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On the campaign trail in Hillsborough: Finish college or run for school board?

Marlene Sokol, Times Staff Writer

Monday, October 6, 2014 5:20pm

Think you have to finish college before you run for school board in the nation's eighth largest district?

You might be half right.

Three out of six candidates seeking office this year in Hillsborough do not have degrees.

Sally Harris, who is running against Michelle Popp Shimberg in District 2, lists courses in psychology and education at Hillsborough Community College, the University of Florida, the University of South Florida and Nova University, but "no final degree."

Terry Kemple, who faces Melissa Snively in District 4, says he went to the US Naval Academy in Annapolis for one year and Newark College of Engineering for one year.

April Griffin, an incumbent challenged by attorney Dipa Shah in countywide District 6, is still working on her Bachelors at Eckerd College. She's almost ready to graduate, she said, but her duties as a School Board member keep getting in the way.

Of course any of the three -- and their supporters -- will tell you they have accomplished plenty without all those letters after their names.

Harris owns a successful preschool and has traveled extensively as a motivational speaker. Kemple has a consulting business and is probably the area's best known conservative Christian activist. And Griffin is wrapping up her second term on the School Board, having pushed for more accountability among top district staff and long-needed improvements in the transportation system.

Not only that: All three beat out other challengers, some with Masters and doctoral degrees, in the primary.

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