Kathryn "Kassie" Hutchinson taught four years in Pinellas County schools, three of them in a magnet program and one in an alternative setting.
Somewhere along the way, Hutchinson, 26, found the requirements and red tape were hindering her ability to make enough of a difference for students. So she decided to change direction and go to law school instead.
"It's my first year not teaching," she said. "I miss not being able to help students. … So I decided to run for school board."
Hutchinson, a Pinellas native, lives in Port Richey and has pre-filed her intent to seek the board's District 5 seat, currently held by Steve Luikart. She said she planned to talk with Luikart, who has not signaled whether he will seek a third term, but made clear she is not running against him.
"I'm just running to try to improve our schools for the community as a whole," she said, noting that some residents have told her Luikart is the best board member.
A newcomer to Pasco County, having lived there just over a year, she has spent time trying to determine which issues need the most attention. She said she had three key goals: Decreasing class sizes, creating a more cohesive district-wide student discipline plan, and developing valid countywide assessments.
Hutchinson said she would meet with more students, parents and other residents to hear their concerns as she researches for her campaign. "My goal would be to serve them."
The primary election is scheduled for Aug. 28.