Harold Byrd Jr. runs for Manatee County School Board District 2 seat

MANATEE COUNTY, FL – Manatee County voters will decide the winner of the Manatee County School Board District 2 seat in the Aug. 23 primary election.

The following three candidates are in the running for the position:

  • Susan Agruso
  • Harold E. Byrd Jr.
  • Cindy Spray

Patch asked all candidates to fill out a questionnaire about their campaign and their priorities.

Byrd responded to our survey and his responses are posted below.

Campaign website

Manatee District 2 County School Board


Eckerd College BA – University of Phoenix MPA – Florida A&M College of Law JD


Semi-retired consultant, real estate agent


Sharon Byrd, wife



Previous civil service, nominative or elective

Alderman – City of Bradenton 1989-2005 and 2007-2020

Why are you looking for this office?
Better is possible. Our children deserve leadership that will unite us all and not divide us. Having served several terms in the legislative branch, I wanted to utilize my education and skills as a member of the Manatee County School Board.

Over the past year, it has become apparent that the needs of all sectors of our community are not considered important by the Manatee County School Board. The importance of closing the equity gaps that exist so that all students have an equal opportunity to learn. The commitment to public services applies to the entire school district.

I dream of our school system becoming more inclusive with all residents and not just some. I have the education, experience and skill to lead. We need a transitional leader who will change the old ways in a more professional direction for the good of all our citizens.

What are the main differences between you and the other candidates for this position?

For the first time in Manatee County, only voters in District 2 will be able to elect their representative. The main difference is our diverse education, experience, and decades of community and public service in District 2. We are District 2!

What other issues do you intend to address during your campaign?

  • Student Health and Safety
  • Recruitment and retention of teachers and support staff
  • Local control in education
  • Advocate better financial communication
  • Transparency
  • Reading disparity
  • Equal and fair treatment

What accomplishments in your past would you cite as proof that you can handle this job?

During the economic downturn, I had the opportunity to represent a city with manageable growth, strong law enforcement and public safety with reasonable taxes. During this time, while on city council, tough decisions were made and Bradenton remained financially strong. Over the past 2 years, similar difficult decisions regarding COVID-19 have had to be made. While there were many accomplishments that can be mentioned, facing adversity as a seasoned legislator best demonstrates my ability to handle this work.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?

Do what is right and you will never go wrong.

Is there anything else you would like voters to know about you and your duties?

The only applicant who attended and graduated entirely from schools located in School District 2 of Manatee County.

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