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Bush backs School Board candidate

Two high-profile school choice advocates have endorsed Pinellas County School Board candidate Glenton Gilzean, his campaign announced this week.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush isn't known for endorsing a lot of candidates, but in a press release on Tuesday, Bush said: "Glen Gilzean is a champion for students. Glen has the courage and experience to tackle the complex issues facing Pinellas County schools.

"His continued leadership on the Pinellas County School Board will ensure all students receive a world class education."

Not everyone would welcome an endorsement by Bush right now, given the statewide tussle over standardized testing. The Bush era brought Florida most of the FCAT-heavy policies that teachers and school boards are protesting right now. Gilzean was the lone Pinellas board member to vote against an anti-testing resolution.

On Friday, incoming House Speaker Will Weatherford also endorsed Gilzean in his bid to keep the District 7 seat.

A former state Department of Education staffer, Gilzean was appointed to the seat by Gov. Rick Scott after board member Lew Williams died. Whoever wins the election will serve out the length of the term, which ends in 2014.

Gilzean faces four challengers: attorney Keisha Bell; former St. Petersburg City Council member Rene Flowers; Corey Givens Jr., a 20-year-old University of South Florida student; and Cassandra Jackson, 52, a paraprofessional at Thurgood Marshall Fundamental Middle School in St. Petersburg.

Gilzean said he was humbled by and proud of the endorsements.

.Candidates forum

Got a question about Pinellas schools?

The Tampa Bay Times is rounding up questions for a Pinellas County School Board candidates forum at 6:30 p.m. on July 26 at Osceola Fundamental High School in Seminole. The event is being organized by the Pinellas Education Foundation and the Pinellas County Council of PTAs.

To submit questions, go to the Gradebook at or email Times education reporter Cara Fitzpatrick at Please indicate whether you are a parent, a teacher, a student, a business leader, etc.

The other contested race for the Pinellas County School Board is for District 1 (at-large). Incumbent Janet R. Clark faces Jim Jackson, a retired university professor; Shelly Ladd-Gilbert, owner of Ivy Prep Learning Center in Clearwater; and Elliott Stern, a former Pinellas Education Foundation board member.

Bush backs School Board candidate 07/06/12 [Last modified: Friday, July 6, 2012 10:58pm]
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