Manatee School Board member Chad Choate has filed for re-election this year. That comes almost eight months after Gov. Ron DeSantis appointed him to a vacancy on the School Board.
“As a parent, I’ve been involved in my children’s education, and I want to make sure more parents can and want to be involved in their child’s education,” Choate said. “Keeping parents in the driver’s seat should be paramount concern to everyone in this school district.”
Choate replaced Scott Hopes on the School Board after Hopes took over as Manatee County Administrator. He was appointed to fill out Hopes’ term and is now seeking his first full four-year term.
“I want to thank my wife and kids for supporting me as I campaign and throughout the last eight months as I’ve been appointed to the Board,” Choate said. “Their support is crucial to my success.”
He is running at a time when DeSantis and the Republican Party in Florida plan to focus on gaining more control of School Boards across the state. While Choate’s arrival didn’t mark a huge philosophical shift on the Board as compared to Hopes, who was originally appointed to the board by then-Gov. Rick Scott, he has promised to run on some of the Governor’s educational priorities.
He listed parental rights, student safety and teacher pay as key planks to his agenda.
“I was honored to be appointed by Gov. Ron DeSantis and will follow his lead in making sure we in Manatee keep parents’ rights in mind as we provide a safe and world-class learning environment for students,” he said. “Finally, I will continue my fight to reward and recruit teachers by making teacher compensation a priority.”
Choate’s roots in the community predate his time in office. He’s a financial advisor on Downtown Bradenton’s Riverwalk with Edward Jones. The Manatee High graduate had taught and coached sports at his alma mater and at Braden River High. His wife, Ashley, teaches through Florida Virtual School, and the couple have two children still attending public schools within the district.
His grandfather, Chad Choate Sr., served as principal of Manatee High School and has an administration building at the school named after him. His father, Chad Choate, died in a car crash in 2003, and there is a bench at Manatee High honoring his memory as well.