Candidate Statement

Velton Hodges

Velton Hodges
Candidate School Board District 1.

I have been a part of the Sarasota County Schools for 46 years. I am running for this office to bring a teacher’s experience and perspective to the campaign.

Let me take a moment to thank Dr. Carol Todd for her contributions to the success of the Sarasota County Public Schools. I have known Dr. Todd for a number of years and you will not find a nicer lady or a more dedicated public school advocate anywhere. 

I have lived in Sarasota all my life. I attended Sarasota Public Schools and graduated from Sarasota High in 1971.
I earned an AA degree from Manatee Junior College( now SCF).  A BSED degree from the University of Georgia in 1975 and a MED from The University of Georgia in 1977.

I have been married to my wife Richa, currently a school board employee as an aide at Emma E. Booker Elementary, for almost 36 years. 
We have two daughters both graduates of Booker High School. Ashley  28 , graduated from USF with a degree in biology and is employed full time by Busch Gardens Tampa where she works as an animal/bird trainer and handler. You can find her most days at the Jambo Junction attraction. 
Kalen 26, graduated from USF as well with a degree in Music. Trained as a classical pianist Kalen is about to start her fourth year as a elementary school music teacher in Hillsborough County. Kalen was rated as an "Highly Effective" teacher last year. 

I began my teaching career in 1978 at Brookside Junior High School. I remained at Brookside during the districts move to Middle School. During my time at Brookside I taught Physical Education and spent two years teaching Science in both the 6th and 8th grade. 

Following a round of budget cuts I was moved to Garden Elementary School in Venice where I spent time as an Physical Education teacher. 
I became very active in the Sarasota Classified Teachers Association during this time and was elected President of the union in 1990. 
I served as the elected President for 12 years. During my tenure I worked with numerous School Board members and directly with Superintendents Charles Fowler, Tom Gaul, Gene Witt. David Bennett and Wilma Hamilton.  The time I spent was extremely interesting, enlightening, often challenging and always rewarding. 
I left the position in 2002 to return to teaching when an opportunity arose that allowed me to return to my first school Brookside. 

I spent the last ten years of my career teaching at Brookside. I retired in 2012 and spent most of my time coordinating my mother’s health care. My mother lost her 6 year battle with Dementia and Alzheimers in Februrary 2014.

In addition to my teaching career I had the privilege of serving on the Education Foundation Board of Directors and on The United Way Board.  During my time on the United Way Board I was selected to chair the Allocations Committee for two years. To have the opportunity to visit the local agencies assisted by the United Way and see first hand the work they do was very rewarding for me. 

My career also included some additional work on the State level. I served two terms on The Education Standards Commission for the State of Florida. I was first appointed by Governor Bob Martinez and reappointed by Governor Lawton Chiles. 
My time on the Standards Commission allowed me to become a trainer for the Code Of Ethics and Principles of Professional Conduct  for the Teaching Profession. As such I provided state approved workshops on the Code for beginning teachers and school faculty's for the Sarasota School District for almost 10 years. I provided my services free of charge. My efforts were noted by Superintendent Wilma Hamilton at a Board meeting where she acknowledged my efforts and estimated I had saved the School District nearly $20,000 in fees. 

Some of my opponents in this race seem to have specific agendas. I have one agenda, to work as hard as possible to improve the education we provide our students. My decisions as a Board member will have one filter, is what we are considering going to improve the education we provide our students?

Economic times are difficult so I will not ask you for a monetary contribution, nor will I ask you for an endorsement. If you want a Board Member that has the local knowledge, the qualifications and the experience then all I ask you for is your  vote.  

Thank you,

Velton Hodges