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Math teacher wants seat on School Board

Renee H. Jonas has been involved with the school district since 1979 as a volunteer, an aide, a secretary and a teacher.

Published February 1, 2006

NEW PORT RICHEY - Renee H. Jonas knows Pasco County schools inside and out.

Jonas, 52, a math teacher at River Ridge High School, has been involved with the district since 1979. She worked as an aide, a secretary and a volunteer before becoming a teacher.

A single mother, she raised four sons in Pasco's public schools. She was active in the Parent Teacher Association.

"I think that I have a lot to offer," Jonas said, "being a parent, a teacher, a single mom and seeing both sides of the issues."

Jonas of New Port Richey has filed to run as a candidate for the School Board's District 3 seat held by Chairwoman Cathi Martin.

District 3 covers Trinity, Seven Springs and part of New Port Richey. Candidates are required to live in the districts they represent, but the elections are countywide.

Jonas said that, if elected, she would work to improve schools throughout the county "by listening."

"I think it's important to go out to the schools," she said, "to see where their heads are at."

She said that reaching out to Pasco parents is especially important.

If elected, she said, she would also focus on direct communication, student assessment, multigrade communication, parent education, building schools, and teacher retention and recruitment.

A registered Republican, Jonas said she made the decision to run for the School Board independently of the county Republican Party. School Board elections are nonpartisan.

She joined a race that's becoming increasingly crowded.

Martin plans to seek re-election for the District 3 seat. Another teacher, Michael Siemion, has filed to run for the seat.

Two candidates have filed to run for the District 5 seat held by Kathleen Wolf: former New Port Richey Mayor Frank Parker and Lance A. Shortt.

Outgoing Zephyrhills City Council President Cathi Compton has filed to run for the District 1 seat held by Jean Larkin Weightman. Weightman has not filed but plans to seek re-election.

Board members are elected to four-year terms, and their current annual salary is $36,055.

If elected, Jonas said, she would resign from teaching.

Mary Spicuzza covers education in Pasco County. She can be reached in west Pasco at 869-6241 or toll-free at 1-800-333-7505, ext. 6241. Her e-mail address is

[Last modified February 1, 2006, 01:04:14]

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