Letters to the Editor for Aug. 4, 2022


Writer urges voters to choose Kelly Barrera

To the Editor:

I got to know Kelly through church and my old neighborhood. We both participated in a renewal retreat called CRHP in 2006. We connected on a deeper level. I experienced first-hand her compassion, resolve, pragmatism and authenticity. Kelly is a kind, generous person who genuinely cares for others and who strives to make a difference for all. Kelly has always been there for me with compassionate advice, practical solutions and meaningful resources to help me in my life as a realtor and a mother. She always makes time for me and makes me feel like I’m her highest concern. 

Kelly is a good person to have on your speed dial. Just a couple of weeks ago I called her when I had a prospective customer who is relocating to our area from out of state. He had a lot of questions about the high schools and the services his special needs son would require. Kelly personally took it upon herself to call my customer and offer assistance by providing information and resources to better assist the family in determining which area/school(s) they might want to consider. Her knowledge, experience, attentiveness and dedication made a real difference for my customer. I marvel at how she manages to make every person feel special while she is creating initiatives and figuring out to how to get things done! Kelly is a driven determined can-do-type person who puts ideas in motion. For example, she fought to have Palm Valley Academy completed by implementing creative financing. She got the school built a year ahead of schedule and as a result the school board was able to make a significant impact by reducing travel times, relieve overcrowding and providing an exceptional community school to Nocatee residences.

Kelly knows her stuff. Our kids, their education and safety, are her primary focus. She has an excellent track record and can leverage her experience for even greater results impacting our St. Johns County’s schools. For academic excellence to continue in our local schools: Vote for Kelly Barrera!

Jeanie Leapley

Ponte Vedra Beach

Writer praises, endorses Kelly Barrera

To the Editor:

As a voting constituent of St Johns County District 4, I am thrilled to see Kelly Barrera on the ballot for School Board this fall. I met Kelly eight years ago when I first moved to Florida and was trying to understand the ever-changing landscape of school zoning in Nocatee. Then as now, she has fought to address overcrowding in our schools by opening seven new schools and expanding five existing ones. 

I have always respected her thoughtful approach to addressing issues in our community. She seeks out diverse voices through town halls, participation in parent/teacher-engaged groups like school advisory committees, responding to emails/phone calls timely while giving ample time for each constituents’ voice to be heard, etc. She gets the entire view of the situation and the ramifications of the various choices before making a decision — understanding very wisely, that no solution is ever a perfect solution — only the best balance for the interest of all involved. Some candidates come in with their own personal agendas and beliefs without considering those beliefs may not be held by all, or even most, of their constituents. By ignoring the complexity of the situation, you often overlook the optimal answer. I have seen her skills of listening, obtaining the full picture and generating a balanced solution in action when making decisions on reduction of excessive testing, increases in mental health coordination in schools, and improvements in school safety, and expect that approach to continue with future topics she addresses.

She takes her role as a representative of her community very seriously and has worked tirelessly to ensure that she addresses every situation with an open mind and an open heart. Her empathy is her strength. She does not look at criticism as a personal attack; she views it as an opportunity to better understand the underlying cause for the criticism so she can address the concerns. She ensures that our teachers are respected and appreciated, our parents’ voices are heard, and that our students receive the best possible education. She is level-headed, and we would be wise to keep her as our representative for District 4 School Board.

Jill DAmato


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