Make us your home page


Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Many views on Hillsborough superintendent and naming new school



More than 60 speakers signed up to share their views with the Hillsborough County School Board on Tuesday and the first group to take the podium focused on the track record of Superintendent MaryEllen Elia.

Shirley Trujillo, a former principal, said she was offended at the harsh evaluations submitted by members April Griffin and Susan Valdes.

"There is something good in each of us and that needs to be reinforced in the evaluation process," she said, adding that she thought the actions of Griffin and Valdes were "unprofessional, untimely and highly unethical."

Attorney Stephen Mitchell said of Elia, "She's a superstar."

Kathleen Shanahan, a member of the Florida Board of Education, said, "She is a national leader."

Praise came from teachers' union president Jean Clements as well.

Criticism came from community organizer Jose Colindres, who accused Elia of covering up the death of special-needs student Isabella Herrera; and school board candidate Dee Prether, who complained that the district's "one-size-fits-all" curriculum does not adequately serve all students.

For the most part, however, the speakers praised her contributions to the school district and the local economy.

A large number also turned out to advocate that the next new school be named for Jack Lamb, a retired school administrator and former board member. That group included Monsignor Lawrence Higgins and retired school board member Joe Newsome.

"The commitment he has demonstrated over the years to students, both special and typical, has been felt in our school district," said Daniel Bonilla, former principal of Leto and Jefferson high schools.

Not all the pitchs were for Lamb, however. Activist Fred Hearns asked that the school be named for civil rights leader Clarence Fort. And Rev. W. James Favor asked that the school be named for civil rights lawyer Warren Hope Dawson.

[Last modified: Wednesday, September 25, 2013 8:06am]


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours