It's McCray vs. McCray for the District 3 school board race in Lafayette County
Marion McCray and Mary Anne McCray are running for the District 3 School Board position in Lafayette County.
They're married to a pair of brothers, but their focus during the campaign has been on a desire to serve the county's students.
Here is the information that voters should know.
Marion McCray is the incumbent and has held the District 3 position for the past 8 years. Throughout her career in the school system, Marion McCray has been a teacher’s aide, teacher, principal, and now an educational consultant.
She was the principal at Steinhatchee School in Taylor County for 16 years. It was during this time that Marion McCray started familiarizing herself with Florida’s statute changes in education.
Marion McCray also works as a part-time as an education consultant for the University of Florida. Here she collects data through consultations, and then works with parents and schools to make a plan for children who haven’t been able to achieve academically.
Marion McCray facilitates endorsement classes for teachers for Northeast Florida Educational Consortium and facilitates the Regional Principal Leadership Academy for principals.
It is because of her journey through the school system that Marion McCray feels she has had a diverse amount of experience that qualifies her for the position.
Marion McCray is dedicated to not only assuring the students that they are safe, but also assuring the employees that school is a safe place to be.
“As your school board member for the past 8 years, I have worked diligently to make the best decisions based on student needs, not a personal agenda,” said Marion McCray. “I am asking that you make your choice based on qualifications, current leadership experiences and current "A" school district status and for the past 5 years. Thanks, and God bless! ‘If it ain't broke, don't fix it!’”
Mary Anne McCray
Mary Anne McCray has lived in Mayo, Florida, all her life. She is the mother to 3 children and has 5 grandchildren.
Mary Anne McCray earned her bachelors from the University of Florida and proceeded to be a teacher for 36 years. She says that she became a teacher because that is what she was meant to be.
“I believe that teaching has to be a calling,” Mary Anne McCray said. “The job is just so difficult that it has to be a calling, and I felt that call.”
She taught as a secondary English teacher and as an adjunct English professor in North Florida College. Over the course of 10 years, Mary Anne McCray worked toward implementing three federal entitlements, Title I Part C Migrant, Title III Part A English Language Acquisition, and Title X Homeless Children and Youth.
When she retired from teaching in 2016, she began to be the primary caregiver for her mother.
Despite being retired, Mary Anne McCray now uses her up-to-date teaching certificate to help tutor for the ACT and the SAT as well as, substituting for blocks of time as per the district requests.
Additionally, she wants to make sure that when kids graduate from high school, they have the multiple opportunities for them.
“College isn’t for everyone and people should be able to do what they choose,” Mary Anne McCray said. “I think that helping kids find resourceful vocational training can help in a unique way.”
Mary Anne McCray aspires to give back to the community who has given her the chance to represent it.
“Somewhere along the lines, someone thought that I was worthy of their time and they invested in me and I feel invested to do that for.”
Mary Anne McCray did not want to raise any money but rather use her own, for a total of $3,300.
Marion McCray was also completely self-funded and spent $6,000 of her own money on this campaign, which included purchasing of signs, postcard mail-outs and even the purchasing of stamps.
The candidates want to assure that they are helping improve the state of the community in whatever way they can.
More than anything, Mary Anne McCray wants to prioritize the safety of students and employees alike.
“Ensuring constituents that the school is safe and ensuring the employees that the school is safe,” Mary Anne McCray said. “We sometimes forget that we have our family members up there working in these schools.”
Mary Anne McCray’s mother, which is why she feels so strongly about protecting those family members who are in the school system.
Additionally, she wants to help the “large and growing” homeschool population.
“I want to integrate some type of liaison, even if that is who I become because they feel like they’re on an island,” Mary Anne McCray said. “The district has limited obligation to homeschool parents.”
Lafayette County has a page on the school districts website that talks about homeschooling and whether it is in the best interest of the student.
“We are getting a lot of people that are moving here because our schools are excellent, and it is safe here. Mary Anne McCray said. “We are getting more folks in and they are just choosing that option.”
While some of their goals align, Marion McCray wants to focus on the essential components of the education to continue ensuring that their district remains an “A” grade, just like it has for the past 5 years.
“Reaching the lowest quartile students, the ones that are most struggling, I think that is an issue in Florida and all over the United States,” Marion McCray said.
Marion McCray, like Mary Anne McCray, also wants people coming out of high school get a job that they want as opposed to pushing them straight into college.
Marion McCray is happy with the way that the county has been operating, but she wants to continue getting better.
“There’s always areas you need to improve on, I think you’re never perfect.”