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Politics

Olson to leave Hillsborough school board

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Published:   |   Updated: May 14, 2013 at 06:46 AM
TAMPA -

Five terms is enough for Hillsborough County school board member Candy Olson.

The longtime District 2 representative told members of the board’s citizen’s advisory committee Monday evening that she will not run for re-election next year.

That means that there will be three new members among the seven members of the school board after the 2014 elections. April Griffin and Stacy White are giving up their seats to run for Hillsborough county commission.

By the end of her term, Olson will have represented South Tampa on the board for 20 years. Griffin, the District 6 countywide member, will have been on the board for eight years. White, who represents District 4 in the eastern part of the county, will have served four years.

“It is a crucial time,” Olson said before the meeting. “But maybe it won’t be bad to have three different people. I think it’s time for new blood.”

Olson has been chairwoman on three different occasions and is paid $37,014 in the job. She said she started thinking about serving one last term after being re-elected in 2010.

“It’s been simmering for a good long time,” she said.

She said she’s not sure she would have the same energy and patience the next four years if she were re-elected. She still plans to work with the Homeless Coalition of Hillsborough County and other organizations.

“I still want to be in the community,” she said. “I just don’t want to be in this particular job.”

Olson said she is proud of the financial stability the nation’s eighth largest school district has achieved. She said the board has helped steer district officials to plan for several years down the road and not just around the corner.

She has been pleased to see teachers treated as professionals instead of as the children they are teaching. She’s glad that the district has worked with teachers on the ever-changing evaluation system.

While she said she won’t miss the “ugly stuff” said at board meetings, she will miss the everyday success stories in a district that serves about 200,000 children.

“When you go to schools and see the amazing things that are happening, I am going to miss that,” Olson said. “The things they are doing really are life-changing.”

Longtime board member Doretha Edgecomb said she will miss Olson’s frankness, her connections with the community and her astute awareness of the issues.

She acknowledged that the board will look a lot different after the 2014 elections.

“Anytime you change personalities, you change attitudes and philosophies,” Edgecomb said. “That can kind of upset the dynamics of the board. But over time, we learn how to work with each other.”

Olson said she wants to read more novels in retirement. And be able to stay up late to watch Jon Stewart on television.

She also said she wants to visit more often with her five grandchildren, who live in other states.

And, she said, just generally, it will be a good time to say farewell.

“I want to leave when people say they are sorry to see you going instead of that it’s about time.”


rshaw@tampatrib.com

(813) 259-7999

Twitter: @rshawTBO

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