Alva Swafford Striplin bested incumbent Forrest Van Camp in the race for the first district school board representative. The veteran teacher looks forward to giving her colleagues a voice on the school board.
At a high spirited watch party Swafford Striplin is counting each vote as her lead over incumbent Forrest Van Camp steadily grows. Striplin says balancing the job of being a teacher while running a campaign has been tough, but well worth it. She says it’s important for a teacher’s point of view to be represented in all decision making.
“ You can’t understand that experience unless you’re in the classroom right now," Swafford Striplin says. "Especially with the changes to the new Florida standards and the new teacher evaluation system. We need someone on the board who can speak to those things, that actually understands what that impact is in today’s world and in their own life and in their own classrooms."
Meanwhile at a slightly quieter, but still upbeat watch party Forrest Van Camp is reflecting on the 47 years he’s spent working in education.
“Been a good, good ride for me within Leon County. But I’ll always support the school district. It gives me an opportunity to volunteer. I still have a custodial grandson who’s in the 11th grade. So I am a parent," Van Camp says.
Van Camp says he looks forward to spending more time with his wife who is set to retire in January. Due to a health scare, Van Camp, the current school board chair, had announced he wouldn’t seek reelection, which led to Swafford Striplin jumping into the race. Van Camp changed his mind later and decided to run again, but he says it’s clear the people are ready for a change.
With 132 out of 133 precincts reporting, Alva Swafford Striplin received just less than 59-percent of the vote, while Forrest Van Camp received about 41-percent.