Click on the picture of a board member below to view their bio.

Billy Townsend — District 1

Billy Townsend is serving his first term on the School Board. He received his bachelor’s degree in English and creative writing from Amherst College in 1994. Townsend is a longtime writer and activist in Polk County, and a parent of three children who attend or attended Polk County Public Schools.

Townsend worked as a reporter and editor with Polk County newspapers from 1998 to 2008. He served several years as the editor supervising education coverage for The Ledger.

Townsend is the leader of the national proposal writing team for the consulting arm of PwC. He continues to write publicly about education and many other issues in Polk County and beyond.

Townsend is also an historian and author of the award-winning book, “Age of Barbarity: The Forgotten Fight for the Soul of Florida.” He is a member of the Lakeland Kiwanis Club and served on the parent board of Harrison School for the Arts.

His term expires in November 2020.

Contact Information

Address: P.O. Box 391, Bartow, FL 33831

Phone: 863-209-4037

Email: billy.townsend@polk-fl.net

District 1 Schools

  • Bill Duncan Opportunity Center
  • Blake Academy
  • Carlton Palmore Elementary
  • Cleveland Court Elementary
  • Crystal Lake Elementary
  • Crystal Lake Middle
  • Dixieland Elementary
  • Dwight Smith Center
  • Harrison Arts Center
  • Highlands Grove Elementary
  • Jesse Keen Elementary
  • Lakeland Highlands Middle
  • Lakeland Senior
  • Medulla Elementary
  • Oscar J. Pope Elementary
  • Philip O’Brien Elementary
  • R. Bruce Wagner Elementary
  • Scott Lake Elementary
  • Southwest Elementary
  • Southwest Middle
  • Traviss Career Center
  • West Area Adult

Lori Cunningham, Vice Chair — District 2

Lori Cunningham is serving her fourth term on the School Board. Cunningham received her bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of South Florida in 1985. She owns and operates Applied Images, Inc., an apparel decorating company serving the Central Florida area.

Cunningham is active in the community and serves as a trustee for The Vanguard School. She is a member of the Haines City and Lake Wales chambers of commerce, serving on the Haines City Economic Development Council and the Haines City Chamber of Commerce Education Committee. She served as a member of the School Advisory Council at Dale R. Fair Babson Park Elementary School for six years and is a current member of the Harrison School for the Arts PTO and Davenport School of the Arts PTO.

In addition, Cunningham is a member of the First Presbyterian Church of Lake Wales, where she has served on the Board of the Women of the Church, the Children’s Council, and the Stewardship & Finance Committee.

Her term expires in November 2020.

Contact Information

Address: P.O. Box 391, Bartow, FL 33831

Phone: 863-534-0529

Email: lori.cunningham@polk-fl.net

District 2 Schools

  • Alta Vista Elementary
  • Bethune Academy
  • Boone Middle
  • Citrus Ridge: A Civics Academy
  • Daniel Jenkins Academy
  • Davenport School of the Arts
  • Don Woods Center
  • Dundee Elementary Academy
  • Dundee Ridge Middle Academy
  • Eastside Elementary
  • Haines City Senior
  • Horizons Elementary
  • International Baccalaureate East
  • Lake Marion Creek Middle
  • Laurel Elementary
  • Loughman Oaks Elementary
  • Palmetto Elementary
  • Ridge Community Senior
  • Sandhill Elementary

Sarah Fortney — District 3

Sarah Fortney is serving her first term on the Polk County School Board. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of South Florida. Fortney served as a science teacher for more than 33 years and has long advocated for public education.

Fortney has been actively involved in all levels of school and district leadership during her career in the classroom.

Fortney is most proud of the relationships she has helped to cultivate between students, staff and parents over the years, and she looks forward to serving all stakeholders during her term in office.

Her term expires in November 2022.

Contact Information

Address: P.O. Box 391, Bartow, FL 33831

Phone: 863-582-2534

Email: sarah.fortney@polk-fl.net

District 3 Schools

  • Anna Woodbury Elementary
  • Bartow Elementary Academy
  • Bartow Middle
  • Bartow Senior
  • Floral Avenue Elementary
  • Fort Meade Middle/Senior
  • Gause Academy of Leadership
  • George Jenkins Senior
  • Gibbons Street Elementary
  • Highland City Elementary
  • International Baccalaureate
  • Jean O’Dell Learning Center
  • Kingsford Elementary
  • Lewis Anna Woodbury Elementary
  • Mulberry Middle
  • Mulberry Senior
  • Purcell Elementary
  • Sikes Elementary
  • Spessard Holland Elementary
  • Stephens Elementary
  • Summerlin Academy
  • Union Academy
  • Valleyview Elementary

Sara Beth Reynolds — District 4

Sara Beth Reynolds is serving her first term on the School Board. Reynolds is a graduate of Polk County Public Schools and holds a bachelor’s degree in telecommunications from the University of Florida.

After college, she entered the nonprofit sector, serving as the program director for the Randy Roberts Foundation in Lakeland. In June 2016, she joined the Theatre Winter Haven staff as the director of development.

Reynolds serves as the Board liaison for the Central Florida Public School Boards Coalition and Polk County’s Head Start Policy Council. She is a member of Leadership Winter Haven’s Class 38 and a recipient of the Florida School Board Association’s Emerging Leader Award. She is also a member and volunteer for Junior Achievement and attends Redeemer City Church in Winter Haven.

Her term expires in November 2020.

