Former Leon County School board chairman Forrest Van Camp has officially filed to run for superintendent. He's trying to distance himself from the incumbent, and says the district needs some administrative changes.
Van Camp says principals should be empowered to make decisions for their schools, and that the Leon County School District is too administration-heavy. He lost a bid for re-election two years ago amid controversy over how Superintendent Jackie Pons handled construction projects. But Van Camp says while Pons may have fund-raised for him, the superintendent has did the same for other board members.
“In this election, Forrest Van Camp has contributed to Jackie Pons. I think it leaves little doubt in anyone’s mind that he’s being used as a pawn by Jackie Pons to give him an election advantage," said City Commissioner Scott Maddox, who is facing Pons in a primary.
“It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see what’s going on here and it’s partisan politics at its worst," said former Leon High School Principal Rocky Hanna, who is running for Superintendent with no party affiliation.
But Van Camp is brushing those criticisms aside. He says he wants to run a clean race, and is in it to win.
“I’m running and want to get back in this because I want to lead from my heart and my love for kids. Any decision I make is going to be like it was my grandkid I was making that decision for.”
Van Camp is a former teacher, principal and school administrator. He says Maddox doesn’t have any educational experience, and former Leon Principal Rocky Hanna doesn’t have much experience in district administrative operations—despite being employed as an administrator in Leon County Schools. He is running as a Republican, giving him a clear path to the general election if no other Republicans’ jump into the race. Also running are Patricia Sunday and Michael Wynn.
Can Camp says he'll try to self-fund his campaign at first, and is paying the $8,000 qualifying fee.