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Matt Stewart picks up broad base of endorsements for Pinellas School Board bid

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Matt Stewart announced Wednesday that he’s picked up the endorsement from a broad base of Pinellas power brokers who support his run for the District 1 at-large seat on the Pinellas County School Board.

Those endorsements: Pinellas County Commission chairman Charlie Justice, Pinellas County Clerk of Court Ken Burke, Pinellas County Tax Collector Diane Nelson, Tarpon Springs City Commissioners Rea Sieber and Susan Slattery, Largo City Commissioner Michael Smith, and St. Petersburg City Council member Lisa Wheeler-Brown. The support comes from both sides of the political spectrum. Justice, for example, is a Democrat. Burke and Nelson, Republicans. The school board race is nonpartisan.

Charlie Justice
Charlie Justice

“Dr. Stewart is the most qualified candidate for the job,” Justice said. “He has a doctoral degree in education, he teaches at St Petersburg College, and he’s a foster parent. The Pinellas County School Board will benefit tremendously from his unique perspective.”

Wheeler-Brown said, “Dr. Stewart recognizes that while our schools are struggling, our students are not failures, and our teachers are not failures. He will be a leader in ensuring that all of our children receive a quality education and our teachers have the support they need.”

Nelson said, “I’m proud to endorse Dr. Stewart because he understands how important our schools are in strengthening our economy. We need to make sure our children have the training they need to succeed, and Dr. Stewart has the experience to make sure to implement that vision.”

Diane Nelson
Diane Nelson

Stewart said, “I’m so honored to have the support of such a dedicated and hardworking group of leaders. The Pinellas County school system holds a special place in my heart because I attended our public schools. I want to give back to the system I grew up in and to do my part to help our students, teachers, and our community.”

Stewart is a Pinellas County native who graduated from Largo High School in 1998. He earned a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction, an M.A. in Religious Studies, an M.A.  in Theology, and a B.A. in Philosophy. He also holds certifications in Human Resources.

He is a deputy director for the Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections and a member of the adjunct faculty at St. Petersburg College in the College of Policy, Ethics, and Legal Studies. Stewart has worked for the Pinellas County government and Eckerd Youth Alternatives.

Matt and his husband, who live in St. Petersburg, are foster parents with Eckerd Community Alternatives and are members at St. Peter’s Episcopal Cathedral. Their foster children have attended Pinellas County Schools.

Stewart is one of four candidates in the race for the District 1 at-large seat, which is voted on countywide. Other candidates are Robert J. Beal, Bill Dudley, and Joanne Lentino. The position is held by Janet Clark, who is not running for re-election. The election is Aug. 30.

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