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Cindy Stuart to seek another term on Hillsborough School Board

Stuart had been rumored as a potential Clerk of Court candidate.

Hillsborough County School Board Member Cindy Stuart has filed to run for reelection.

Her filing came just days after former Hillsborough County Commissioner Kevin Beckner filed for the Clerk’s seat, which is being vacated by longtime incumbent Pat Frank.

Stuart represents District 3 on the school board, which includes most of north Hillsborough County. The Hillsborough School District is the third-largest in the state of Florida and the 8th largest in the nation. The district is also the county’s largest employer.

During her tenure, Stuart has helped lead the district to achieve higher graduation rates, implement fixes to the district’s long-plagued transportation system and increase and strengthen access to vocation training.

Stuart also served with former School Board member April Griffin and helped lead the charge to oust former Superintendent MaryEllen Elia. Stuart joined that unpopular fight just two and a half years into her first term in office.

Stuart cited the district’s current search for a new superintendent to replace Jeff Eakins, who replaced Elia, when he retires next year.

Currently, Stuart is the longest-serving member of the school board setting her up as a lead veteran in that process.

Stuart served as chair of her board in 2017 and now serves as an executive officer on the Florida School Boards Association’s Board of Directors. She’s also a member of the Hillsborough County Metropolitan Planning Organization, which oversees county long-range transportation plans and on the Straz Center for the Arts Board of Trustees. She also served on the Juvenile Justice Board.

Stuart joined the board in 2012 after defeating long-time incumbent, Jack Lamb.

Stuart so far faces teacher Jessica Vaughn.

Two other incumbents have also filed for reelection including Steve Cona III and Lynn Gray. Cona so far faces Victoria Anne Gudbranson. Gray is running against former School Board member Sally Harris and Josephine Amato.

Tamara Shamburger hasn’t filed for reelection yet, but has said she is running.

The election is Aug. 18 with a runoff, if necessary, scheduled for Nov. 3. The race is non-partisan.

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a die-hard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics, including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and contentious issues surrounding transit. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also a devoted wife and mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder.

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