Terry Krassner's stepson James is in the pre-engineering program at Osceola Fundamental High School. And she wants more students to get similar opportunities.
"I feel like the School Board is a place where they could use some help promoting what's right about Pinellas and open up more doors for vocation and technical programs," Krassner said. That would provide "balance for all the AP classes and everything else that's out there."
Krassner, 58, is running for the Pinellas County School Board District 2 at-large seat being vacated by Nina Hayden.
She was principal at Westgate Elementary for 16 years before retiring last year. She is the daughter of former School Board member Lee Benjamin. She has three stepchildren, all in Pinellas schools, and an adult son who graduated from the IB program at St. Petersburg High.
"I know going from school to school board is a big leap," she said. "But I think things can get fixed."
Among the things she says need fixing: The district's graduation rate (which has climbed over the past two years to 77.2 percent).
Krassner said boosting career and technical programs — and creating more Centers of Excellence — will keep students better engaged.
School safety needs fixing too, she said. Her campaign Web site says student assignment plans, busing plans and school start times all need to be looked at. She mentioned the recent incident where a St. Pete High student was arrested after bringing a gun to campus.
"The last thing you want to know is that your child is in a school with a lockdown," she said. "I know we do so much to secure our schools, but there's always more and you have to keep looking for better ways."
Krassner said she is a big fan of decentralized decision-making and wants to continue the push to give more control to teachers, parents and administrators.
"It goes back to that one-size-fits-all," she said. "It doesn't work."
— Ron Matus, Times staff writer
Gibbs senior headed to NYC arts residency
Gibbs High senior Blaine Krauss has been named a silver award winner for his theater performance during the 2010 Young Arts Week in Miami. The award earns him $5,000 and a trip to New York City for In the Studio, a weeklong artistic residency that will include master classes and an opportunity to perform at Baryshnikov Arts Center.
Past master teachers for In the Studio have included Mikhail Baryshnikov, Edward Albee and Martin Scorsese.
Blaine, who was selected as a Top 2010 Student by YoungArts, which is the core program of the National Foundation for Advancement of the Arts, also has been nominated as a semifinalist in the Presidential Scholars portion of the competition.
He is one of 45 gold and silver award winners in the nation and one of 11 in Florida. From 4,000 applicants, he was one of 142 selected to perform in Miami.
"Being around so many of our country's top 18-year-old performers was not only an honor, but enormously humbling," he said.
Blaine will learn in May if he has been chosen as a Presidential Scholars finalist, which would send him to Washington to be recognized at the White House.
— Rachel Williams, tb2 correspondent