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Pinellas School Board races full

Published Sep. 16, 2005

As filing closed Friday, Andrea Thacker's at-large seat on the Pinellas School Board proved to be a popular target _ three Republicans and two Democrats had decided to challenge her.

Fellow board member Susan Latvala's seat was almost as popular. One Republican and two Democrats are challenging her.

Incumbent Lee Benjamin fared a bit better. With only one Republican challenger, he won't have to wait until the Nov. 5 general election to find out if he'll be re-elected. His fate will be determined in the Sept. 3 primary.

Thacker, 47, a Clearwater Republican, has served on the board since 1992 and is chairwoman. Her Republican challengers are Jane Gallucci, Lee Roy Sullivan and Joe Triolo.

Clearwater resident Gallucci, 47, has been a guidance counselor at Carwise Middle School in Palm Harbor for the past three years and served on the Rockaway, N. J., school board from 1979 through 1983. Sullivan, 62, of Tarpon Springs, is a former principal of Countryside High School and worked in the Pinellas district for 34 years before he retired in 1994. Triolo, 38, a St. Petersburg resident and United Parcel Service driver, ran for the board in 1994 against incumbent Corinne Freeman and was defeated in the primary.

Thacker's Democratic challengers are Nancy Patula of Largo and John Sanguinett of Seminole.

Patula, 44, is a computer training technician. Sanguinett, 49, is a Pinellas School Board veteran, serving on the board from 1990 to 1994. He ran for re-election in 1994, but was defeated in the Democratic primary by Mayme Hodges, who later lost to Lucile Casey.

Latvala, 47, a Palm Harbor Republican who represents District 3, has served on the board since 1992. Her Republican opponent is Cindy Peabody, 43, of Clearwater, who has worked for the past three years as a data processing clerk with the Pinellas school system.

Latvala's Democratic opponents are Lucy Luisi and Doug Walker. Luisi, 43, lives in Palm Harbor. She could not be reached for comment. Walker, 36, of Clearwater has been pastor of St. John Primitive Baptist Church for the past three years.

Benjamin, 69, of Seminole has held the District 1 seat since 1990. His opponent is Tony Pappas, 37, of Palm Harbor, an optometrist making his first run at office.


School Board

Salary: $27,463

Pinellas County School Board members serve four-year terms. Five represent districts, but are elected county-wide. The two other seats are at-large.