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Scott appoints ex-Pinellas school board member to FAMU board

Glen Gilzean was considered a controversial pick when Gov. Rick Scott selected him to fill an empty seat on the Pinellas County School Board last year. Several people complained that there were far more established community leaders would have been better replacements for Lew Williams, who had passed away.

Now, Scott has appointed Gilzean to an even higher profile position: the Florida A&M University Board of Trustees. His term is scheduled to begin today and and end Jan. 6, 2018, as long as the Florida Senate signs off.

In the process, Scott declined to reappoint trustee Charles Langston, a retired business executive living in Tampa, to another term. And he also passed over four other applicants including FAMU alum Keith Clickscales, a former executive at ESPN who helped launch VIBE magazine, and attorney Daryl Parks, a former FAMU student body president who served as a trustee until Scott replaced him in 2011.

Gilzean joins a board trying to steer FAMU through troubling times. The school is still dealing with the effects of the hazing death of drum major Robert Champion and was put on a yearlong accreditation probation.

Gilzean, now 30, had only lived in St. Petersburg for two months at the time he joined the School Board. He served without incident but was defeated handily by former St. Petersburg City Councilwoman Rene Flowers during the November election. Former Gov. Jeb Bush endorsed Gilzean in that race. He is vice president at Step Up for Students, an organization that helps students attend private schools using vouchers and has also worked for the state Department of Education. In 2008, he created an education-related nonprofit called Educate Today but said he resigned from it after being appointed to the Pinellas board. Gilzean earned a master's degree in entrepreneurship and a bachelor's degree in biomedical sciences from the University of South Florida.

State Rep. Darryl Rouson, a St. Petersburg Democrat who expressed concern when Gilzean joined the Pinellas board, said he was "a little dissapointed" to hear he had been selected as a FAMU trustee.

"The governor has the authority to appoint who he wants," Rouson said. "Our community in St. Petersburg has certainly spoken in terms of who we want on school board in Pinellas."

But Rouson also added that he hopes Gilzean serves FAMU well. "I hope he serves with distinction and remembers the historical basis and the legacy that FAMU serves the entire nation."