest quality education possible,” she said. “We are fortunate in St. Johns County to have some of the best teachers in the state, but it is critical that we have adequate space and the facilities to safely and comfortably accommodate all our students. As District 4 representative on the school board, I will draw on the partnerships I have developed with state and local government, education officials and others to secure the funding needed to build a new high school.”
A Ponte Vedra Beach resident for more than 25 years, Barrera is a graduate of Jacksonville University, where she was the first female graduate of the aviation program. She and her husband, Gil Barrera, are the parents of two adult children, both of whom have attended and volunteered in the local schools and community. For more information on Barrera, visit www.kellybarrera.com.