TAMPA — Henry Washington has entered the race for Hillsborough County School Board, becoming the first candidate to oppose incumbent and chairwoman Tamara Shamburger.
Washington, 70, brings with him decades of experience as an educator in the district. Known as “Shake,” he was a high school principal and later a deputy superintendent.
After retiring, Washington ran for School Board in 2018. Karen Perez, a social worker, defeated him for a countywide seat with 54 percent of the vote.
Four seats are being contested in the 2020 elections. The candidates so far are:
- Victoria Anne Gudbranson, 23, challenging incumbent Steve Cona III, 45, in District 1, which covers the Northwest suburbs, Town 'N Country and parts of West Tampa.
- Jessica Vaughn, 42, challenging incumbent Cindy Stuart, 52, in District 3, which includes the Carrollwood area, New Tampa and parts of East Hillsborough.
- Washington seeking to unseat Shamburger, 44, in District 5, which represents Tampa’s urban neighborhoods and part of Brandon.
- In the countywide District 7, incumbent Lynn Gray, 67, has two challengers: Former board member Sally Harris, 69, who lost her bid for re-election in 2018 to Stacy Hahn; and Josephine Amato, 51, a parent activist who has spent the last several years fighting back against the district’s cutbacks in bus service.
School board elections are nonpartisan and, as the cost of candidacy is relatively low, some races attract large numbers of entrants. A primary will be held on Aug. 18. The winner will be determined at that time if any candidate wins more than half the vote. If not, they will continue to a runoff the day of the general election on Nov. 3.
This is also the time of year when leadership changes on the seven-member board. On Tuesday, members will vote on a new chair and vice chair. Tradition would give the chairmanship to Melissa Snively, as she is the vice chair. But, in recent years, the board has often deviated from that tradition.