Boyer addresses Marco Democrats

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Volunteers at work at the March 8 meeting of the Democratic Women’s Club of Marco Island.

School Board candidate Dr. Arthur Boyer shared his personal story and hopes for Collier County schools at the March 8 meeting of the Democratic Women’s Club of Marco Island.

The meeting attracted more than 50 attendees to Mackle Park.

Boyer, a resident of Immokalee and CEO of Boyer Multidisciplinary Consulting, is running for the District 5 seat in the nonpartisan race and is addressing groups across the county as all members are elected at large. He will be on the ballot in the Aug. 23 primary election for a four-year term.

Dr. Arthur Boyer

Boyer, who came to Florida from Haiti 30 years ago, worked here as a farm laborer, janitor, and juvenile detention officer prior to obtaining advanced degrees to work as an educator.

In Haiti, despite the lack of even a high-school degree, he taught French literature. In Immokalee he has taught in various educational and vocational settings. During COVID, he launched a free, one-on-one virtual tutoring program that paired community members, many of them teachers and retired teachers, with students forced to learn remotely.

His commitment to education is rooted in his work with juvenile offenders, he said, citing the correlation behind a high dropout rate and incarceration. Stating that 72 percent of juveniles now in jail never got beyond 7th grade, Boyer said, “We need more high school diplomas and fewer mug shots.  This is not a Black, White, or Hispanic problem. All children should have the opportunity to become doctors, lawyers, teachers, to fulfill their dreams.”

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Boyer knows about living one’s dreams, he said, because he has lived the American dream. His first English teacher encouraged him “to think and live beyond the challenges” he faced, he said, and to “see the values of America. As a reminder of those challenges, he said, he keeps the first suit he was able to purchase at Goodwill in Golden Gate. He wore it with a single pair of shoes he painted a different color every week so no one would realize he had only one pair.

“Running for school board means a lot to me,” he said, “because the progress I’ve made is possible only in the United States of America. I’ve learned that serving is what matters. I want to serve where I can.”

From left, Stephanie Ballo Past, Jane Schlechtweg and Karen Tessel-Blum at the March 8 meeting of the Democratic Women’s Club of Marco Island.

Serving on a School Board is most important to him, he said, because he is committed to equity across schools and to every student in the county. “This is about our children. I am running to preserve, protect, and defend academic success of all Collier County students. We can make our schools better.”

In addition to his commitment to equity across schools in both rich and poor communities, Boyer said he wants to re-engage parents. “Parental involvement and judgment are a must. Parents can make all the difference.” No one knows children as well as their parents, he noted.

Boyer also stands for supporting teachers, whom he considers undervalued.  “They are our everyday heroes,” he said. “They are not getting paid enough and often have to use their own money to help buy supplies for their students and classrooms. Some teachers need a second job to support their families.”

“Why are our teachers underpaid and our schools producing too many drop-outs?” he asked. “We need School Board members who are advocates for students and teachers and who listen to the parents. I am not running as a politician. I am running as my son’s parent.”

Prior to hearing from Dr. Boyer, attendees prepared materials for an ongoing club membership outreach initiative and honored the club’s previous president, Stephanie Ballo, for her four years of service.

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The speaker at the next meeting of the DWC Marco will be Leigh McGowan, known for her “Politics Girl” podcast, who will participate remotely. Scheduled for 5 to 6:30 p.m., April 12, at Mackle Park. The meeting will be open to members and guests.

For more information on meetings, membership or supporting our charitable efforts go to dwcmarco.org or contact us at info@dwcmarco.org.