About a month after attorney A.J. Stickley III withdrew from the Sarasota County School Board race, another candidate has stepped up to face incumbent Caroline Zucker this fall.
Teresa Mast, a former Sarasota County employee and co-owner of a local contracting business, filed to run for the District 2 seat today. The non-partisan election is slated for Aug. 30.
Mast said she decided enter the race after hearing complaints about transparency and accountability in the school system from neighborhood groups and business organizations during her 10 years with the county. She served as outreach leader in the county’s neighborhood services department, before moving to the office of business and economic development.
“It’s time for a really fresh look (at these issues),” Mast said.
Superintendent Lori White has announced she will retire in early 2017, and Mast said if elected she would ensure the search for the next district leader would remain transparent and community-driven.
“This is an incredible opportunity to cast a very wide net,” Mast said. “This is the future of our children — this is our legacy.”
Zucker has had a head start in campaign fundraising, with more than $22,000 in contributions since July. Her supporters include Lakewood Ranch developer Schroeder-Manatee Ranch, former county commissioners Nora Patterson and Shannon Staub and City Commissioner Suzanne Atwell.
Mast, whose husband Jon Mast serves as the CEO of the Manatee-Sarasota Building Industry Association, said she has endorsements forthcoming. But, using her county government experience, Teresa Mast said she would be out in the community building support.
“When you’re a community outreach person you work from the boots up,” Mast said. “It will really be a grass-roots effort.”