Contact Information

Address: P.O. Box 391, Bartow, FL 33831

Phone: 863-604-2023

Email: sarabeth.reynolds@polk-fl.net

District 4 Schools

  • Brigham Academy
  • Denison Middle
  • Elbert Elementary
  • Garden Grove Elementary
  • Garner Elementary
  • Inwood Elementary
  • Jewett Middle Academy
  • Jewett School of the Arts
  • Karen M. Siegel Academy
  • Lake Alfred-Addair Middle
  • Lake Alfred Elementary
  • Ridge Career Center
  • Westwood Middle
  • Winter Haven Senior

Kay Fields — District 5

Kay Fields, a native of McComb, Miss., is serving her fifth term on the School Board. She is a graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi and received a bachelor’s degree in English/secondary education.

She is president and CEO of Girls Inc. of Lakeland, a program for girls in grades K-12. Fields has served on numerous committees and boards, and currently is a member of the Pig Fest board, the Lakeland Optimist Club, the United Way Women’s Leadership Council, and the Polk Vision board of directors.

Fields is a member of New Mt. Zion A.M.E. Church in Lake Hamilton, where she currently serves as a steward.

Her term expires in November 2022.

Contact Information

Address: P.O. Box 391, Bartow, FL 33831

Phone: 863-802-5483

Email: kay.fields@polk-fl.net

District 5 Schools

  • Churchwell Elementary
  • Dr. N.E. Roberts Elementary
  • Griffin Elementary
  • Kathleen Elementary
  • Kathleen Middle
  • Kathleen Senior
  • Lawton Chiles Middle
  • Lincoln Avenue Academy
  • North Lakeland Elementary
  • Rochelle School of the Arts
  • Sleepy Hill Elementary
  • Sleepy Hill Middle
  • Socrum Elementary
  • Winston Academy of Engineering

Lynn Wilson, Chair — District 6

Lynn Wilson holds a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Florida Southern College and a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from the University of Central Florida.

Mr. Wilson is a Certified Public Accountant with over thirty years of experience in accounting and finance including stints in the public sector as a CPA and private and non-profit sectors as a CFO.

Mr. Wilson has served on the Boards of the Polk County Scholarship Fund, the Polk State College Alumni Association, and the Polk State College Foundation and is a past president of the Lake Region Rotary club. He is a former member of the Polk County Board of Commissioner’s Guidance Team for Budgeting Outcomes and a former chair of U.S. Representative Dennis Ross’ Faith and Family Advisory Committee.

In Addition to his business and administrative experience, Mr. Wilson has served as a professor at Polk State College where he taught accounting, finance, and business. During his tenure in the classroom, he served as Faculty Senate President as well as serving as department chair. As a professor at Polk State College, Mr. Wilson was awarded an endowed teaching chair for excellence in teaching, the Alumni Recognition Award for outstanding service to students and named an honorary member of Phi Theta Kappa for outstanding service to the college.

Mr. Wilson is married to Jeanne, his wife of 33 years, and they have two grown children. Lynn and Jeanne live in Winter Haven.

His term expires in November 2022.

Contact Information

Address: P.O. Box 391, Bartow, FL 33831

Phone: 863-397-0066

Email: lynn.wilson@polk-fl.net

District 6 Schools

  • Alturas Elementary
  • Ben Hill Griffin Elementary
  • Chain of Lakes Elementary
  • Eagle Lake Elementary
  • Frostproof Elementary
  • Frostproof Middle/Senior
  • Lake Region Senior
  • Lake Shipp Elementary
  • Mark Wilcox Center
  • McLaughlin Middle
  • Pinewood Elementary
  • Roosevelt Academy
  • Snively Elementary
  • Spook Hill Elementary
  • Wahneta Elementary

Lisa Miller — District 7

Lisa Miller is serving her first term on the Polk County School Board. She received her bachelor’s degree in mass communications/public relations from the University of South Florida. Miller worked in corporate advertising before serving as a classroom teacher for three years. After her son Michael was born with a significant developmental delay, she began working to improve the lives of all children with disabilities.  For the last decade, she has worked to build advocacy networks at the local and state levels.

Miller has chaired the Polk County ESE Advisory Committee and represents Polk County as a member of Florida’s State Advisory Committee on Exceptional Student Education with the Florida Department of Education.  She was appointed to chair the Family Care Council for Area 14 in 2012 by Gov. Rick Scott.  Her most recent gubernatorial appointment was to the Florida Developmental Disability Council in 2018. Locally, she worked with the City of Lakeland to form the Alliance on Accessibility and hire its first full-time ADA coordinator.

Miller believes creating access for all students by building learning communities and encouraging community partnerships will increase student performance and create positive outcomes.

Miller is married to Bob, her husband of 19 years. They reside in North Lakeland with their two children.

Her term expires in November 2022.

Contact Information

Address: P.O. Box 391, Bartow, FL 33831

Phone: 863-698-6240

Email: lisa.miller@polk-fl.net

District 7 Schools

  • Auburndale Central Elementary
  • Auburndale Senior
  • Boswell Elementary
  • Caldwell Elementary
  • Combee Elementary
  • Doris Sanders Learning Center
  • East Area Adult
  • Lake Gibson Middle
  • Lake Gibson Senior
  • Lena Vista Elementary
  • Padgett Elementary
  • Polk City Elementary
  • Stambaugh Middle
  • Tenoroc Senior
  • Wendell Watson Elementary

Billy

Townsend

District 1

Lori

Cunningham

District 2

Sarah

Fortney

District 3

Sara Beth

Reynolds

District 4

Kay

Fields

District 5

Lynn

Wilson

District 6

Lisa

Miller

District 7