New Manatee School Board Member Opposes Mask Mandates and Critical Race Theory

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Chad Choate III

Governor Ron DeSantis has appointed Wesley “Chad” Choate, financial advisor for Edward Jones Investments, to the five-member Manatee County School Board.

The DeSantis office made the announcement on Friday afternoon, taking the seat previously held by Scott Hopes, who resigned last June to work full-time as Manatee County Administrator.

Choate, 36, will serve as the seat of the District 4 School Board, which includes Harllee Middle and Bayshore High, as well as Abel, Bayshore, Daughtrey, Kinnan and Oneco Elementary Schools.

“I am touched by this opportunity to serve and look forward to standing alongside Governor DeSantis in opposing a mask term in Manatee County schools, keeping critical breed theory out of our hands. classrooms and prioritizing civic education, ”Choate said in a statement.

Manatee County School Board members earn approximately $ 42,000 per year and serve four-year terms. As an appointee, however, Choate will end Hopes’ tenure, which ends in November 2022.

Choate, a longtime resident of Manatee County, also confirmed Friday evening that he plans to run in the next election and retain his seat.

“I’m going to be someone who is still responsible for the taxpayer’s money, but at the same time making sure that the resources get to the classroom,” Choate said in an interview.

Choate previously worked as a teacher and soccer coach at Manatee High School, where her two children are now attending school. His grandfather also worked at the school as a coach, educator and administrator for several decades.

In addition to working as a financial advisor, Choate is a board member of the Leadership Manatee Alumni Association and the Manatee County Aging Network. He also sits on the Bradenton Kiwanis Membership Committee and is Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Trinity United Methodist Church.

“My grandmother was an educator. Myself, of course, was a teacher. My wife is a teacher. My aunt is a teacher. There is a lot of education in my journey, ”Choate said.

“Knowing what it takes in the classroom and now being in the finance role and owning my own business – these two combinations go really well together,” he continued. “I think I can help the school board and push our district to be the best it can be. ”

While the school district had not yet scheduled a ceremony for Friday afternoon, it was possible – assuming a judge was available – that Choate could be sworn in at the special school board meeting on Monday morning.

Board members have scheduled the meeting to discuss COVID-19 protocols during the new school year.

“I hope we can get him to sit down as soon as possible,” said Chairman of the Board, Charlie Kennedy.

Giuseppe Sabella, education reporter for the Bradenton Herald, holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Florida. He has spent time at the Independent Florida Alligator, the Gainesville Sun, and the Florida Times-Union. His coverage of education in Manatee County earned him a top prize in the 2019 Florida Society of News Editors Journalism Competition. Giuseppe also spent a year in Charleston, W.Va., winning a first place award for investigative reporting. Follow him on Twitter @Gsabella

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