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Field grows crowded for countywide Hillsborough School Board seat

TAMPA — A sixth challenger has joined the race to unseat incumbent April Griffin in the District 6 contest for the Hillsborough County School Board.

Sally A. Harris, 60, is the founding owner of Circle C Ranch Academy, a preschool in South Tampa, and a former occupational specialist in Hillsborough middle and high schools. She said she particularly hopes to advocate for special-needs children as a School Board member.

"I really think I can help with not forgetting those in-between children," Harris said. "That's my passion."

Also running for the countywide seat to represent District 6 are Benjamin Todd Fink, Scott David Barrish, Terry Kemple, John T. Mattox and Mitchell Smithey. The position pays about $37,000 a year.

As the mother of nine children — three by birth, four by a marriage and two by adoption — Harris has run the PTSA in five schools, and is the former president of the South Tampa Chamber of Commerce.

She described the district's opportunities under its $202 million reforms with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as tremendous and said she was looking forward to helping the board make sure those changes are carried out wisely.

"I am very nervous about how we are going to evaluate and compensate the teachers of students who are special," she said, referring to those reforms.

Candidates face a June 18 deadline to qualify for the Aug. 24 primary and, if necessary, a Nov. 4 runoff election. For more information, visit the Hillsborough supervisor of elections website at

Tom Marshall can be reached at or (813) 226-3400.

Field grows crowded for countywide Hillsborough School Board seat 05/31/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, August 4, 2010 1:14pm]
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