By Adam Musgrave

With more than ten months still to go until primary elections, the race for school board District 4 is already beginning to heat up. Four candidates currently vie for the position including Melissa Snively, a community activist and business owner from Lithia.

Snively, who owns and runs the FishHawk branch of State Farm Insurance, believes that her background in business would prove invaluable to the school board.

“The foundation of being on the school board is being financially responsible and transparent,” she said. “Every decision they make should answer, ‘how does this benefit our students’ education?’”

She continued by saying that her experience at State Farm, where she has been for 15 years, has taught her how to manage a budget as well as manage and leverage a diverse array of resources.

Snively also takes an active role in her community; she has served as chair of both a committee for Cub Scout Pack 61 and the Greater Brandon Chamber of Commerce and is a past president of Network Professionals of Brandon.

“I want people to know that I care so much about our community and the education of our children,” Snively said. “We owe the people who live here an excellent educational opportunity and nothing less.”

Chief on Snively’s running platform is a focus on individualized education that she said will maximize the potential of Hillsborough students.

“When we over standardize in education, it may not meet the needs of individual communities or students,” she said.

Instead, Snively believes the county should provide more programs for on-the-job training as well as more opportunities for students to study trades.

She said that, while college is an excellent path and an admirable goal, it is not one that every child is interested in following. “Our job should be making sure students are prepared when they finish school,” Snively said. “Whether that means pursuing a college degree or not.”

More than anything, Snively said she hopes to give back to her community by helping to make sure that all students have the best shot at an excellent education.

For more information on Snively, her position on key issues, or to contact her campaign, visit


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