Gavette Promises to Bring Diversity in Thought

Todays News


Pamela Gavette hopes soon to be the only Sarasota School Board member with current teaching credentials. But more than anything, she wants to bring a new way of thinking to the district. “There’s been little diversity of thought on the School Board for the last 10 years,” she says.

Gavette first decided to run after seeing her daughter and her peers have to fight for dual enrollment opportunities during high school. But as a former full-time elementary school teacher who still substitutes, her chief concern remains younger pupils. She’s upset that 1,056 of the district 3,313 third-graders tested this year could not read proficiently at grade level. While the school district boasts its long-time A-rating, she says that’s because of a concentration of affluent, high-performing students scoring high on tests, but that means little for the bottom end. She’d like to see 95 percent of students testing as proficient. “We won’t break the cycle of poverty until we make sure students know how to read,” she says.

Gavette also strongly disagrees with the recent district decision to hire its own police force. And she says she would never support arming teachers. But she dislikes the board approach. “I feel strongly law enforcement should be left to law enforcement officers and teaching should be left to teachers,” she says.

Regarding school choice, she notes 10 of 11 charter schools in the region help boost the district’s rating. And she says vouchers can be helpful to students with certain special needs. Ideally, she says public schools will be able to handle all needs, and in Sarasota that’s largely true. But she says one size does not fit all. “Every child could need something different,” she says. 

Gavette faces three opponents—Jane Goodwin, Richard Linden and Justin Cody Willis—in an Aug. 28 election. A runoff, if needed, is scheduled for Nov. 6.

Photo courtesy Gavette campaign: Gavette (left) poses with her family.

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