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The Sarasota County Board of Education candidate wants to stay focused on education.Sarasota

Six candidates will be on the ballot on August 23 and hope to win one of three open seats on the Sarasota County Board of Education.

Residents of Districts 1, 4, and 5 will have the opportunity to choose between two candidates in determining who will represent their district on the board.

The Board consists of five members, each elected for a four-year term.

Only one incumbent, Bridget Ziegler, representing District 1, is seeking re-election.

Each candidate will prioritize eliminating conflict among board members and limiting politics in the discussion of decisions. All six want to focus on improving the lives of educated children in the county.

District 1

Doniel Singleton

Dawnyelle Singleton hails from Sarasota and is a product of the county’s school system. She holds a BA in Communications from Florida State University. She worked for a local nonprofit that focused on early childhood education, parenting education, and mental health services. She was the school administrator of her Visible Men Academy for six years.

“Last summer, I started paying attention to what was going on at school board meetings,” she wrote in an email. We saw a lot of anger and division, and we just couldn’t stand to see our public schools, our teachers, our school communities undermined.”

With her background in education and community involvement, she believes she can make a difference on boards and in the community.

“I was educated in this community and have the lived experience of wanting the best for all students, regardless of zip code or socioeconomic background,” she wrote.

If elected, she would make history as the first African-American to serve on the Sarasota County Board of Education. Finding solutions to the shortages, increasing teacher salaries and working with families and educators to support the mental health of students.

“I want to be part of a functioning committee that can work together, collaborate, and get the school board’s business done,” she wrote. Not reactive.”

Bridget Ziegler

Bridget Ziegler is the only incumbent. Ziegler was appointed to the position by her Gove Rick Scott in 2014 to fill her vacancy. She was re-elected in her 2018. Her original decision to run for office in 2014 came from her desire to have her parents at the table when her board was making decisions.

“I learn a lot about myself and others when I run for public office,” she wrote in an email. I have met people, learned from them, and watched my passion for education, community and public service deepen through the process and over the years I have served on the Board.”

Ziegler’s experience as a parent of three school-age children, a corporate risk consultant, and school board member, she believes, will prepare her for success if re-elected.

“For the Board of Sarasota County Schools to understand its mission and be there to serve, to learn from the lessons of the past, to celebrate great achievements, and to roll up our sleeves and meet the challenges. , we have an opportunity to turn the tide. We know what we have now and what could come our way.”

She identified one of the major issues facing the board as it currently operates and said they were unwilling to address specific issues and disrespect each other.

“When it comes to educating children, the costs are not just financial,” she wrote.

Area 4

Lauren Cournoff

Lauren Cournoff’s educational background and personal endorsements for district vitality have led her to seek district 4 seats on the school board. She was born and raised in Sarasota and both of her children are students within the district.

“As a parent, over the last few years I’ve started paying attention to what’s going on at school board meetings and I’ve noticed that the divide continues to grow,” she said. needs people on boards and in leadership positions who can always make sure that conversations are really focused on the key educational issues that are impacting students.”

Key issues she identified within the district include teacher pay and retention, student career readiness, and maintaining the district’s A rating. Kournov raised her more than $200,000 during her election campaign, more than any other candidate, and the overall message of the campaign and even the nonpartisan election was cross-partisan. She attributes it to her ability to reach Before she ran for office, she worked at the New She College of Florida and University of South Florida She Sarasota and She Manatee campuses. Last year she completed her PhD in Education.

“I’ve had experience with some of the issues I’ve identified where I really need to move the needle,” she said. “I have the necessary expertise to address these issues and am a committed parent and educator. Be the one to make sure you’re on track to maintain your A rating.”

Robin Marinelli

Robyn Marinelli has 40 years of experience working with the Sarasota County School District. She taught for 5 years before transitioning to the role of school counselor for 20. She spent 15 years as a district-level administrator overseeing the district’s student services. After her retirement in 2015, she returned to her local charter school as a school counselor.

“I think we have a lens to make sure that everything that is discussed is focused on the student,” she said.

Her experience within the district is what she believes will set her apart from her opponents and will be an invaluable asset to the board.

“The community and parents have lost trust,” she said. “I think we’re doing our best to keep parents at the table, restore civility to school boards, and focus on our students.”

With her passion and experience in teaching, she considers herself approachable, skilled and well suited for the role.

“I am for every student of every parent,” she said. “It’s our responsibility to keep parents educated and informed about what’s going on.”

Maintaining the district’s A grade is important to Marinelli, and it’s also important to consider student education programs that go beyond a one-size-fits-all approach.

“I want teachers to teach freely and bring creativity into the classroom,” she said.

District 5

Nora Seatech

Nora Cietek’s growing up as one of 10 children and a master’s degree in educational psychology set her apart from the competition, giving her a seat on the school board. It’s part of what she believes deserves. She has her 30-year teaching career as a special education teacher, assistant principal, principal, and assistant superintendent of special education in the Schenectady City School District of New York.

“The School Board is perfect for me,” she wrote in an email. “If elected, I will use my broad skill set in education to strengthen the Sarasota School District.”

She believes school boards need to return their focus to children and their families.

“I am an apolitical person who has never considered political affiliation when it comes to education,” she wrote. “For me, it’s all about the children and the teachers and staff who work tirelessly every day to ensure that my children have access to all the resources they need to be their best.”

A vote for her, she writes, will be for someone who understands education, educational policy, school budgets, and special needs. We hope to be able to develop a pattern for reviewing programs that fully benefits both students and staff.

“I want to instill a ‘can do’ attitude in my students,” she wrote. “We need to create programs that give children the confidence to reach their goals wherever they work,” she said.

Tim Enos

Tim Enos has 32 years of law enforcement experience, including time spent with the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office. He has served as Chief of Police for the Sarasota County School Police Department. He is Executive Director of the Florida Association of School Resource Officers. He holds a bachelor’s degree in finance from Florida State University.

“I went to school here, so I know how good an education is,” he said. “I have been a member of the district for his 22 years. I have been on the administrative staff for the last three years.”

Changes he hopes to impact include greater transparency in the budget process and curriculum. He realizes that parents don’t trust the board and wants to help build that trust.

“We need parents to be involved in all aspects of their child’s education,” he said.

He grew up in the county, was educated in the district, and sent three children to the district. He said his knowledge of the area and experience in ensuring student safety gives him a unique perspective.

“I feel we need people’s representation in the community on the board to make decisions based on what’s important to parents and not based on politics,” he said. “I don’t think there is room for politics to get involved in education. I want to create an atmosphere of transparency.”

If elected, he expects to bring diverse perspectives to the Board.