Gilzean officially joins the crowded Pinellas District 7 race
Glenton Gilzean Jr. has made it official.
Gov. Rick Scott's appointee to the Pinellas County school board on Monday filed his papers to join the race to fill the seat left vacant by the late Lew Williams, according to the Pinellas Supervisor of Elections website.
The 30-year-old former state Department of Education staffer burst on the Pinellas education scene in January after news of his appointment broke. He moved to St. Petersburg from Tampa in November.
He said he talked with his family over Easter dinner Sunday and made his decision to throw his hat in the race. “I believe that if I continue to do a good job,” Gilzean said Tuesday, “then the voters will keep me on board. And that’s the best kind of accountability there is.”
Gilzean's presence sparked plenty of skepticism among some of those involved in issues related to educating St. Petersburg's African-American youth, largely because they worried about his lack of familiarity with the district he would be serving.
He comes to the position from Educate Today, a nonprofit organization he founded while he was in graduate school at University of South Florida, which aims to help poor families identify educational options available to them, including whether they are well-suited to receive vouchers to attend private schools.
A former young leader in the Hillsborough Republican scene, Gilzean joins a diverse -- and now crowded -- field of candidates for the seat: former St. Petersburg City Council member Rene Flowers, 47; Thurgood Marshall Fundamental Middle School paraprofessional Cassandra Jackson, 52; attorney and repeat District 7 candidate Keisha Bell, 37; and University of South Florida student and recent Lakewood High graduate Corey Givens, Jr., 20.
Mark your calendars for what promises to be a lively contest. The primary election is Aug. 14.