Thank you for the opportunity to respond to this newspaper's endorsement of Julie Aranibar for the District 5 Manatee County school board seat. This is perhaps the most important election in our community's history, and I encourage every voter to look at the educational and work experience background of each candidate in order to make the right voting decision.
I have devoted the past 48 years of my life to public education. During this time, I have been a successful teacher, administrator, and leader. The passion I have for seeing that students achieve has made a positive difference in the lives of thousands of students, their families and our community.
My educational background includes a bachelor's, master's and Ph.D. degrees in education. This background prepares me to be an excellent school board member.
Many know me for the work I did over the past 18 year as director of Manatee Technical Institute. Under my leadership, MTI received national recognition for excellence, enabling students to win more national medals than any other school in the nation for 11 years.
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I have worked closely with business and industry to form strong community partnerships while training students to master critical skills to earn a living. MTI students obtained a 90 percent student completion rate, and the graduates have a 90 percent employment rate.
My passion for seeing students succeed as evidenced by this track record will translate to a stronger and more successful Manatee County school board.
Manatee County deserves a school board composed of people who will put the focus back on students and be strong stewards of taxpayer dollars. Most importantly, the board must demonstrate respect for other board members and for members of the public who speak before the board.
We need a team working together with a positive attitude who will transform our school district into one nationally recognized for excellence. My background gives me the skills necessary to make it happen.
I urge you to vote for Mary Cantrell on Aug. 26 for school board District 5.