Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Three more candidates join District 7 Pinellas School Board race

The race to fill Lew Williams' vacant Pinellas County School Board seat has attracted three more candidates, expanding the field to four.

Cassandra Jackson, Keisha Bell and Corey Givens Jr. have announced their intent to run for the south Pinellas seat. St. Petersburg City Council member Rene Flowers, 47, also wants to represent District 7 and kicked off her campaign in February.

Glenton Gilzean Jr., 30, who Gov. Rick Scott appointed to fill the vacancy left by Williams' death, has not yet announced if he will run.

Though School Board terms typically last four years, the person elected to fill the remainder of Williams' term will serve until 2014. Candidates have until noon on June 8 to qualify for the Aug. 14 primary election. Here's a look at the three new candidates:

Keisha Bell

Bell, 37, is a St. Petersburg attorney who ran for the seat in 2010 against Williams and fellow challenger Jim Jackson. Bell lost in the three-person primary with 27 percent of the vote but endorsed Williams in his winning bid for the seat.

She has been involved in Pinellas Education Foundation's Florida Next Generation Learning initiative and is a board member at James B. Sanderlin Elementary's family center.

Cassandra Jackson

Jackson, 52, is a paraprofessional at Thurgood Marshall Fundamental Middle School in St. Petersburg who has twice run unsuccessfully for St. Petersburg City Council.

Jackson draws on her varied experience as a Gibbs High School parent and educational activist serving on committees such as the District Monitoring and Advisory Committee, a court-created organization charged with monitoring the district's activities regarding racial equity, and the St. Petersburg NAACP's education committee.

Corey Givens Jr.

A 2010 graduate of Lakewood High in St. Petersburg, Givens said he feels uniquely qualified to tackle the weighty issues facing the district's youth, including glaring achievement disparities between black and white students.

"I feel like if anyone knows what the students of Pinellas County need, it's someone who has been there recently," said Givens, who turns 20 on Wednesday. He is pursuing at bachelor's degree in political science at the University of South Florida. While at Lakewood, he served as president of the Pinellas County Student Rights and Responsibilities committee as well as class president.

Givens said he has been active in local campaigns including those for state Rep. Darryl Rouson, Pinellas County Commissioner Kenneth Welch and former state chief financial officer Alex Sink.

Reach Rebecca Catalanello at (727) 893-8707 or

Other candidates that have filed to run for the Pinellas School Board

District 1 (at-large)

Janet Clark - incumbent

Jim Jackson

Elliot Stern

District 4

Robin Wikle - incumbent

District 5 is also up for re-election but incumbent Carol Cook has said she intends to run but has not filed to run yet.

Three more candidates join District 7 Pinellas School Board race 04/07/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, April 10, 2012 10:09am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. New owners take over downtown St. Petersburg's Hofbräuhaus


    ST. PETERSBURG — The downtown German beer-hall Hofbräuhaus St. Petersburg has been bought by a partnership led by former Checkers Drive-In Restaurants president Keith Sirois.

    The Hofbrauhaus, St. Petersburg, located in the former historic Tramor Cafeteria, St. Petersburg, is under new ownership.

  2. Ed Sheeran coming to Raymond James Stadium in Tampa


    Let it never be said Ed Sheeran hasn't given the people of Tampa what they want.

  3. Editorial: Once more, homeowners are let down by state housing agency


    Once upon a time, the federal government created a program called the Hardest Hit Fund. Its goal was admirable, and its mission important. The fund was designed to aid Americans in danger of losing their houses after the Great Recession had wreaked havoc on the economy. Unfortunately, the folks in Washington erred in …

    The Hardest Hit Fund was designed to aid Americans in danger of losing their houses after the Great Recession. Unfortunately, the folks in Washington trusted Florida to get that money into the hands of people who needed it most.
  4. Editorial: Lessons from Hurricane Irma


    Two weeks later, Florida is still recovering from Hurricane Irma. But with federal, state and local officials still on the ground, and the experience fresh, now is a good time to start assessing what went right, what went wrong and how Florida can better prepare for the next one.


    More than 6 million of Florida’s 10 million residential and business customers lost power, including about 80 percent of Duke Energy’s customers in Pinellas.
  5. Back in bargaining, Hillsborough school district and its teachers are $50 million apart


    It started off nice and friendly. Gretchen Saunders, chief business officer for the Hillsborough County Public Schools, passed candy around the room. Negotiators for the district and the teachers' union commended one another for their good work during Hurricane Irma. The union thanked the district for paying everybody a …

    This a breakdown of what the school district says the teachers' union requests would cost if granted. The union rejects many of these numbers.