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Leslie LaRue

Why did you decide to run for political office? I decided to run for political office because my fellow advocates, educators, friends, and most importantly my family, strongly encouraged me to do so. I have been an extremely active volunteer, advocate, and leader of PTO/PTAs, as well as regularly attending school board meetings for over five years now. I am well versed in Volusia County Schools’ policies and understand the importance of how our school board can make the biggest changes — by holding leadership accountable and ensuring the budget reflects our most important priority – our students and, therefore our teachers.

How do your life skills prepare you for this position? Prior to becoming a mother, I worked in marketing for a Top 500 Engineering News Record firm. When I had my first daughter, I decided to become a stay-at-home mother and I am very grateful I was able to do that for so many years. I have substituted for Volusia County Schools and I am currently the Registrar at George Marks Elementary where my youngest attends. This diverse background allows me to notice inefficiencies in processes and have the opportunity to see where our district has changed over the course of the 15 years while my children have attended Volusia County public schools.

Give an example of how you have served your community. How does this example make you the right choice for this position? I have served my community in many ways including District Advisory Committee Chair and Vice Chair, SAC Chair for DeLand High School, Half-cent Committee Chair, and PTO/PTA President, Vice President, and Treasurer. I have been a School Advisory Council member for different schools since 2005 and a District Advisory Committee representative for four different schools since January 2010. I have volunteered for “Feed the Backpack” and serve as the Church-School Partnership liaison for Trinity United Methodist in DeLand. I have been Volunteer of the Year for Forest Lake Elementary and Deltona Middle School.

Many of the questions below do not really apply to being a school board member; however, I believe quality schools attract businesses and it is upsetting to learn that upper level management often move to Seminole County and commute so that their children can attend Seminole County schools.

What is the number one issue on the minds of the businesses in your region? How would you address this issue?

What do you think are good industries to attract to this community? Why?

What infrastructure project(s) do you feel is necessary to move this community forward?

What do you plan to do to prepare this community for the I-4 corridor expansion?

Do you see Sunrail as more of a positive or negative for SW Volusia? In what way(s)? What opportunities/challenges do you see on the horizon for SW Volusia?

What do you believe are the main assets SW Volusia has to solve problems in the area? What does SW Volusia lack?

What ideas do you have to bring more of a sense of community to SW Volusia? We need to have a more open dialogue between area businesses and our school district by ensuring we understand what our business community needs from our schools and how our business community can offer assistance to our schools.

What role do you feel the local business community plays in SW Volusia?

If you are elected what role do you think you would play in economic development in SW Volusia or the area you will be representing? Strong public schools appeal to national businesses. I was told by officials in Hillsborough County when Microsoft was considering a branch in Tampa several years ago that they decided against it because they felt Florida was friendly enough to public education. That decision literally cost our state millions. We must ensure our public schools are supported by area businesses, so they may thrive and offer experiences and opportunities to our students that makes them want to stay in the area

How do you propose to eliminate barriers to conducting business in SW Volusia?

What strategies do you have to cultivate technological literacy in our region? I believe it is important that our students to learn computer skills necessary to be productive employees. Many students receive certifications in different Microsoft programs to help them be proficient and productive workers.

How will you provide our citizens with access to middle skills jobs? Our high schools offer a wide variety of opportunities for our students. They teach skills ranging from welding, construction, to graphic arts. Many students graduate with certifications from a wide variety of computer programs and talents that could easily lead to a $14 – $15 an hour jobs.

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