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Another lawmaker throws in for Hillsborough superintendent candidate Harrison Peters

Fentrice Driskell endorses Peters, now the chief of schools.
State Rep. Fentrice Driskell, left, said in a letter that Hillsborough Chief of Schools Harrison Peters, right, is "the right leader to serve the growing diversity of the students and families of our community."
State Rep. Fentrice Driskell, left, said in a letter that Hillsborough Chief of Schools Harrison Peters, right, is "the right leader to serve the growing diversity of the students and families of our community." [ Courtesy of Fentrice Driskell Campaign, Hillsborough County School District ]
Published Jan. 9, 2020|Updated Jan. 10, 2020

Joining five other elected officials, state Rep. Fentrice Driskell sent a letter to the Hillsborough County School Board this week, asking them to name Chief of Schools Harrison Peters as the next superintendent.

“I also believe that he is the right leader to serve the growing diversity of the students and families of our community and will bring a focus of equity and justice to the work of the district unlike anything we have seen in Hillsborough County,” she wrote. “We are encouraged by his proven track record of increasing achievement for all students.”

Driskell’s letter follows a similar letter signed by Sen. Darryl Rouson, Rep. Diane Hart, Rep. Wengay Newton, County Commission Chair Les Miller and Tampa City Council member Orlando Gudes.

Peters, who joined the district in 2016, is one of seven remaining semifinalists, after deputy superintendent Chris Farkas dropped out of the race.

The seven will be interviewed by the School Board on Thursday.

As with the prior letter, Driskell’s letter notes that if Peters gets the job, “he would be the first superintendent of color in the history of Hillsborough’s schools."

Other messages from the African American community are not explicitly calling for Peters to be hired.

The Saturday Morning Breakfast Group and the Tampa Organization of Black Affairs asked the board to look for a superintendent who comes from a district that is approximately as large and as diverse as Hillsborough; and to be careful to set clear, performance-based expectations for their next leader.

This letter outlines the thinking beyond the TOBA request.

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