David O. Archie and Minetha L. Morris have joined the field of candidates running for Pinellas School Board this year, bringing the total to 12.
Archie, 55, a longtime civic leader in North County, last month left the Tarpon Springs City Commission due to term limits. He ran unsuccessfully for a School Board seat in 2000.
Morris, 32, worked six years as a teacher at 74th Street Elementary School in St. Petersburg and now teaches reading at Hillsborough Community College. She ran unsuccessfully for a School Board seat in 2006.
Both candidates are competing for the District 2 seat now held by veteran board member Nancy Bostock, who is running for County Commission and plans to resign, effective in November. They join Nina Hayden, a Pinellas public defender who announced her candidacy earlier this month. The winner would fill the remaining two years of Bostock's term.
"I look at this as an opportunity to help all children to reach their academic potential," Archie said. As a board member, he said, he would push to engage families with the district and encourage partnerships with businesses. He said he also would work to improve the graduation rate.
Archie is executive director of Citizens Alliance for Progress, a nonprofit organization in Tarpon Springs that offers tutoring, counseling, job placement and other services.
Archie served as a Tarpon Springs city commissioner from 1996 to 2001 and 2002 to 2008.
Morris said she would concentrate on middle school reform, arguing that some Pinellas middle schools are too crowded and not adequately staffed with administrators and guidance counselors. She said she favored a new proposal to begin the middle school day earlier than the current 9:45 a.m. starting time. Morris lives in St. Petersburg and has three children in the school system.
The primary election, where most School Board races are usually settled, is Aug. 26. In contests where no candidate gets a majority, the top two vote-getters compete in the general election.
Thomas C. Tobin can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 893-8923.