Amy Sams, principal of Southshore Charter Academy, has been crowned the new honorary mayor of Riverview by the Riverview Woman’s Club.

After a very close race to the finish line, Amy Sams was declared the winner and now holds the distinguished title of honorary mayor of Riverview. It was a fight to the finish between Sams and Shannon Keil, and both participants collectively raised more than $27,000 for local charities. It was clearly a collective win for the community as a whole.

Sams, principal of Southshore Charter Academy, raised money for ECHO as well her school. Part of the money earned during the monthlong race is being used toward the purchase of ballistic window film.

“We raised over $15K during the race, but we have had more donors step forward since the race ended, and with their help we have enough to take care of our security upgrade project,” said Sams.

During the campaign, sponsored by the Riverview Woman’s Club, Sams hosted many fundraisers.

“My favorite part of participating in this campaign was interacting with so many people,” said Sams. “I met many people in the community that I might not otherwise have ever had a chance to meet. I had conversations with school stakeholders that opened many other doors to also support our students.”

Of all the fundraisers she hosted, the most valuable event was a designer bag bingo.

“We had so many sponsors for the event that we had no overhead, and the turnout was great,” said Sams. “This event was the one where I was able to interact with the most people from both ECHO and our school, so it was a win-win for everybody.”

Sams had only great things to say about her participation in this time-honored tradition.

“The campaign was an exhausting but exhilarating experience, one that I am happy to have had,” said Sams. “I encourage anyone who has ever considered participating to jump in and do it.”

Keil, second runner-up in the race, is the president and CEO of The Regent. Her campaign raised more than $11K and the two nonprofit organizations that will receive those funds are the Mary & Martha House and Black Dagger Military Hunt Club. The Mary & Martha House is a charity with personal ties to Keil, as the execute director, Laurie Herring, was Keil’s best friend and passed away three years ago.

“Laurie’s birthday was April 12, and what better way to celebrate her birthday than to raise money for the month for her passion driver, domestic abuse prevention and the Mary & Martha House?”

For more information about the host and sponsor of the Riverview Honorary Mayor’s Race, visit

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Kelly Wise Valdes
Kelly Wise Valdes has been writing for the Osprey Observer since 2008. She graduated in 1989 from Florida Southern College with a B.S. in Communications and enjoys writing and traveling. She currently resides in northern Hillsborough County with her husband, David. When not traveling and writing, Kelly and her husband enjoy spending time with their five grown children (as well as their grandchildren) that still keep them very busy.