Sunday, February 18, 2018
Politics

Veteran teacher joins crowded field for Hernando supervisor of elections

BROOKSVILLE — The race for Hernando supervisor of elections already offered the most diverse field among this year's contests for the county's open constitutional seats.

Now the ballot is even more crowded.

Jason Yungmann, a longtime social studies teacher for the Hernando County school district, has filed papers to make a bid as a Republican for the seat that Democrat Annie Williams has held for 12 years. Williams plans to retire at the end of her current term.

Yungmann, a 37-year-old Brooksville native and head of the social studies department at Explorer K-8 School in Spring Hill, says he wants to channel his passions for education and the electoral process into a new challenge.

"I felt that's a position where I could actually make an impact," Yungmann said. "I feel like there's more out there for me, and now is a good time in my life and career to try something new."

In addition to his teaching duties, Yungmann has appeared in several productions at Stage West Community Playhouse in Spring Hill and has sung with the Hernando Symphony Orchestra.

He joins four other candidates for the elections job. The Republican field includes longtime congressional aide Shirley Anderson of Spring Hill, who ran for the post in 2008; Mark Caskie, a code enforcement officer for the city of Brooksville, and former elections office staffer Kyro Morales of Brooksville.

The lone Democrat in the race so far is Elizabeth Townsend, the elections office's director of operations, who lives in Wesley Chapel but plans to move back to Hernando soon.

The Yungmann name is likely familiar to many products of the Hernando school system.

Jason's father, Martin, served as principal at Hernando High in the late 1970s, then as a curriculum director and director of facilities and construction.

His mother, Janet, held the principal's post at J.D. Floyd Elementary for 17 years, retiring in 2003. His brother, Jeff, is currently a curriculum supervisor for the district.

Jason Yungmann graduated from Hernando High and earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Florida in 1996. He has taught at Brooksville Elementary School, Parrott and Fox Chapel middle schools, and Central High School. He was Fox Chapel's teacher of the year in 2006.

Yungmann's wife, Tanya, works at Coppedge Eyecare in Brooksville. The couple have a 2-year-old son.

Yungmann said his roles as department head and team leader at Explorer have provided some management experience, and his past service as a church elder offered hands-on budgeting duties.

Asked what he plans to tell voters who wonder why they should consider him over, say, someone with experience in the elections office, Yungmann offered an education analogy. A principal looking to fill a vacancy, he said, might not always choose the veteran teacher over the newbie.

"Sometimes someone coming in for the first time can show a lot of creativity, a lot of passion for the position."

Tony Marrero can be reached at (352) 848-1431 or [email protected]

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