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Kennedy Touts Experience as Educator in School Board Bid


BRADENTON -- Adding to what seems to be a growing trend of educators in the Manatee School District campaigning for the school board, Manatee High teacher Charles Kennedy announced at the beginning of May that he will be on the ballot in August.

Kennedy is running for the District 2 seat currently occupied by longtime member Barbara Harvey. The career educator has sought to bring focus on issues such as giving more support to Pre-K education and involving board members further in classrooms. 

"For me, a school board member should be visiting schools and talking to teachers and students in the field, and meeting with administrators - not five days a week, but more than the present," saying that he believes more emphasis needs to be put on their list of needs. "There's been more direct contact recently, and I'd like to keep things moving in that direction," he says.

Image via candidate's Facebook Page

Kennedy says he is also concerned about salaries of school board members: "When you look at their average salary, it puts the average person off."

He also talked about wanting to insure that students are prioritized in budgets.

"I would hope that the budgets that the board approves would focus on kids first and not administrative jobs," said Kennedy. He added that if elected, he "would like to create an environment where the superintendent knows where the board stands, and therefore submits a budget for approval that focuses on students first, and positions that directly serve students as opposed to people in administrative positions."

He points to his experience as a teacher as a major asset for the position, saying the school board needs people "who know what it's like to deal with 150 kids every day." On the education experience of Harvey, he says, "I know she was a very good principal, but she's been out of the classroom for a long time. I think the school board will be helped by people with recent education experience."

Harvey has yet to announce if she will run for her seat again. In January, Rodney Jones announced his candidacy for her seat.

A native Pennsylvanian, Kennedy was born in the town of Warren and has spent most of his life in Pittsburgh. He received his Master's Degree in Secondary Education at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, and prior to teaching Social Studies at MHS, Kennedy taught at YouthBuild Charter School before teaching at IMG Academy from 2007 to 2010. 


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