Keesha Benson says it’s not an exaggeration to say that schooling is a serious a part of who she is.
“My mom was an educator for 37 years. I went by means of Ok-12 right here in Pinellas County Faculty, and I’ve three youngsters within the district proper now,” says Benson, a candidate for the District 3 seat on the Pinellas County Faculty District this summer season.
What You Want To Know
- Keesha Benson is working towards Daybreak Peters and Carl Zimmermann within the countywide Pinellas County District 3 seat on Aug. 23
- Benson is a St. Pete native who spent 9 years working as a school professor in Philadelphia
- Gov. Ron DeSantis says that he can be specializing in faculty board races this 12 months
Benson has a deep background in academia. She earned two levels as an undergrad at Florida A&M College, after which went on to the College of North Carolina to earn Ph.D. and grasp’s levels in social work earlier than turning into an assistant professor within the faculty of social work at Temple College in Philadelphia for 9 years.
She moved again along with her household to St. Pete 4 years in the past and has been extraordinarily lively locally ever since.
First she was the supervisor of Develop Smarter, an initiative with the St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce that was targeted on neighborhood and financial growth. She then went on to function director with Thrive by 5 Pinellas by means of the Early Studying Coalition of Pinellas County.
Then it was on to turning into chief studying and analysis officer on the Basis for a Wholesome St. Petersburg. Benson says that working for varsity board actually wasn’t on her radar, however that modified when she realized that District 3 incumbent Nicole Carr, who she says she has super respect for, introduced that she wouldn’t be working for reelection this 12 months.
“I seemed on the race to see who else was working, and on the time I considered the truth that each present and expertise I’ve was made for this second,” she mentioned, referring to her educational background, her roots locally and the truth that she has three youngsters at the moment in Pinellas colleges.
“I believed to myself, if somebody’s going to return in and use their presents to make a change, then it must be me on this second.”
She then resigned instantly from the muse and has been working full-time since then.
Benson says that she believes in “student-centric studying” and emphasizes that educators “train the kid, and to not the check.”
Faculty board races in Florida are nonpartisan contests, however Gov. Ron DeSantis has made schooling a political concern this 12 months along with his legislative proposals banning Important Race Concept (not really taught in Florida public colleges) and the Parental Rights in Schooling legislation that critics dubbed “Don’t Say Homosexual.” He’s additionally backing candidates in some choose faculty board races this 12 months.
Benson says she needs to carry individuals collectively.
“For me, there’s no area for divisiveness,” she says. “We are able to’t get into political partisanship and never take into consideration what’s finest for our kids.”
Benson calls the give attention to banning sure textbooks for having content material on vital race concept or social and emotional studying “a distraction.”
“As an educator, I imagine that each youngster deserves textbooks, curriculum, entry to lecturers and people which can be reflective of who they’re and the inhabitants that they serve,” she says.
She emphasizes that she stands for all youngsters, relating to of race, faith, sexual orientation or gender id.
Benson graduated from the Middle for Superior Applied sciences, a public magnet program that was hooked up to Lakewood Excessive Faculty in South St. Pete. She mentioned that whereas she already had a “full experience” to advance her research at Eckerd Faculty, she additionally had a powerful want to expertise extra of the world, prompting her to resolve to attend Florida A&M College in Tallahassee earlier than getting her superior levels on the College of North Carolina.
“I bear in mind writing in my faculty admission essay that I would like to have the ability to fail and have these tales be my very own, and see what the alternatives are,” she recounts. “I feel each youngster wants that. They want the chance to simply get on the market, attempt issues, be artistic. And typically you fail, and that’s okay.”
Benson is working countywide towards Carl Zimmermann and Dawn Peters within the District 3 race. She’s the highest fundraiser within the race, and has raised greater than all however considered one of all the different candidates working within the 4 faculty board seats on the poll in Pinellas this 12 months, trailing solely District 7 incumbent Caprice Edmond.