Former council member Bill Dudley to vie for Pinellas School Board
Former St. Petersburg City Council member Bill Dudley filed Friday to run for the District 1 seat on the Pinellas County School Board, becoming the third candidate to challenge three-term incumbent Janet Clark.
Dudley, who left the council after hitting the two-term limit, said he decided on the move in the fall and has since received encouragement from many in the community.
“I have been a public servant all of my adult life,” he said. “That's where my calling is, and I'm not done yet.”
Dudley, 71, worked for the Pinellas County school system for 37 years, almost all of it at Northeast High School. He coached wrestling, football and cross country and taught driver's education as well as American history and government.
He retired in 2006 and said moving to the School Board was a “natural progression” for him. He said he still spends two or three days a week at Northeast High, but as a volunteer.
He said the issues he would work on as a School Board member would include student attendance, early childhood education, the budget and teaching conditions.
“We've got to quit micromanaging the education process,” Dudley said. “We are just kicking teachers and just beating them to death. Where the rubber meets the road is the teacher in the classroom. And they're losing their ability to (teach) because of so many outside things that they don't have any control of.”
Clark said this week she plans to file soon to run for reelection. The two other challengers for her seat also are educators. They are Joanne Lentino, a former first-grade teacher at Gulfport Elementary, and Matt Stewart, a deputy director for the Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections and an adjunct ethics professor at St. Petersburg College.