Key West entrepreneur Warren Leamard has announced that he will run for the District 1 school board seat being vacated by Robin Smith-Martin in November.
Leamard, 48, is a Jamaican native who moved to the Keys as a teenager. He ran the Coco Palms Jamaican Me Hungry restaurant for 20 years. He currently owns Destination Catering and Events, which he opened three years ago. He was among the first guest lecturers for the newly established hospitality and tourism management program at Florida Keys Community College.
Leamard said the focus of his campaign will be putting the children of the school district first when it comes to decision making on the school board.
"My youngest daughter, Felicia, is about to be moving up to Key West High School, so I have a stake in the school system," Leamard said. "She and other children like her need to have a school system that helps them to become good, responsible, citizens. We need to start focusing on the purpose of our public schools, which is to prepare all children to be productive members of society, no matter what they choose to do."
Leamard graduated high school in Jamaica, and took some computer science courses at Florida Keys Community College.
For three years he served as a board member for the Montessori Children's School, and as co-chair of the Macedonia Scholarship for military and/or minority students to attend Montessori.
Leamard also serves on the Monroe County Affordable Housing Advisory Committee, and as board secretary for Habitat for Humanity Key West and Lower Florida Keys. He is an active member of Key West Sunrise Rotary.
Leamard's eldest daughter, Alison, is a chef in Miami. His wife, Abby, is the property manager for the Historic Key West Inns.
At present, the only other competitor for the seat is Stuart Kessler, who is the chair of the school district's Audit and Finance Committee.