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La Gaceta endorses Thrower and Hill for School Board District 3

From As We Heard It, by: Patrick Manteiga July 17, 2020

There are six candidates running for School Board District 3 to replace the retiring Cindy Stuart, who is running for Clerk of the Circuit Court.
All the candidates we interviewed should be thanked for running for public office. It’s not a fun process and people can be exceptionally mean. The whole group seemed to genuinely care for our students and teachers and wanted to improve the district.
Alexandra Gilmore has two children in public schools and has been a substitute teacher for three years. She tells us of failures in the district she witnessed as a substitute and knows the problems well.
Leo Haggerty has 32 years as a school district employee. He served on the teachers’ union bargaining team. He knows the system and wants to be holistic in serving students. Haggerty is also a man of great faith.
Rick Warrener is a retired CFO and controller and became interested in politics after helping his son run for State House. His focus and claim is that he understands the school district budget and wants to use the Board position to pressure the Legislature to increase school spending.
Jessica Vaughn was a classroom teacher who started substituting after her son was born. She feels her experience as an elected member of her CDD board will help her navigate the School Board and its budget. Vaughn would be a strong advocate for children with disabilities.
There are two candidates we feel stand above the others.
Jennifer Hill has over 17 years of IT and special education teaching experience. She is very focused and excited about technology. She is also preparing to open her own business.
We found Hill to be honest, humble and passionate. She seemed to be a good listener and has a calm and patient demeanor that would serve her well on the School Board. Her knowledge of technology and its use in teaching would be valuable as the district will continue to expand online learning.
Mitch Thrower also impresses us. He currently works for the Aviation Authority and is a Certified Public Accountant and a Certified Internal Auditor.
He has a lot of experience on public boards from the County Charter Review Board to the Hillsborough County Planning Commission, where he was elected chair six times. His leadership experience is needed on the School Board, as are his skills in understanding the budget.
With six candidates, this race will likely go to a runoff in November. La Gaceta co-endorses Jennifer Hill and Mitch Thrower for School Board District 3.

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