Mike Aday turned 32 on Dec. 11. He celebrated by filing to run for Pasco County School Board.
"I thought my birthday would be a good day to put in the paperwork," the Hudson Middle School social studies teacher said.
A single dad, United School Employees of Pasco activist and nearly lifelong Pasco County resident — Aday was Gulf High School's 2004 salutatorian — he said all his interests prompted him to seek the District 5 seat currently held by two-termer Steve Luikart.
He's been in the classroom since 2011, so he can provide the "boots on the ground perspective" that he said the board needs when making tough decisions.
In 2016, Aday told the board he had to drive for Uber as a second job to make ends meet. So he gets the financial picture from the receiving end.
As a union building representative, and member of the USEP bargaining team, he has been involved with the policies and procedures involved in the employee contract. He's currently on the district task force to improve teacher evaluations.
And his son, Mikal, attends kindergarten in the district, giving him the parent point of view on how board decisions impact children.
"Pasco is home to me, and has given me so much," said Aday. "I want to do the best I can to serve."
USEP officials said they were pleased to have an active member seek public office, to help pursue an agenda friendly to teachers and school staff. They expressed hope more would run.
Incumbent Luikart, who has not said whether he will seek reelection, has been a friend to the union. Aday stressed he is not running against Luikart, for whom he expressed "nothing but respect" — but rather for a place on the board.
He said his father always told him if you have the ability, power and opportunity to help, "you have an obligation, a responsibility almost, to do so."
Former Pinellas County teacher Kathryn "Kassie" Hutchinson also has filed papers to run for the District 5 seat. The primary election is scheduled for Aug. 28.