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Special Message from Dee Dee Rasmussen
Dee Dee Rasmussen: “It Has Been a Privilege to Serve”
May 4, 2022
DeeDee Rasmussen, the 14-year veteran Leon County School Board Member, announced today that she will step down in the middle of her 4th term, to focus on her health, family, and take time to recharge. Rasmussen has had some moderate health concerns over the past few months and, although not life-threatening, she decided to accelerate the end of her long career in elected public service before the 2022 election instead of waiting until 2024.
First elected in 2008, Rasmussen outpaced four other candidates garnering well over the necessary 50% of the vote without a run-off and handily defeated all opponents in subsequent re-elections to the Board.
Known for being ‘measured,’ Rasmussen has judiciously chaired the School Board on three separate occasions over the last decade (2012, 2016 and 2020). She led the district through tough budget cuts following the ‘08 economic recession; she continued as the most vocal advocate for school security after the Parkland school shooting; and, she was Board Chair again in early 2020, navigating the district through the unprecedented trajectory of the pandemic, proving once again to be ‘steady at the helm.’
In an era when public school board members are under constant attack from both ends of the political spectrum, Rasmussen, along with her colleagues, served with calm consideration by leading with the facts and the truth.
“I am deeply grateful to the people of Leon County, and District 4, for the great privilege of serving on their School Board for these many years and directing my laser focus on the needs of our children,” said Rasmussen. “Now, it’s time for me to spend more time prioritizing my health and the needs of my family – but I will continue to support our school district in every way that I can.”
Of Rasmussen, current School Board Chairman Darryl Jones said: “Looking back on her leadership at the beginning of the pandemic, I am reminded of the Bible story of Esther, when Mordecai said God had called her for such a time as this. Ms. Rasmussen led when most of us were unprepared, and she helped us navigate arduous waters in chaos; her experience as a veteran on our Board allowed her to provide that type of leadership when we needed it most. When the history of this district is recorded, we will be reminded of the leadership of Dee Dee Rasmussen and our history will say, ‘job well done!’”
Long-time friends and supporters acknowledged the void Rasmussen’s departure will create but also support her decision to step down.
“Dee Dee is the quintessential public servant as evidenced by her 14 years of dedicated service on the School Board. She always asks the tough questions that need to be asked. Her reasoned and thoughtful approach during some of the toughest times will be a legacy,” said Paul Mitchell, a SB District 4 resident and member of the Leon County Children’s’ Services Council.
“DeeDee has done a stellar job leading us through the best and worst of times; she’s very often the ‘voice of reason.’ She listens to teachers and parents, following up with action when needed. Now she deserves a chance to catch her breath and be rejuvenated for whatever the next chapter may hold,” said Beth McGrotha, a Leon County teacher of over two decades.
"DeeDee Rasmussen has provided reliable, selfless, dedicated public service during a very distinguished tenure on the Leon County School Board," said longtime friend Ron Sachs, Founder/Chairman of Sachs Media. "The caliber of her character and her constant concern for our children and the future have combined to create a great legacy of achievement."
The last two years have been tough for a lot of elected officials; School Boards across the country have felt the ire and angst of constituents and taxpayers in ways like never before. Rasmussen says that added stress has only partially impacted her decision.
“I just think it’s time. For one thing – over my entire career in government, I believe I have contributed the most by being able to negotiate compromise. I’ve been a moderate voice, trying to carefully weigh the pros and cons, taking the high road without publicly admonishing others. Maybe my approach is going to be out of style for the time being, until (hopefully) the political pendulum swings back toward the middle at some point. Meanwhile, I want to do this in the most responsible way possible – meaning, I need to vacate the seat in time to let the voters of District 4 choose their next representative on the School Board,” she said.
Leon County Supervisor of Elections, Mark Earley confirmed that Rasmussen’s resignation must be effective no later than the week of “Candidate Qualifying” in mid-June, to allow his office time to put qualified candidates’ names on the 2022 ballot and meet Vote-by-Mail deadlines. “By announcing her intentions now,” Earley said, “Ms. Rasmussen is clearing a path for new candidates to emerge and file to run for District 4 with plenty of time for campaigning. This timeline allows the citizens to choose their School Board representative this fall, instead of waiting until 2024. A vacancy on the School Board, if created later this spring, would be filled by a Gubernatorial appointee until the following election, in 2024.”
SB District 4 is primarily located in the Northwest quadrant of the County – west of Thomasville Road all the way past Lake Jackson to the county line and north to the state line. Students who live in District 4 are primarily zoned to attend Chiles, Leon and Godby High Schools; Deerlake, Raa and Griffin Middle Schools; Killearn Lakes, Hawks Rise, Gilchrist, Canopy Oaks and Springwood Elementary Schools.