Richard Tatem wanted to continue to serve after he retired from the Air Force.
He said he looked at his skillset of leadership, management and academic experience and thought serving on the School Board of Manatee County would be a good fit.
“There are lots of people who have leadership experience and management experience and there are a lot of educators around, but I have the combination of all three of those,” Tatem said. “I understand the constitutional principles of America, and it’s important that public officials who take a constitutional oath understand what the constitution is about.”
Tatem said he would have what he calls “patriotic gratitude” if elected.
“It is the idea that I am grateful to the society I live in and to the citizens of that society for the opportunities I’ve had so far in my life,” Tatem said. “I would have an attitude of gratitude toward them as opposed to being conflictual with them.”
If elected, Tatem said his priorities will be making sure all employee salaries and benefits come out of the district’s general fund, ensuring curriculum transparency and increasing the school board’s interaction with the public.
Tatem said he would work with other school board members to direct the district to make changes to the budget to ensure salaries solely come from the general fund.
“It might take a couple of years,” Tatem said. “It’s not something you can just snap your fingers and make happen. I want to have not just adequate but top notch pay and benefits so we attract the best, most talented teachers, administrators and employees to the school system.”
To ensure curriculum transparency, Tatem said parents and the community should have “maximum transparency on academic materials” such as class syllabi.
He said he wants to continue working with parents to determine what that transparency looks like in schools.
Tatem said school board members should set up regular meetings with the public and show up at events people would expect to see them, such as sporting events, the opening of new schools, and school advisory committee meetings.
As for the superintendent search, Tatem said he would look for someone with skills in leadership and management and someone who has experience in education and high ethical standards.
“I’m not promising a nationwide search, but I’m not against somebody who might show up who has the skills we would want in Manatee County,” he said.