BRADENTON -- A new member will join the Manatee County School Board shortly, as John Colon has been tapped by Gov. Rick Scott to fill a vacancy caused by the death of Mary Cantrell.
Scott's appointment prompted Colon, 64, to resign from the state board of education.
Colon could not immediately be reached on Friday.
Colon, a Republican and financial advisor who lives in the University Park area of Manatee County, has been on the state board of education since 2013 and was reappointed earlier this year for a term that was supposed to run through 2018.
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As long as he's available, Colon will be sworn-in during a special session on Tuesday prior to the planned 2 p.m. workshop, said board chair Bob Gause.
"He's a smart man, he's an honest man, he clearly cares," Gause said.
Other board members agreed, and were eager to have Colon join them.
"He's had a long and distinguished career," board member Karen Carpenter said. "He brings a lot to the table."
Board member Charlie Kennedy called Colon the "perfect choice."
"He's experienced, even-keeled and knows how to work as a team," Kennedy said in an email.
Kennedy first met Colon after he was elected to the school board last August. Kennedy said Colon offered him support and guidance.
"I'm very much looking forward to working with him," Kennedy said. "He is walking in the shadow of one of the greats of Manatee Schools, Dr. Mary Cantrell. I have no doubt he will serve her legacy with pride and dignity."
Superintendent Diana Greene is also looking forward to having Colon on board, according to a statement from the district.
"I welcome Mr. Colon to the School Board and I look forward to working collaboratively with him and his fellow school board members to enhance and expand educational opportunities for the children of Manatee County," Greene said in the statement.
Colon said he loved being on the state board of education, but could not pass up an opportunity to serve more in his local community. Colon has previously been the chairman of the Sarasota Housing Authority and ran for the Manatee County Commission in 2012 but lost in the Republican primary to Vanessa Baugh, who was later elected to the commission.
With both state and local education experience, Colon said he hoped to be a person who could bring key insight to the school district when it comes to dealing with state rules and regulations.
Colon will be on the board until the next election in 2016, when voters will elect someone to complete the final two years of Cantrell's term.
Cantrell died in July, just 8 months after winning a seat on the board in the 2014 elections.
Meghin Delaney, education reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7081. Follow her on Twitter@MeghinDelaney.