Florida Keys

John Dick wins Keys school board race, his fourth term

John Dick
John Dick

.John Dick successfully defended his District 4 Monroe County School Board seat Tuesday against challenger Jim Doran.

With 30 out of the Keys 33 precincts reporting at 8 p.m., Dick led Doran with almost 55 percent of the vote.

“I’m very happy,” Dick said. “We’ll continue to do good work at the school district.”

“We’re firming up building plans, we’re A-rated and we’re adding classes,” he said. “The school district is in a good time right now. Things are going right..”

Dick received 3,882 mailed-in votes and 1,389 early votes, compared with 3,257 and 1,266 respectively for Doran. He received 3,426 election day votes to Doran’s 2,738.

Doran, a career educator, said he’s “sad there won’t be an educator at the table,” after retired teacher and principal Ron Martin steps down from the dais.

But, he added, he wishes “John the best and the board the best, and if I could be useful to them, I’ll help them any way I can.”

Doran said he does not regret running.

Jim Doran

“I met such great people and made such wonderful friends along the way,” he said. “So, in that sense, I’m a winner.”

Dick, 71, will be serving his fourth four-year term.

He is a retired college and career counselor at Marathon High School, where his wife teaches and one of his daughters is dean of students. He is a U.S. Army Vietnam War veteran who is active in several local non-profits like the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion.

He ran for his first term on a platform of reforming district spending policies and was instrumental in the investigation into the 2009 school district spending scandal that saw the conviction of then-superintendent Randy Acevedo and the imprisonment of Acevedo’s now-ex-wife, Monique Acevedo, then head of the school system’s adult education program. She was convicted of stealing almost a half a million dollars from the district and was sentenced to prison for eight years.

Doran, 69, is a longtime educator who began his teaching career at Key Largo School in 1972. He was named “Teacher of the Year” in 1975, and he started the school’s safety patrol, a student organization still popular today. In the decades that passed, he has taught in the elementary, middle, high school, college and graduate levels in Florida and in seven countries. He has three degrees in education, including a doctorate from University of Central Florida.

Ballot question

A measure to add a tax to the School District’s cut of property taxes passed by 60 percent. The money will be used to ensure Monroe has a school resource officer on every campus, including elementary schools.

“This has been a very, very generous community when it comes to the school district,” School Board Chairman Bobby Highsmith said. “We did not want to have to pull dollars out of our classrooms.”