SEBRING - Dustin Woods has pre-filed for the District 5 Highlands County School Board seat, making it a three-way race to fill the position vacated by Andy Tuck's move to the State Board of Education.
Clinton T. Culverhouse and William F. Hutchinson III previously filed for the District 5 seat. Qualifying is the week of June 16.
Woods has been serving a little more than a year as the lead pastor of Grace Bible Church in Sebring. Prior to that, he was the church's executive pastor for one year and youth pastor for three years.
Being in a military family, Woods said he moved a lot when he was growing up.
"I had the opportunity, not only in secondary schools, but also in post-secondary schools, to be part of a lot of communities in my travels," he said. "Something that I really appreciate about Highlands County is how unique our school system is.
"I feel like it has a very conservative foundation, but I also feel like they are willing to try things and be progressive and they have the students' best interest in mind and that excites me to want to be a part of it."
Woods said he is not the candidate who will see something wrong and try to fix something that is broken.
"I am getting involved because I want to defend what we already have and continue to be a part of our progress into the future," he said.
Woods noted that in the past six years, a lot of his involvement through Grace Bible Church has been with the school system. He has been a varsity and junior varsity football coach and currently serves as the head JV football coach at Sebring High School.
The school district has invited him many times for motivational speaking and career and leadership presentations, Woods said. He has volunteered for mentoring programs and reading development programs.
In the other school board races, three candidates have prefiled for the District 1 seat: incumbent Ronnie Jackson and challengers Charlene Edwards and Al Joe Hinson.
So far, only incumbent William "Bill" Brantley has prefiled for the District 4 seat.