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  1. The Education Gradebook

Bush backs School Board candidate

Published Jul. 7, 2012

Two high-profile school choice advocates have endorsed Pinellas County School Board candidate Glenton Gilzean, his campaign announced this week.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush isn't known for endorsing a lot of candidates, but in a press release on Tuesday, Bush said: "Glen Gilzean is a champion for students. Glen has the courage and experience to tackle the complex issues facing Pinellas County schools.

"His continued leadership on the Pinellas County School Board will ensure all students receive a world class education."

Not everyone would welcome an endorsement by Bush right now, given the statewide tussle over standardized testing. The Bush era brought Florida most of the FCAT-heavy policies that teachers and school boards are protesting right now. Gilzean was the lone Pinellas board member to vote against an anti-testing resolution.

On Friday, incoming House Speaker Will Weatherford also endorsed Gilzean in his bid to keep the District 7 seat.

A former state Department of Education staffer, Gilzean was appointed to the seat by Gov. Rick Scott after board member Lew Williams died. Whoever wins the election will serve out the length of the term, which ends in 2014.

Gilzean faces four challengers: attorney Keisha Bell; former St. Petersburg City Council member Rene Flowers; Corey Givens Jr., a 20-year-old University of South Florida student; and Cassandra Jackson, 52, a paraprofessional at Thurgood Marshall Fundamental Middle School in St. Petersburg.

Gilzean said he was humbled by and proud of the endorsements.

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