When I learned that Dr. Mary Cantrell was not renewed as director of Manatee Technical Institute, I was honestly shocked.
As a graduate of Manatee High and MTI's dental assisting program, I have watched MTI grow from a tiny 500-student fledgling vo-tech school into a 15,000-student, four-campus, technical institute that has been considered No. 1 in the nation for 11 consecutive years.
This kind of positive change doesn't happen overnight and does not come easily. It only comes from honest hard work and commitment.
I am certain everything Dr. Cantrell has done, including commuting from St. Pete for 18 years so her husband could be closer to his job, has always been for the students she loves dearly.
It's this level of honorable intentions that makes Dr. Cantrell the best choice for a seat on the school board.
When she speaks, she speaks honestly. When she makes decisions, she considers the students and their best interest. She champions honest work and produces honest outcomes.
As a student at MTI, I was expected to show up in uniform with my ID and be in my seat on time ready to learn. Dr. Cantrell made it clear if we did these things, we could do anything. Her graduate success stories honestly embody this notion.
So when you vote, be sure to choose a school board candidate in all three districts, because the election is county-wide. In District 5, the best choice is the honest choice: Dr. Mary Cantrell.
Remember, if she can take the tiny Manatee vo-tech and build it into the impressive and well-regarded Manatee Technical Institute -- which, remember, is No. 1 in the nation -- just think what she can do for our entire school district.
Honestly, if anyone can, Mary Cantrell can.