BRADENTON -- Charlie Kennedy, a Manatee High School social studies teacher, has become the second candidate to announce for the District 2 school board seat now held by Barbara Harvey.
Rodney K. Jones, an official at State College of Florida Manatee-Sarasota, announced in January that he was seeking the District 2 seat.
Harvey, who has held the District 2 seat for 16 years has not said yet whether she will seek re-election. The district covers most of the urban core of Bradenton and Palmetto,
Kennedy announced late Tuesday that he had filed his papers to run for Manatee School Board.
He has been an educator for 10 years. In addition to his time at Manatee High School, he has been on the faculty at
the Pendleton School in Bradenton and YouthBuild Public Charter School in Washington, D.C.
Kennedy plans to focus on early childhood education, a common sense approach to district properties and their proposed sale, a more hands-on role for school board members in supporting classroom teachers, and prioritizing school spending directly on students and classrooms, without raising taxes, according to a press release announcing his candidacy.
Kennedy, 44, said he had pondered running for school board for several years, and thought the time was right to throw his hat into the ring.
"Now is a good time to step up to see if the solutions I can offer will resonate with the voters," he said.
The district seems to be on the path to solving its financial difficulties, Kennedy said, adding that he wants to "ensure that the diverse student body of Manatee County has an advocate in the school board's deliberations and decision making to meet their current needs and their goals for the future."
Teachers seeking office
There is recent precedent for school district employees running for school board. In 2012, Lakewood Ranch High School teacher Robert Moates ran for a district seat, but lost to Dave "Watchdog" Miner.
"After talking to the Florida School Boards Association, we found out that a teacher may run for school board, but if the person won the election then they could no longer be a teacher in the same district as it would be a conflict of interest," said Steve Valley, director of Communications and Family/Community Engagement. "However, they could be a teacher in a neighboring county."
District 4 school board member Karen Carpenter is deliberating whether to seek re-election. District 4 covers Manatee County south of Bradenton.
Carpenter plans to announce her decision late next week.
District 5 incumbent Julie Aranibar, a Lakewood Ranch resident, is seeking re-election. She is being challenged by Carlton "Les" Nichols. District 5 covers most of East Manatee south of the Manatee River.
Official qualifying begins noon June 16 and ends noon June 20.
James A. Jones Jr., Herald reporter, can be contacted at 941-745-7053.