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La Gaceta endorses Combs for School Board District 1

From “As We Heard It,” by Patrick Manteiga
Originally published July 24, 2020

School Board Member Steve Cona is being challenged by Nadia Combs, Ben “Floridaman” Greene and Bill Person.
Ben Greene is running because he is upset at the Board for having him trespassed from School Board meetings, which is not much of a campaign platform.
Bill Person did not interview with us. He has run for election several times and is retired after many years of service to Hillsborough County Schools, where he served as a teacher, principal and school administrator. Person is passionate about helping our children, but he likes to snipe at other candidates and office holders outside of his own race and that makes it difficult to lead and create consensus.
Nadia Combs owns Brighton Learning tutoring center in Tampa and has run it since 2014. Before that, she ran a company that provided tutoring services to students in Title I schools. She worked for the school district for 10 years as a teacher, department head and a district teacher trainer. She also taught ESOL classes for adult immigrants. She has a master’s degree in educational leadership.
Combs has a great combination of business and educational experience that would fit well on the Board. She’s smart and seems savvy enough to press for her agenda, which is more support for lower grades, recruiting better teachers and adjusting the curriculum to improve student outcomes. She also offers advocacy for Hispanic students in the district, which is important since she is running for District 1, which covers West Tampa and Town ‘n’ Country.
Incumbent Steve Cona has worked hard in his two years on the Board. He has been a strong advocate for this district’s schools and pushed for many enhancements to campuses. He has been a leader on the Board. He wants to have a 6-12 school for children with autism. He is the president and CEO of Associated Builders and Contractors. He’s done a good job, but we do hear concerns from labor unions. They feel Cona does not favor their apprenticeship programs and encourages the school district to use non-union trades programs that end up being more costly to the taxpayers.
La Gaceta endorses Nadia Combs for School Board District 1.

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