Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Eleven running for five Pinellas School Board seats

The past two years have been relatively calm for the Pinellas County School District, with few disagreements among School Board members and a new superintendent, Mike Grego, who has stabilized the system after multiple changes in leadership.

But that hasn't deterred candidates who say they can do better. All four incumbents up for re-election will face challengers in the August primary election, and three candidates will vie for the seat to be vacated soon by board member Robin Wikle.

In all, by Friday's qualifying deadline, 11 candidates signed up to compete for five seats on the seven-member board.

For the District 2 at-large seat, incumbent Terry Krassner, a former elementary school principal, is running for a second term against Chris Tauchnitz of Oldsmar, a senior software engineer at VeriFone Inc. Tauchnitz has two children in Pinellas schools, and his wife works as a teacher in the system.

In District 3, another at-large seat, incumbent Peggy O'Shea is running for a third term. O'Shea, a professional mediator and civic leader in the Palm Harbor area, is opposed by Kent Curtis, an environmental history professor at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg. He also is the founder and former director of the Edible Peace Patch Project, a group that promotes school gardens.

When Wikle announced in February she would leave her north county seat early for personal reasons, she vowed to remain in office through November to allow her successor to be elected rather than appointed by the governor.

At Friday's deadline, the three candidates emerging to fill the remaining two years of Wikle's term were former Tarpon Springs mayor Beverley Billiris, who is a teacher at Tarpon Springs Elementary; John H. Nygren, who has more than 35 years' experience as a secondary school math teacher in Massachusetts and Florida; and Ken Peluso, a retired chiropractor who formerly chaired the Early Learning Coalition of Pinellas County and ran against Wikle in 2008.

Linda Lerner, who has been on the board since 1990, represents District 6, which includes north St. Petersburg, Pinellas Park, Seminole and the south Pinellas beaches. She will be opposed by Maureen Ahern, a former journalist and a small business owner who has been active in civic groups.

Former St. Petersburg City Council member Rene Flowers was elected to the board in 2012 to complete the term of deceased board member Lew Williams. She is running for her first full term on the board.

She is opposed by Irene Olive Cates, a former chef and co-founder of a nonprofit organization focused on social issues. Cates qualified as a write-in candidate.

Eleven running for five Pinellas School Board seats 06/20/14 [Last modified: Friday, June 20, 2014 9:50pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Police: Uber driver's gun discharges during fight at Adventure Island in Tampa

    Public Safety

    TAMPA — An Uber driver's gun went off Sunday at Adventure Island during a fight between the driver and two passengers.

  2. Baker cautious on Pride politics


    Rick and Joyce Baker strode down Central Avenue Sunday amid rainbow flags, corporate booths, and blaring music of the St. Pete Pride Festival.

    St. Petersburg mayoral candidate Rick Baker chats Sunday with people at the St. Pete Pride Festival. As mayor, Baker did not sign a Pride parade proclamation, but now he says he would.
  3. Rays' bullpen stars lit up in loss to Orioles

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Saturday it was the soft underbelly of the bullpen that let one get away from the Rays, incurring the wrath of the team's faithful followers, who wondered why the high-leverage guys weren't pitching.

    Rays closer Alex Colome, coming in with the score tied in the ninth, allows three runs in his second straight poor outing.
  4. Lightning among early suitors for defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman said he planned to explore free agency for potential needs, which include bolstering his blue line and adding a wing or two.

    Defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk, who can be a free agent Saturday, counts the Lightning among his early suitors.
  5. Senate leaders try to appease members as support for health bill slips


    WASHINGTON — Senate Republican leaders scrambled Sunday to rally support for their health care bill, even as opposition continued to build outside Congress and two Republican senators questioned whether the bill would be approved this week.

    Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, speaking to reporters on Capitol Hill on Thursday, is one of the five Republican senators who announced they cannot support the health care bill as drafted.