Manatee High legend’s grandson Chad Choate appointed to school board

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The vacant Manatee County School Board seat has now been given a name that is familiar to many in the school district.

Governor Ron DeSantis announced on Friday that Sarasota financial planner Chad Choate III will take over the open seat in District 4.

Manatee County Administrator Scott Hopes was elected to the seat in 2018, but stepped down from the board to the county’s top post earlier this year.

Choate has deep roots in Manatee County.

His grandfather was principal of Manatee High School from 1975 to 1991, during which time the school won three years of the state football championship. He was the one who hired legendary football coach Joe Kinnan in 1981.

Choate opposes the mandate of the mask in schools

In a statement accompanying the governor’s announcement, Choate said he was “eager to stand by Gov. DeSantis in opposing a mask mandate in Manatee County schools, keeping the critical theory of race out of our classrooms and prioritizing civic education. “

In an interview with the Herald-Tribune on Friday, Choate said he was “100% in favor of parental choice” when it comes to masks.

“I think parents should choose whether or not to hide their child,” he said. “I am 100% in favor of a child coming to school with a mask. There should be no place or place for any form of discrimination for a child wearing a mask.”

Choate’s father, Chad Choate Jr., died in a car crash in 2003, and a memorial is dedicated to him at Manatee High. His grandfather was known to have attended all of Manatee High’s football games for decades before he passed away in his sleep in 2018.

“These shoes from my grandfather have always been there to fill them up… It’s been my goal from day one,” Choate said. “I want to change people’s lives. This is how I was brought up and a lot of it came from him.”

Choate taught and coached football at Manatee High and Braden River for 12 years before moving on to become a financial planner.

“I believe my experience as a teacher for over 12 years and now as a financial advisor really helps me in both aspects of what the board deals with on education and the budget side,” said Choate Friday.

Choate’s term on the board runs until 2022. He said he plans to run for office next year to retain the seat.

Ryan McKinnon covers schools for the Herald-Tribune. Connect with him at [email protected] or on Twitter: @JRMcKinnon. Support the Sarasota Herald-Tribune by subscribing today.

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