Colleen Beaudoin, first elected to the Pasco County School Board in 2016, filed papers Tuesday to pursue another four-year term in office.
Currently the board’s vice chairwoman, Beaudoin won her post initially without opposition. She is so far the only candidate for the District 2 seat, which represents much of central Pasco, after a potential challenger withdrew from the race just days after submitting candidate documents with the elections office.
A University of Tampa math instructor, who previously taught in Hillsborough County schools, Beaudoin has become a vocal advocate for both teachers and students during her tenure on the board.
She has been a staunch supporter of transgender student rights in the face of conservative appeals for the board to dismantle some of its protections for children who seek to use locker rooms and restrooms according to their gender identity. She also has worked with the district to ensure that teachers can use all available instructional time, and backed a course grading model that eliminates variables such as behavior from achievement.
Beaudoin joined the rest of the board to oppose having teachers volunteer as armed school guardians, saying flatly that teachers should not have guns. She proved a swing vote in the board rejections of district proposals to shut down Lacoochee, Hudson and Mittye P. Locke elementary schools.
She has pressed the district administration to tackle issues relating to excessive student absenteeism, amid conversations over whether students should be able to make up missed work from unexcused absences. And she’s regularly called on the district to prioritize teacher salary increases, although she has not supported any spending cuts to reallocate funds.
“I’m proud of the work we’ve done,” Beaudoin said, citing such accomplishments as expanding Cambridge and IB programs, better publicizing choice offerings to families and identifying more students for advanced academics. “There’s still more I want to do.”
Those included further increasing academic program options, maximizing teaching time and minimizing testing, and providing more early learning classes.
“It’s been a tremendous experience,” said Beaudoin, who first ran after becoming active at Pine View Middle School, where her son attended. “I never dreamed I would have this opportunity.”
The District 2 seat is not the only one up for election in 2020.
The District 4 seat, currently held by chairwoman Allison Crumbley, also comes open. Crumbley, a frequent ally of Beaudoin’s on the board, has signaled that she intends to run again. She first won a two-year partial term in 2010, and has been reelected since.
The superintendent’s job is up, too. Incumbent Kurt Browning, in office since 2012, has said he will announce his plans later in the year.
Browning has attracted criticism over the years for some of his actions, ranging from challenged school boundary revisions to recommending closures of several schools, sparking questions of whether he will draw any opposition.
So far, no one has filed papers to pursue either the District 4 seat or the superintendent’s office.