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Billy Townsend For School Board District 1

Transform the Polk education experience for students, teachers, parents, and taxpayers

My commitment to all of Polk County

If elected, I will work every day to create a unique Polk classroom experience — one that treats each child as a person with a unique human story, not a number in a spreadsheet cell. To make that a reality, I will: (Continue)

The Polk Experience — 2017 Priorities

Since February, I’ve worked closely with teachers, parents, and concerned citizens to make immediate improvements to the quality of life in Polk schools. In my first year, I’ll pursue a number of specific policy changes that will build on the momentum of the last few months. (Continue)

The Polk Experience — 2018 & Beyond

Looking to the future, if we’re going to meaningfully change the Polk school experience for everyone, we’ll need to tackle tough challenges — educational, social, and political. We decide for ourselves the type educational system we want and commit to making it real. (Continue)

Billy’s record as an education thinker, stakeholder, and community leader

* Co-founded Citizens for Better Educational Leadership (CBEL) with Wendy Bradshaw. CBEL successfully led the effort to remove previous Superintendent Kathryn LeRoy and change the direction of the district. We’ve worked aggressively to simplify and reduce the Polk testing burden in all its forms.

* Served as The Ledger’s Education editor from 2003-2006. Directed coverage of the creation of the Lake Wales Charter District. Won a New York Times Company award for a special section commemorating the career of legendary Lakeland High School English teacher Hazel Haley.

* Published dozens of essays since 2008 exploring difficult education issues — particularly assessment, segregation, the relationship between magnet/charter and traditional schools, and the classroom experience.

* Together, my three children have attended or will attend: Lime Street Elementary (now Phillip O’Brien); Rochelle School of the Arts; McKeel Academy; Crystal Lake Middle School; Harrison School for the Arts; Lakeland Montessori Schoolhouse and Montessori Middle School ; Lakeland High School; even homeschooling. As a parent, I can talk with firsthand knowledge about virtually every type of Polk school experience.

* Served as chair of the Downtown Lakeland Kiwanis high school scholarship committee for past three years.

* Coached more than a dozen youth sports teams.

* Wrote Age of Barbarity: the Forgotten Fight for the Soul of Florida, about the fight for racial and moral justice in 1920s Florida. Won the Florida Historical Society’s Presidential Citation and the “Award of Courage” from the Putnam County African-American Cultural Arts Council.


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Billy Townsend for School Board District 1
818 Johnson Avenue,
Lakeland, FL, 33801

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