The Hillsborough County School District is a national leader in the effort to improve the effectiveness of classroom teachers, and it is pushing ahead with more college preparation programs. In the coming term, the board will need to balance this forward-looking agenda with the diverse district's more everyday needs.
These are serious times for public education that call for serious leaders like incumbent Hillsborough County School Board member Carol W. Kurdell.
Kurdell, 67, understands the challenging global environment that America's students face — and the challenges that school districts must meet to ensure that this next generation is prepared. She is an advocate for advanced placement courses and for the new and evolving assessment process that seeks to make teachers more effective in the classroom.
Kurdell should be more assertive in challenging the administration to acknowledge problem areas. But she has been a constructive voice throughout her 20 years on the board.
Terry Kemple, 66, a conservative activist, would take the schools backward. He has distracted the district from its mission with bigoted campaigns against gays and Muslims, and he made the county a laughingstock in the process. He shows no genuine commitment to public education.
Kurdell's long tenure on the board has not sapped her energy. She is an approachable, sensible public servant who knows what's happening in the schools, and she has a sense of fairness that is essential in a board member who represents the entire county. Her calm demeanor and ability to keep her colleagues on point will continue to help keep a serious focus within the nation's eighth-largest school system.
For Hillsborough County School Board District 7, the Tampa Bay Times recommends Carol W. Kurdell.