Primary 2022: Meet the candidates running for the Lake County School Board District 2

·6 min read

Three candidates are vying for the District 2 seat on the Lake County School Board in the Primary Election.

Candidates on the the primary ballot are up against others in their own party, competing for spots on the General Election ballot in November.

In the nonpartisan Lake County School Board races, however, the top two vote-earners will move on to face each other in the General Election, unless one earns 50% of the vote, plus one.

Early voting for Florida’s 2022 Primary Election starts on Thursday in Lake County, and voters can cast their ballots at one of 12 sites across the county. Polls are open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. through Aug. 20. The Primary Election is set for Aug. 23.

It's time to meet the candidates. Jim Miller and Ludy Lopez are challenging Tyler Brandeburg, who was appointed by Gov. Ron DeSantis to the open seat earlier this year, for the District 2 seat on the Lake County School Board.

The Daily Commercial reached out each with a questionnaire. Here are their responses:

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Tyler Brandeburg, the newest member of the Lake County School Board.
Tyler Brandeburg, the newest member of the Lake County School Board.

Tyler David Brandeburg

Age: 27

Occupation: Commercial Insurance Advisor at Brown & Brown in Leesburg

Education: I attended the Villages Elementary of Lady Lake, Carver Middle School and graduated from Leesburg High School in 2013. I then went on to attend the University of Florida and graduated in 2017, earning my bachelor's degree in finance with a minor in information systems.

Community service affiliations: Team president for the Leesburg Lightning, board member for the Leesburg High School Yellow Jacket Booster Club, class of 2019 participant in Leadership Lake County, vice chair for New Vision for Independence, Inc., Connect Class 11 Participant for Leadership Florida, Board of Trustees, District 3 for the Lake County Water Authority, board member for the Florida Collegiate Summer Baseball League, and board member for the Lake County School Board.

Why are you running? I am running for the school board because I care deeply for this community and believe that a strong public education system is the most effective way we can continue to make our community better. Leesburg area schools afforded me every opportunity to be successful, and I want to ensure that the next generation has the same or better chance to chase their dreams.

What experience do you have that lends itself to this position? I believe that Gov. Ron DeSantis chose to appoint me to the school board for a reason, and that is my vision for the future of Lake County. We will do everything in our power to keep our students safe, allow parents to be involved in their child's education and continue to expand workforce development partnerships to ensure that our students have unique opportunities to excel at the next level. In addition, Lake County is projected to continue growing significantly over the next decade, and it is crucial that we have representation on the school board with a business background that can help make fiscally responsible decisions and maximize investment in our students. Lake County Schools is the largest employer in the county and manages a budget of over $600 million. Ultimately, I am doing this to continue helping shape our school system into an asset for our community and be the place where I want to raise my future kids.

What are your top two priorities if elected? 

1. School Safety and Security

2. Recruiting and retaining the highest-quality teachers and staff

Ludy Lopez

Ludy Lopez, Lake County School Board District 2 candidate
Ludy Lopez, Lake County School Board District 2 candidate

Age: 52

Occupation: Senior Pastor of Senda Church in Tavares

Education: Child Development Associate Credential

Community service affiliations: I am the director of the Protect Our Children Project in Lake County. Also our church serves the community and offers a place for juvenile delinquents to complete community service hours. We are a multicultural and bilingual church.

Why are you running? I am running for the School Board District 2 seat to be a watchman for the students from woke indoctrination that attempts to go against our family values and the liberty of our nation.

What experience do you have that lends itself to this position? I have over 30 years of nonprofit administration experience as well as experience as an early childhood teacher.

What are your top two priorities if elected? My top two priorities are equitable funding for our students in comparison to school districts throughout the state. Lake County was the third in population growth in the state of Florida, but 64 out of 67 in per student funding. I would also like to expand the guardian program to both staff and faculty in response to increasing safety concerns.

Jim Miller, Lake County School Board District 2 candidate
Jim Miller, Lake County School Board District 2 candidate

Jim Miller

Age: Thanks to a healthy lifestyle, I'm 73, but feel like I'm 43 going on 33.

Occupation: I'm a commercial broker with Grizzard Commercial Real Estate Group and have been awarded the CCIM and ALC designations.

Education: I was a James Scholar at the University of Illinois. I attained my CCIM (Certified Commercial Investment Member) and ALC (Accredited Land Consultant) Designations.

Community service affiliations: I'm a long term Kiwanian and a Rotarian. In the 1990s, I served as executive director of World Class Lake County, a Florida Chamber of Commerce-led school reform program that brought in superintendents, principals and teachers from around the nation to share best practices with Lake County. For the last 33 years, I’ve been mentoring students in the Take Stock for Children program, and for the last 41 years, I’ve been coaching youth soccer and baseball. In addition, I have served as board member of the Educational Foundation of Lake County for 25 years and was the State Volunteer of the Year for the Consortium of Educational Foundations in 2018-2019.

Why are you running? Since the mid 90s, when I was the Executive Director of WorldClass Lake County, a Florida Chamber led school reform project, it has been my passion to help improve our school system. I’m excited about the opportunity to bring my energy, experience and wisdom to serve with the board and Superintendent to help our district meet the challenges of helping all of our kids succeed and become good citizens. Their future is our future.

What experience do you have that lends itself to this position? In 2010, I was elected to Lake County School Board District 1 and served until 2012. From 1995-2002, I served as executive director of World Class Lake County. In 1991, I graduated from Leadership Lake County’s Inaugural Class, and I’m an inaugural member of the Leadership Lake County Hall of Fame. I served as president of the Leesburg Area Chamber of Commerce in 1990 and 2000, and president of the Lake County Chamber Alliance in 2015.

What are your top two priorities if elected? To help the board and superintendent in their efforts to expand choices for our students to seek technical certifications, choose academic paths such as Cambridge (AICE) Assessment International Certificate of Education and IB International Baccalaureate programs, or graduate early with college credits via dual enrollment.

— Responses were edited for length and clarity. 

This article originally appeared on Daily Commercial: On the ballot: Three vie for Lake County School Board District 2 seat