This Manatee school board member will run for re-election

Gina Messenger, elected to the School Board of Manatee County nearly three years ago, has filed for re-election.

Messenger was sworn into office on Nov. 22, 2016, after beating Edward Viltz in the election earlier that month. One year later, former board member John Colon nominated Messenger for the vice-chair position, and her appointment was unanimously confirmed.

She announced the re-election campaign in a news release on Monday morning, highlighting the district’s strong finances, its improving grades and the successful opening of three new schools.

Messenger, whose term ends in November 2020, will appear on the ballot for the August primary. No one has filed to run against her.

“While serving on the board, Messenger believes strongly that education can improve the outlook for all students, especially low income students, in Manatee County,” the release states. “She wants to make sure that all students are recognized in the school board’s deliberations and the decisions made on their behalf.”

Messenger represents District 1, including Blackburn, Freedom, Harvey, Mills, Palmetto, Williams and Witt elementary schools. Her area also includes Buffalo Creek Middle and Haile Middle, along with Palmetto High and Parrish Community High.

In 2009, Messenger graduated from the University of Central Florida with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education, and she went on to teach in Marion and Orange counties. Messenger still holds certifications in elementary education and English for speakers of other languages, according to the Florida Department of Education.

Messenger grew up in Northwest Bradenton and graduated from Manatee High School, according to her district profile. She now lives in Parrish with her husband, Matt, and their daughter, Olivia.

“Gina is a product of Manatee County’s public schools and currently has a child in Manatee County’s public schools,” she said in Monday’s news release. “Gina believes in working together as a team and focusing on academic achievement to benefit all students.”