A looming vacancy on the School Board of Manatee County means a past candidate, interested community member or education advocate could land a seat at the table without having to run a costly campaign and win an election. But, they will have to win the approval of the governor.
At least one contender has already gone public with plans to throw her name in the mix.
Misty Servia, who ran for the School Board of Manatee County and lost to Dave Miner in 2016, told the Bradenton Herald she plans to apply for Carpenter’s seat. Servia, a certified planner, said her 2016 campaign theme of re-establishing public trust in the board is just as relevant now as it was last year.
“My interest has not waned at all since losing the election,” Servia said. “There was not one ounce of indecision.”
On Tuesday, Karen Carpenter, who was elected to the board in 2010, told district officials she plans to step down at the end of May to spend more time with her family. That means Gov. Rick Scott will need to appoint someone to fill her seat for the remainder of her term.
Scott spokeswoman Kerry Wyland said the position is open and anyone is welcome to apply. Interested candidates can live anywhere in the county and do not have to live in the south Bradenton District 4 that they will represent, district general counsel Mitch Teitelbaum said.
The last time there was a vacancy on the board was in 2015 when board member Mary Cantrell died of cancer. Current board member John Colon was appointed to be her replacement in September 2015, roughly two months after Cantrell died. Developer and former state Sen. Pat Neal helped conduct interviews with interested candidates.
At the time, more than 25 community members applied for the position.
A handful of other community leaders who either ran for board seats in the past or applied to take Cantrell’s position reached Wednesday all said they had no plans on applying this time around.
Frank Brunner, who ran against Carpenter in 2014 and lost, said on Wednesday that he was “absolutely not” planning on submitting his name to the list of potential replacements. Manatee NAACP president and former board candidate Rodney Jones also said he was not interested. And Julie Aranibar, who served on the board from 2010-14 and sought the appointment following Cantrell’s death, said she would not seek the position.
Those interested in applying for the appointment can learn about the process and apply at www.flgov.com/appointments/.