The race for the Pasco County School Board District 4 seat heated up Tuesday with the entry of a second challenger seeking to unseat 14-year incumbent Alison Crumbley.
Jessica Jecusco Wright, a Florida Virtual School instructor and former Pasco district teacher, filed paperwork establishing her campaign for the seat, which represents a swath of the county from U.S. 41 west to U.S. 19.
Crumbley announced her reelection bid in November. Firefighter Shawn Hayston has been campaigning for the spot since late 2022.
Unlike Hayston, who has said he is running to bring a more conservative voice to the district, Wright said she is not running against Crumbley’s ideas. Rather, she said, she’s concerned about the way the board deals with the public regarding issues of concern.
“I feel very frustrated as a parent and educator how difficult it is to get information,” Wright said. “We need to do a better job of really involving parents and the community authentically.”
For instance, she said community members had to jump through hoops to get basic information about how many instructional aides the district had hired using federal pandemic relief funds. Wright is working with others to urge the board to find ways in the budget to keep those positions after the grant money runs out.
Wright has been vocal on several issues over the past few years.
She helped manage the campaign of teacher James Washington when he sought the District 1 board seat in 2022, and filed a complaint against then-candidate Al Hernandez seeking to disqualify him from the ballot. She led an effort challenging the board’s adoption of a financial literacy textbook by radio personality Dave Ramsey in 2023.
She worked for a time with Florida Freedom to Read Project, fighting against book censorship in schools.
Though largely connected with more liberal positions, Wright said her viewpoint is “pro-people, common sense and ethics,” adding that she does not care about labels.
“If you live here and you are about our schools and our community, awesome,” she said. “Let’s have a conversation.”
A self-professed policy wonk, Wright said she likes to delve into the details of legislation and rules, and as such she could bring a different approach to dealing with lawmakers as they write bills impacting public education.
“I’m tired of knowing what I know and not being able to do anything with it,” Wright said.
She added that her family’s lawsuit against the school district, related to an injury her son suffered at Bexley Elementary School, prompted her to run. It took nearly two years to get the district to provide access to information, she said.
Wright, 33, has two children in Pasco district schools. She has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Central Florida and a master’s degree in education leadership from Saint Leo University.