Familiar face ready to fill Calabrese's Collier school board seat

Gov. Charlie Crist is not looking for Richard Calabrese’s replacement just yet.

Sterling Ivey, press secretary for Crist, said the governor’s office has not received any official resignation letter from Calabrese, who announced Thursday he would resign his position on the Collier County School Board effective Jan. 1, 2010.

But that hasn’t stopped one candidate from expressing interest.

Retired Palmetto Ridge High School Principal Roy Terry, who has already filed to run for Calabrese’s seat in November 2010, said he would submit his name to the governor’s office for the appointment.

“There is important business that will have to be undertaken during that time and it is important to have someone in that position who has an idea of what’s going on in the district,” said Terry, who added he was surprised by the announcement.

Terry said the teachers’ contract, which will come before the board again next summer, and Superintendent Dennis Thompson’s evaluation are two of the critical items the board will discuss in the interim between Calabrese’s retirement and the 2010 election.

Retired Naples Police Department detective Joe Whitehead, who has also filed to run for Calabrese’s seat in 2010 said Friday he had not had the opportunity to give the idea of applying to be appointed to the seat much consideration. He said he was surprised by Calabrese’s announcement.

“I wish him all the best,” he said.

Ivey said once Calabrese’s letter of resignation is received, Crist will begin the interim appointment process. Individuals interested in serving can download and complete a Gubernatorial Appointments Questionnaire and submit it to the Governor’s Appointment Office for consideration.

Ivey said once an appointment is made, that person will serve out the remainder of Calabrese’s term, which ends in November 2010.

Although School Board members serve all of Collier County, Calabrese is the District 5 representative to the board. District 5 is composed of Golden Gate Estates and Immokalee.

Ivey said Crist’s appointee could live outside District 5, but said if the office has district residency requirements, which the Collier County School Board does, the appointed individual would have to establish a residence inside the district.

Calabrese, whose retirement comes as a result of health issues, said he hopes the person chosen to replace him is a board member just like him.

“I think somebody like me is needed,” he said. “Frankly, I think I am one of the best board members this district has ever had. I did my homework. I didn’t settle for the status quo.”

© 2009 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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