Laura Hine is the latest candidate to join the open race for Pinellas County School Board in the countywide District 1 seat.
Hine, who is married to Dali Museum Executive Director Hank Hine, will have a broad network to tap in her campaign.
Joanne Lentino currently holds the seat, but is not seeking reelection.
Hine is a local businesswoman and public education advocate.
“The foundations of my early years began with a great public education which guided me into a life imbued with service,” Hine said. “First the Navy, then my own family, our children’s school and the wider community.”
“The work I’ve done in the last few years within Pinellas County Schools has led me to understand the inextricable links and impacts of one policy on another and the trickle-down effects on the day-to-day school experience for students and teachers – much like the systems developed for the Navy and for large infrastructure projects I’ve worked on.”
“We need people on the School Board who understand these concepts and how to navigate the systems to truly progress the way they perform,” she added.
Hine is a Tampa native who earned her undergraduate degree in aerospace engineering from the U.S. Naval Academy and an MBA from the University of South Florida.
She said she first became interested in education after her first child was born in 2011 and she realized the difficulties choosing schools in a county where, much like others throughout the nation, the zoned school might not be the best choice.
Hine was the founding president of Friends of North Shore Elementary I 2015, a group established to ensure all children have access to quality education with an emphasis on teacher support.
“Her efforts have led to building community among families of all backgrounds and among teachers and staff. Kindergarten enrollment at North Shore has increased 20%,” said businessman Craig Sher, one of Hine’s early supporters.
“ Laura has also worked at the district and state levels around balancing oversight with autonomy, educators as ideators, school safety, school grading, and education funding.”
Hine also served on the Healthy School Start Time task force.
Professionally, Hine most recently served as the project director for the Tom and Mary James’ Western & Wildlife Art Museum and its adjacent commercial development.
She now serves as the executive director of the museum.
Hine was one of the first two women integrating a U.S. warship, and at 23-years-old qualified as Officer of the Deck of a $1B warship.
She faces two candidates in the August 18 primary — Stephanie Meyer and Victor Connelly, both teachers.
Meyer has a strong fundraising lead having brought in $20,000 since entering the race in October. Hine has raised just $1,000, but has only been in the race one month. Connelly hasn’t raised a dime since entering the race last July.
If no candidate receives more than 50% of the vote in August, the top two vote-getters will advance to the November general election.