Retired administrator is latest to enter Pinellas School Board race
Max E. Loden, a veteran administrator with the Pinellas school system, has entered the District 1 School Board race.
Loden retired last summer, ending a 35-year career in which he worked as a physical education teacher, coach and district-level administrator. He spent his last 10 years as an assistant principal at Pinellas Park High, where he coordinated the criminal justice magnet program.
Running for a School Board seat is “something that I thought about for several years as I approached retirement,” the 58-year-old Loden said in an interview Tuesday. “I’m just not ready to walk away from (education) … I think I have a lot to offer.”
He said the board sometimes gets sidetracked on issues that stray from its core mission. “I’d like to see us focus on the things we do well,” he said.
The District 1 seat is held by board member Janet Clark, who has not yet announced a bid for a second term but recently picked up candidate materials from the Pinellas Supervisor of Elections office.
Jennifer Crockett, a School Board candidate in 2006, announced in early January that she would campaign for the seat.
In other races, Ken Peluso of Palm Harbor has announced his campaign to fill the District 4 seat held by veteran board member Jane Gallucci, who will not run for re-election. Board member Carol Cook, who holds the District 5 seat, has announced she will run for a third term.
After an early career as a coach and PE teacher, Loden became assistant principal at 16th Street Middle School, now known as John Hopkins Middle. He went on to be an assistant principal at St. Petersburg High and then became the district’s supervisor of support personnel, overseeing the hiring of bus drivers, teachers aides, office staff and other employees.
In retirement, Loden is the activities director at Veritas Preparatory Academy in Pinellas Park, a Christian school that offers classroom instruction two and three days a week to home-schooled students.