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Hurley enters school race
The chairwoman of the board said she'd back Joanne Hurley for the District 2 seat.
By JEFFREY S. SOLOCHEK, Times Staff Writer
Published November 15, 2007
[Chris Zuppa | Times]
Joanne Hurley, 63, was a teacher in Hillsborough.
LAND O'LAKES - The race to replace retiring Pasco School Board chairwoman Marge Whaley gained another hopeful Wednesday.
Joanne Hurley, perhaps best known as spokeswoman for the Florida Turnpike Enterprise in Tampa, announced she would enter the growing field of candidates for the District 2 seat. She is the third declared candidate, along with Peter Hanzel of Wesley Chapel and Kurt Conover of Land O'Lakes.
Hurley, 63, said the time is right for her to return to education. She was a teacher in Hillsborough County before moving into other aspects of government. She has a master's degree in education from the University of South Florida.
"I want to do this because, even though I have a job that I just love now, you always when you get to my stage of life say, 'What is one job I would love to accomplish?' " she said. "That is the School Board."
Hurley declined to discuss the bulk of her agenda, saying she would talk about issues later in the campaign. When pressed, she did list school accountability as a key focal point.
"I think the schools, just like the rest of the citizens, are going to have to be accountable," she said. "I think our schools have done a very good job of that. There is room for improvement."
Having worked in both schools and local government - she also served on Pasco's comprehensive plan review committee and worked for four years as the county recycling coordinator - Hurley said she has a good understanding of the specifics of education as well as the intricacies of policies, politics and public relations.
"Everything that I've done leads up to this decision," she said.
Whaley agreed. She said she would back Hurley's bid.
"Of the three candidates, I would endorse Joanne. I've known her for a long time," Whaley said. "She brings us the best of both worlds."
Whaley stressed that the position, though listed as part time, really requires full-time attention. She said she had heard that Hurley planned to retire if elected.
Hurley did not want to comment on whether she would leave the Turnpike Enterprise, but she did pledge to treat the board job as a full-time enterprise if she wins.
Jeffrey S. Solochek can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 813 909-4614. For more education news, visit the Gradebook at blogs.tampabay.com/schools.