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Hillsborough County School Board, District 4

School Board | District 4

Two of the three candidates for the east Hillsborough County seat are well-known in the community, Terry Kemple for his conservative activism and Melissa Snively for her leadership in the business community. The third, Dee Prether, is an enthusiastic parent who's going door to door, trying to boost her profile. The community is largely conservative, giving all three candidates points for their views against Common Core. Stacy White, who held the position since 2010, is now running for Hillsborough County Commission.


Terry Kemple, 67



Dee Prether, 50



Melissa Snively, 43


Insurance agent

Experience Terry Kemple is proud of his conservative Christian views, saying they resonate with much of the public. He has been against gay marriage and for parental consent before students can join gay rights clubs. He wants more parental involvement and says he's running because "our country is being poorly served in education." Originally from Alabama, Dee Prether served in the Army. She was a substitute teacher and a homeschooling mother. Those experiences gave her insight into problems in education. Observing the relationship between the board and the administration has also bothered Prether, who favors a management structure that would more closely resemble the military. Melissa Snively has spent 20 years in the insurance industry and owns her own State Farm agency. She is past chairwoman of the Greater Brandon Chamber of Commerce and has led other organizations, including the Brandon Chapter of Network Professionals and the Tampa Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors. She advocates a more student-focused experience in the schools.
How well has the district handled the bus crisis? "The district has done a terrible job thus far. ... I sat in the first 'purchase buses' board meeting about a year ago and it's only now that the decision to actually purchase buses has been made." "The district has not handled the problems well at all." Good leadership could have prevented the problems. "The role of the board members is to be able to predict the long-term consequences of short-term decisions." "It is unfortunate that the district determined an outside consultant was necessary for this assessment because I think the public perception resulting in this decision is that leadership was not capable." But she likes the resulting plan.
What do you think of the Gates teacher evaluation project? "There is no evidence that the Gates initiatives will result in better outcomes. ... Empowering Effective Teachers hasn't shown any evidence of improving anything. The 'peer review' portion is viewed negatively almost universally." "Strengths are their goals and objectives in assisting teachers to become the best they can be for our students. The weaknesses are the realities of the classrooms and the variables that a current teacher has no control over." "I think we all can agree that teachers need positive and constructive feedback in order to be successful; however, I believe the current evaluation process, which includes peer evaluation, needs to be re-examined."
Worried about racially identifiable schools? "I think the district's efforts to recruit high-performing teachers to teach in low-performing schools is a great start in the effort to balance the priorities and rights of all parents with the need for all students to read, write and calculate at grade level." "My suburban neighborhood and surrounding schools over the 14 years I have lived here has become very diverse in its ethnicity. I have friends of many ethnicities." But she doesn't rule out the possibility that it is a problem elsewhere. "I have not researched this topic sufficiently to give an informed opinion; however, I do believe that our schools should work to achieve enrollments which closely reflect a district-wide racial and cultural composition."
Personal Married to Shirley Kemple. Five adult children and 13 grandchildren. Lives in Brandon. Married to Max Prether. Two children, ages 15 and 17. They live in Bloomingdale. Married to David Snively. Four children, ages 6 through 13. They live in Lithia.
Fundraising as of Aug. 1 Raised $30,441, spent $26,472 Raised $7,300, spent $6,321 Raised $68,705, spent $45,021
What's your position on the Florida Standards and Common Core? "I was among the leaders opposing the Common Core State Standards Initiative in 2013. Like me, parents and other concerned citizens around the country are rising up in opposition as they become better educated on the threat it presents." "Common Core has become a huge distraction in our goal to best educate our students. It is one more way to remove the freedom teachers need to best educate their children. We need to do a better job for all of students and Common Core is too restrictive." "We all know that students need to be measured by some type of standard." But "as a mother of four children, each one with a completely different learning style, I adhere to a more individualized-instruction approach to learning."
Email melissa@melissafor


About the job: School Board members provide oversight to the superintendent and administration of the nation's eighth-largest school district, with a $2.9 billion budget. They generally meet two Tuesdays a month beginning at 3 p.m., and at other times for workshops and legal hearings. District 4, which Stacy White will leave in November, covers east Hillsborough south of Plant City.

Hillsborough County School Board, District 4 08/14/14 [Last modified: Thursday, August 14, 2014 4:49pm]
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