Eight people are vying for three seats on the School Board of Manatee County, including the three incumbents.
The qualifying period, a time when candidates must file the necessary paperwork and pay the required fees, ended Friday. The county's primary election is scheduled for Aug. 28.
Residents can request a mail-in ballot by visiting votemanatee.com, calling 941-741-3823 or emailing email@example.com. When requesting a ballot by email, residents must include their name, address and date of birth.
School board candidates must live in the district they seek to represent, but all county voters are eligible to vote in each race.
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Alice Kaddatz, a lifelong Manatee County resident, is hoping to unseat incumbent Charlie Kennedy in the District 2 race. Both of them qualified for the ballot.
She is a regular at school board meetings and at the newly formed Citizens' Financial Advisory Committee. According to her statement on the elections website, Kaddatz's family has been in Manatee County since the 1800s, and all of six of her children attended school in the district.
After a former coach at Manatee High School was accused of abusing students, Kaddatz joined her daughter — one of the victims — in successfully suing the district for $210,000 in 2016. Roderick Frazier, pleaded no contest to four misdemeanor counts of battery and two counts of interfering with school attendance.
Kennedy won election to the board in 2014 and went on to serve as vice chair from 2015 to 2016, and as the board chair from 2016 to 2017. Kennedy also taught classes ranging from U.S. history to economics as a teacher at Manatee High School, IMG Academy and YouthBuild Public Charter School in Washington, D.C.
After a dispute between the current board chair Scott Hopes and a board member Dave Miner earlier this year, Kennedy led an unsuccessful effort to unseat Hopes as chairman. The two sat down to reconcile their differences in May, but the meeting came to an end after Kennedy said the conversation should be recorded, to Hopes' disagreement.
Hopes, who was appointed last year by Gov. Rick Scott to fill a vacancy on the board, is facing challenges by three other candidates, James Daniel, Joseph Stokes and Richard Murphy. All four candidates qualified for the ballot, with Murphy qualifying late Friday afternoon.
Hopes is chairman and chief executive officer of CliniLinc, a company for medical information services and technology.
Gov. Rick Scott appointed Hopes to the school board last year, filling a seat let vacant by Karen Carpenter. Hopes taught science to middle school students in Hillsborough County during a teacher shortage in 1984. He then served as a department chair for McLane Junior High School in Brandon, and then as a department chair for Burns Junior High School.
His dispute with Miner led to an investigation by the Bradenton Police Department, which found no probable cause to support Hopes' claim that Miner tried to run him over. The altercation unfolded in a parking lot after the school board meeting on Feb. 27.
Most recently, Hopes spoke in favor of giving the Citizens' Financial Advisory Committee more oversight of district's finances.
Daniel is a certified public accountant who moved to Manatee in 1982. Citing a wife who teaches first graders, a son who teaches middle school students and a daughter who works as a high school aide, Daniel said he and his family share a passion for education.
He has, according to an email, served on boards for the Palmetto Jaycees, Palmetto Rotary Club, Southwest Children's Academy and Manatee's chapter of the American Red Cross.
After a 45-year career in public education, Stokes, who has qualified for the ballot, retired from Manatee's school district in 2016, according to his candidate statement. He worked as a classroom teacher in Indiana for 17 years before he became principal of King Middle School, in Bradenton, during 2004.
He moved on to serve the district as director of elementary of education, a position he held for five years, and he then worked at Samoset Elementary School as its assistant principal.
In his candidate statement, Stokes shared a passion for Manatee's youth, one that extends beyond district schools. He and his wife, Linda, fostered 13 children with special needs over a seven-year period in the 1990s
If no one receives at least 50 percent of the vote in the Aug. 28 primary, the top two vote-getters will face off during the general election on Nov. 6.
Incumbent John Colon is facing a challenge from former Bradenton City Council member James Golden. Both qualified for the ballot..
Colon resigned from the Florida Board of Education after Gov. Rick Scott appointed him to Manatee's school board. He filled the seat left vacant by Mary Cantrell, who died in 2015. Colon previously earned the title of first vice president at Morgan Stanley in New York, and he served the United Negro College Fund in Manatee, Sarasota and Tampa.
Colon decided not to pursue the school board's chair position in 2017, citing the possible conflict of interest that could arise from serving as chairman and working as senior vice president of investments for Wells Fargo Advisors in Sarasota.
Golden was a longtime pastor at Bradenton's Ward Temple African Methodist Episcopal Church, and the current pastor of Mt. Zion A.M.E. Church at the Port of Tampa. Golden also sits on the Board of Directors for Centerstone, which serves people who have mental health and addiction disorders.
According to his campaign website, Golden has served Manatee County in various capacities for decades. He worked as a substitute teacher, and as chairman of the School Advisory Council at Louis R. Johnson Middle School.
After losing a re-election bid to the Bradenton City Council, Golden has been an unsuccessful candidate for the U.S. Congress, Florida Legislature and other offices.