Seminole County School Board Member District 2 race

Candidate information

Sean Cooper

Sean Cooper is a 49-year-old Winter Springs resident and candidate for School Board Member District 2. Cooper is the CEO of USA Unites, a non-profit dedicated to empowering youth voices in 12 countries and has led more than 100 workshops in Seminole County Public Schools on how to build healthy relationships. Prior to being the CEO for USA Unites, Cooper served as a pastor at Northland church where he worked with youth, oversaw the building of a school for orphans in Eswatini and made anti-human trafficking efforts.

In Cooper’s campaign, his focuses are on parental support, building strong character and social maturity, ensuring teachers have the necessary resources to motivate and encourage students, and working with the Sheriff to ensure the physical safety of students and staff. Cooper has raised $21,663 in campaign contributions, most of which are from individual Florida residents. His campaign expenditures total $18,747. Learn more.

Jacqueline Kelley Davis

Jacqueline “Kelley” Davis is a Winter Springs resident and candidate for School Board Member District 2. Davis is an independent attorney who represents clients in the criminal and juvenile courts with a focus on mental and substance abuse issues and encouraging cooperation in family cases. Davis taught mathematics at Seminole High School and volunteered to lead a teen parent support group that improved attendance and graduation.

In Davis’ campaign, her focuses are promoting better wages for teachers, increasing assistance for students and parents struggling with consequences of covid, reaching students involved in the disciplinary system to promote change in behaviors, and promoting more college-level and career training courses within the high school curriculum. Davis has raised $15,192 in campaign contributions, all of which have come from individual Florida residents. Her total campaign expenditures are $13,486. Learn more.

Candidate Q&A

The questions below were either directly submitted by voters or were created by OCN based on what the voters told us were their priorities.

How do you plan to improve communication with your constituents so more residents can get involved in the local decision-making process? 

Sean Cooper: In addition to regularly scheduled work sessions and board meetings, I am constantly out meeting with parents, teachers, students, and community leaders. I am also out in the community at school-related events, as well as other gatherings, in order to stay informed and participate in decisions being made.

Kelley Davis: Not only would I set appointments, but I wish to continue my Sunday at 4 p.m. Facebook Live question-and-comment town hall. School board meetings are essential to allow students, parents and the community to express their concerns or praise, but it is not a two-way conversation.

What do you offer to the position you’re vying for that you believe others do not?

Sean Cooper: 26 years of working with youth and parents, a vast network of relationships in Seminole County, a passion for bridge-building across partisan lines, and a commitment to convene leaders together to make our best decisions. We will get our best outcomes with the great pool of talents in our community.

Kelley Davis: I am the most qualified for the position of School Board member. I am a veteran, a former math teacher at Seminole High School and have been an advocate for low-income families for the last 20 years as an attorney. I can analyze the changing laws and provide guidance to our staff and teachers.

Explain your participation in local government. For example, have you ever volunteered for a local municipal board? Do you regularly attend Seminole County School Board meetings? For incumbents, did you regularly attend Seminole County School Board meetings before you were elected? 

Sean Cooper: I attend school board work sessions and board meetings as well as attend chamber meetings and other community events that are open to the public. While this is my first time running for office, I have been involved for over 26 years in working with various organizations to help our local community.

Kelley Davis: I have been attending Seminole School Board meetings when not in conflict with other essential meetings or speeches. I have not participated in local government previously. I voluntarily give free tutoring to middle and high school students in my home and attend local veterans’ meetings.

Have you signed the Moms4Liberty pledge? Why or why not?

Sean Cooper: I signed the Moms4Liberty pledge because I believe the family values outlined in that paragraph should be non-partisan goals for everyone. We need more engagement by parents/guardians, grandparents, aunts and uncles, older brothers and sisters. This is a time for increased participation and volunteering from everyone.

Kelley Davis: I have not. While I respect parents who want to be more involved in the schools, I believe that hiding the history and mention of minority or LGBTQ students and families is discriminatory. I do not support their agenda in the “Don’t Say Gay” law, which stigmatizes LGBTQ students and families.

How, if at all, do you plan on altering the school curriculums and teacher training sessions?

Sean Cooper: I believe we have a healthy process in place for parents and community leaders to engage with our school curriculum. We need to help our teachers feel even more support to do what they do so well.

Kelley Davis: New teachers need additional training as they encounter various situations in and out of the classroom. In addition to summer training programs and their weekly meetings, I’d like to see a concrete mentoring program whereby new teachers can learn strategies from more experienced teachers. This would have to include pay raises for our tenured and more experienced teachers.

What will candidates do to help ensure that Seminole County schools are the top in the nation?

Sean Cooper: We need to continue offering every student equal opportunity to succeed academically and provide them all the resources we can for them to thrive. We need a value proposition that makes our county the best place to teach. Let’s get a waiting list for teachers!

Kelley Davis: I will communicate regularly with teachers, parents and students to make sure we provide the services and materials necessary to provide an excellent education for our students. I will make connections with local mental health providers and local businesses and organizations that can provide additional resources for our students without exhausting our school budgets.

What will you do to quell public safety concerns at a time like this?

Sean Cooper: My endorsement of (Seminole County) Sheriff (Dennis) Lemma reflects my commitment to work with our local law enforcement to make our schools safe. I will continue to build that bridge to stay vigilant on all the ways we can keep every campus safe.

Kelley Davis: I believe in technically advanced surveillance in all schools and propose a restructuring of our discipline programs to include behavior modification and counseling support for students when expulsion or suspension is really unnecessary. I would propose counseling or classes for victims of violence or bullying to reinforce their value and self esteem.

What will candidates do to ensure public safety from gun violence at schools?

Sean Cooper: In addition to the incredible support we have from Sheriff Lemma and his team, we need to continue with public education on gun safety. We need greater engagement by everyone to report any suspicious activity and remain vigilant as an entire community.

Kelley Davis: Again, I believe in technologically advanced surveillance and regular training of school resource officers. I do not believe teachers or any other personnel should have guns in school. As an Army veteran who ran our company arms room and gun-qualifying training, I am very aware of the mishandling of guns and the consequences.

As we see growing evidence of climate change, what are your specific plans for sustainability in our communities and county as it relates to curriculum, activities within schools and school facilities operations?

Sean Cooper: All of us can play a part in making our county safe, clean, and healthy. We need greater attention paid to water quality, sanitation, and recycling. From around our homes to every school campus, we need to continue educating everyone on ways to keep Seminole County beautiful.

Kelley Davis: Schools need to incorporate climate change into the curriculum and provide opportunities for younger children to plant flowers or vegetables and older children the opportunity to volunteer for credit. We still have those groups that do not believe in climate change, so it is important for students to learn the truth.

How will educational funding be part of your platform?

Sean Cooper: I believe we need greater engagement with the state for funding, particularly to get our veteran teacher pay increased. I am very passionate about taking care of our teachers. This is a top priority for me in working with the state.

Kelley Davis: I will always advocate for more funding for schools. Good schools not only provide students with more opportunities, but they also increase the financial values of homes and businesses within the county. Supporting our schools is good for the entire community, whether or not you have children in school.

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