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Doretha Edgecomb will step down from Hillsborough board in November

Doretha Edgecomb, shown here at Just Elementary School in 2008, was an educator for 42 years and a School Board member since 2004.


Doretha Edgecomb, shown here at Just Elementary School in 2008, was an educator for 42 years and a School Board member since 2004.

Doretha Edgecomb was a teacher before the schools were integrated. She was a principal at Robles Elementary. In 2004, she joined the Hillsborough County School Board. She was re-elected twice, but passed over in November for the chairmanship, something that was pure tradition, but considered by her supporters to be a slight nonetheless.

After a heated board meeting some weeks later, Edgecomb told the Times she planned to run for re-election. But she never filed, and at the end of Tuesday's board meeting, she made this statement:

"It is with many days, week and months of tremendous contemplation, reflection and prayer that I have decided not to seek re-election.

To come to this moment has not been easy. It comes after serious conversations with my daughter and other members of my family, with others who love and support me.

Be assured that no one event or series of events has led me to this decision. Despite the rampant rumors whirling around about whether I would run or not, my decision to run could not come from a place of fear. Neither am I not running because I'm being pushed out, or because I have no more no more fight left in me. Those who create, add on or perpetuate such nonsense obviously don't know me.

There have even been assertions that I'm not running again because of the recent passing of my mother. Frankly, it was because of the way my mother lived her life that helped me to clearly take directions that I am taking. She lived a life of purpose; of steadfast and strong convictions, a life of substance, of tremendous faith  and commitment. These are among the boundaries that I've considered and honored as I've come into this decision.

As with many things in life there is a beginning and an ending, an opening and closing, a point of entering and a time for departure. I call it seasons in one's life. And so it is my season to end this chapter of almost 42 years as an educator.

I also believe that there is so much more to do. And so the journey does not end with this decision. I am still committed to making a difference, for helping to change lives, to supporting and working to ensure that every child, all children, have the best education and opportunities that they so rightly deserve.

It is also critical that I continue to support, value and honor those who work in our district who make these things happen every day. And that includes all of you employees in our school district.

My mission remains the same. The fight continues. And my voice will continue to be among those who speak out. What changes is just the place, the space or the background, if you will.

Like many of you I am a product of this district and, in many ways, a child of it; as my mother was a fifth grade teacher at the now defunct Harlem Academy when I was born. It is where also I began my own formal education at age five. Three of the four generations of educators in my family served and continue to serve in this school district. For me, my life as an educator goes way beyond that of a job, a position or a career. I consider it a calling, one that I take seriously and compel to answer.

This is the district where my family for years has chosen to educate our own children because we believed in it and because we believed in and support public education.

When I took this position in 2004, I pledged that I would serve with integrity and dignity, with dedication and commitment, that I would come prepared, that I would listen, that I would be your voice and stand up for what I believe is the right thing to do for the right reasons. I will continue  to do those things until I leave in November.

I would especially thank those of you who have supported, encouraged and believed in me. I am honored by that trust and confidence. Thank you for standing with me and standing up for me, for I could never have done it alone. Thank you for caring about children and wanting the best for them.

Because there is still important work before us, this is going to be what I am going to continue to focus on and give my time and energy to it. And so this will be the only statement i will be making and addressing about my decision.

Like an eagle, perhaps a Robles eagle, I know that I should take flight with full assurance that there will be yet another place for me to land, new places to explore, and opportunities to fulfill what I was called to do.

Thank you."

[Last modified: Wednesday, May 11, 2016 2:31pm]


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