Candidates for School Board, District 1: Bios & platforms – North Fort Myers Neighbor


Cape Coral voters can cast a ballot in two of the four non-partisan Lee County School Board races in the Aug. 23 election.
The Cape is split between two districts, seats 1 and 4, depending on address, which will determine in which of the two voters may cast a ballot.
Seat 6 is at-large, meaning voters countywide may cast a ballot in a three-way race featuring Tia Collin, Jada Langford Fleming and Denise Nystrom.
The District 1 race, to be decided by voters who live in the district — which includes parts Cape Coral and North Fort Myers and Pine Island– features four candidates, Christine DeVigili, Kathy Fanny, Sam Fisher and Cathy Stout.
The longtime incumbent, Mary Fischer, opted not to seek re-election.
Here is an at-a-glance look at the candidates in District 1:
• Christy DeVigili
Candidate name: Christy DeVigili
Seat sought/district or at large:
District 1
Age: 38
Website:
www.christy4leeschools.com
Education/degrees:
I chose to graduate at 16 with my GED
Occupation and place of employment:
Homemaker & Caregiver
Time in the district in which you are running/years of residency:
I was born and raised in my district and I’ve lived here my whole life with the exception of a few months here and there in my early 20s.
Business experience applicable to the office you are seeking:
Managed a team of teachers and volunteers to implement lessons, activities, and supervision for K-5 classes during multiple weekend services. Implemented developmentally-appropriate curriculum that addressed all learning styles. Regularly evaluated current programs for effectiveness, alignment to vision, and made appropriate changes as necessary. Developed and implemented classroom procedures. Created and maintained policies and procedures manual; updated annually. Maintained current records and databases for volunteer contact information, applications, and background checks. Oversaw purchasing and annual budget. Recruited and trained volunteers. Conducted professional development to ensure adherence to federal and state policies and procedures. Developed and implemented yearly community summer program. Actively partnered with parents and worked with families to equip and empower them to disciple their children.
Political Experience/offices held: None.
Civic/Community involvement:
I’m the state director for Power2Parent, as well as the Lee County Community Ambassador for Florida Freedom Keepers, and the Secretary of the Lee County Republican Liberty Caucus. I serve on the Florida Citizens Alliance Lee County Kids First Team. I was the ONLY parent to serve on the Lee County School District Math Textbook Adoption Committee. Earlier this year I served on the district superintendent selection committee, and I still serve on the district ESE advisory committee, and the School Advisory Council at North Fort Myers High School.
Family: My husband, David, and 3 daughters, Kaitlyn, Kail and Kayden
Military Experience: None personally, however I am a combat veteran spouse and caregiver
Why are you running?
I’m running for School Board because I’ve been an advocate for children and families in Lee County for many years, and I’m passionate about where the future of my community is headed. I believe that in order to protect educational integrity, we must defend the rights of every parent, the safety of all students, the fair treatment of our educators, and the voice of our community; and that is exactly what I’m going to do.
Planks of your platform:
Secure and protect the rights of parents.
Ensure healthy, nutritious meals for every child.
Strictly enforce special education services compliance.
Strengthen employee morale through professional development.
Restore community trust with open communication.
Legitimize a verifiable budget and accountability measures.
Purge district corruption – encourage and reward integrity.
Top three issues:
1) Parental Rights: A remedy to the educational achievement gap would be to find ways to increase parental participation, not hinder it. I will accomplish this by offering parents a real seat at the table when it comes to their child’s education, and a larger voice in the bargaining process. 2) Employee Morale: I will advocate to increase their pay, improve their overall working conditions, and develop enhanced professional development opportunities for all of our education professionals. 3) Fiscal Responsibility: I will make sure that an easily accessible, line item budget is made publicly available. Then, I will advocate for a zero based budget and a forensic audit by both an internal and external auditor.
• Kathy Fanny
Candidate name: Kathy Fanny
Seat sought/district or at large: Lee School Board, District I
Age:70
Website: https://votekathyfanny.net
Education/degrees:
BS from University of Delaware in Elementary Education
Masters of Instruction from the University of Delaware
Over 60 additional credits in Education from the University of Delaware and Rowan University
Occupation and place of employment: Retired from teaching in New Jersey and Delaware
Time in the district in which you are running/years of residency: I have lived here for 12 years
Business experience applicable to the office you are seeking:
Political Experience/offices held:
Civic/Community involvement:

Family: Married with two children and three grandchildren
Military Experience:
Why are you running? Planks of your platform. Top three issues.
After working in the public-school systems for 38 years, I understand the challenges of our educational system. I have the dedication and education to improve the school system. We need trained educators on the board.
Politics have no place on the board. It is about doing the best for our students. Teachers need to be supported and paid a living wage to keep current teachers and entice new professionals.
In District I, about 40% of our K-3 students are below level in literacy and math. I have the background to address this issue.
We need to examine the behavior of some students with trained professionals in our school to keep all students and staff free to learn in a stress-free environment. All students need to be valued.
• Sam Fisher
Candidate name: Sam Fisher
Seat sought/district or at large: Lee County School Board, District 1
Age: 41
Website: www.votesamfisher.com
Education/degrees:
Rutgers, The State University Of New Jersey, New Brunswick, New Jersey. Bachelor’s of Arts in Psychology
Mississippi College School Of Law, Jackson, Mississippi, Juris Doctor (J.D.),
Occupation and place of employment: Attorney & Owner, Law Office of Samuel Fisher &
Operations/Owner – Cape Coral Pet Vet
Time in the district in which you are running/years of residency:
I have lived in Cape Coral since 2013 and Lee County since 2008.
Business experience applicable to the office you are seeking:
-Owner, Law Office of Samuel Fisher – solo law practice, handle all aspects of business.
-Operations/Owner Cape Coral Pet Vet – handle multi million dollar budget, policy, legal, IT, and other areas of operations.
– Former Deputy Administrator of Office of Criminal Conflict and Civil Regional Counsel, 2nd District – I was tasked with managing over 100 employees in 13 counties, creating agency policy, and implementing an approximate $10 million budget.
-Governing Board Member, Oasis Charter School System, City of Cape Coral – Created policy, managed and passed an approximately $30 million budget, worked hand and hand with stakeholders, and provided vision and direction to the Superintendent.
Political Experience/offices held: No political office held.
Civic/Community involvement:
-Former Governing Board Member of the Oasis Charter School system (3 years), a past member of the MPO Citizen’s Advisory Committee, a former Trustee of the Cape Coral Civic Association, a graduate of the Cape Coral Chamber of Commerce Leadership Class of 2021. Support organizations such as the Cape Coral Animal Shelter (hosted the Black & Ties Tails Gala Event), Wolfhound’s Legacy, Junior Leadership, and Cape Coral Youth Soccer.
Family: Married to wife Cecilia. Three kids, Logan 12, Annika 7, Nora 7.
Military Experience: None
Why are you running?
I am a father of three children in Lee County schools and a business owner that is running to bring professional, trustworthy, and conservative leadership to our school board. I am dedicated to ensuring our children receive the absolute best education, while managing a fiscally responsible budget and improving the security of our schools. I will make sure parents’ and taxpayers’ voices are heard and I will always remember who it is I am serving.
Planks of your platform:
-I will listen to parents, taxpayers, teachers and other stakeholders, involve the community, and work together as a professional board for the betterment of our children.
– The security of our children is paramount. I support implementing the Guardian Program and working with our law enforcement to maintain SROs in each school.
– I support a transparent budget that truly shows where our tax dollars are being spent. Waste must be stopped, and we must support our teachers, support personnel, and bus drivers.
Top three issues:
Outside of Academics:
-Professional Leadership
-Reining In Spending & Protecting Your Tax Dollars
-School Security
• Cathy Stout
Candidate name: Cathy Stout
Seat sought/district or at large: Lee County School Board District 1
Age: 51
Website: votestout.com
Education/degrees:
Occupation and place of employment: (Realtor) Marzucco Real Estate LLC, Enhanced Universal System Inc. (Administrator) Porto Bello (Event Coordinator)
Time in the district in which you are running/years of residency: 4 years/2016
Business experience applicable to the office you are seeking:
Real Estate, Event Coordinator, Administrator 12-20 people supervised. Since 2006 have been an administrator for family operated business. I am experienced in the following: corporate million dollar bid proposals experienced in budgets, tax documents, audits, state and federal and all local reporting documents to all tax agencies experienced in working in unions and labor relation issues. Raising capital charities school, extra curriculum school activities and community projects and several non profit organizations.
Political Experience/offices held: N/A
Civic/Community involvement:
Friends of Cape Coral Environment Inc. Ladies of Auxiliary, SKD Youth Group, Cape Aquatics Swim Club, SIDS
Family: As a wife and mother of five I’m very family oriented and believe in family first. I know most people feel the same way. We must focus on family values in our school district and communities. I’m also a grandmother and I’m and advocate for all parents rights including grandparents.
Military Experience: N/A
Why are you running?
As a mother and administrator attending school board meetings. I realized something was wrong. I was concerned about the transparency. Rather the board focusing on how to provide a solid education that would lead our children into adulthood with the skills necessary for their future careers. Don’t understand why we do not have a line-item budget to see where our tax dollars are going. This led me to believe that someone should be accountable and we need real changes for our district.
Planks of your platform:
The planks of my platform are education, transparency in curriculum and budget. Strong Advocate for school security and all school property, and all events. Protecting parents rights.
Top three issues: Security, Transparency, Education
Coming from an American Asian family I have tremendous PASSION and understand our children of all race and all cultures deserve equal education. As a former PTO chair and a homeroom parent. I have and had a lot of experience with the communities talking and helping with parents, and teachers with transparency.
Editor’s note: Information has been supplied by the candidates.
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