Make us your home page
Instagram

Former Pinellas school superintendent Julie Janssen hired to head Edwards foundation

Julie Janssen’s three years as Pinellas school superintendent were marked with complaints from parents, teachers and School Board members about her communication skills and failure to vet proposals before airing them.

SCOTT KEELER | Times

Julie Janssen’s three years as Pinellas school superintendent were marked with complaints from parents, teachers and School Board members about her communication skills and failure to vet proposals before airing them.

ST. PETERSBURG — Julie Janssen, former Pinellas school superintendent, is Bill Edwards' pick to head his new Bill Edwards Foundation for the Arts. Almost two years after the School Board fired her, Janssen just started as president of the foundation set up to support the Mahaffey Theater.

"I think it's really about building relationships and learning the theater world. I'm doing my homework," said Janssen, who has served as president of the Celma Mastry Ovarian Cancer Foundation named for her late mother and sat on other boards.

"She knows a lot of people and she's respected and she's had her own (family) foundation," Edwards said.

He put his foundation in motion in April and began collecting resumes. Janssen's made its way to him and after two interviews she was hired. Both declined to name her salary.

Her three years as superintendent were marked with complaints from parents, teachers and School Board members about her communication skills and failure to vet proposals before airing them.

"They (dismissed her) without cause. They even paid her. I don't see any issue with that," said Edwards, when asked if he was concerned that she was forced out of the job. "She didn't rob a bank or anything. She ran into some problems."

One of Janssen's first tasks is creating new membership packages that offer different perks at various prices.

The Bill Edwards Foundation for the Arts seems to essentially replace the Mahaffey Foundation.

Mahaffey Foundation memberships that have not expired will be moved to the Edwards foundation, Janssen said.

At first Edwards planned for the Mahaffey Foundation to continue raising money for Class Acts, an educational program for schoolchildren that holds 15 to 20 theater productions per year. He now plans to support Class Acts with his own foundation and said he isn't sure what the Mahaffey Foundation is doing.

Mark Mahaffey, who, with his family has given more than $1 million to the theater, could not be reached for comment.

Like many other Mahaffey Foundation board members, he is not on the Edwards foundation board.

Edwards estimated his foundation has about $1.2 million in its coffers, including a $1 million donation from him. He's paying all the salaries and other overhead for the first two years.

He made his fortune refinancing Department of Veterans Affairs mortgages. In January, Edwards said he was retiring from his Mortgage Investors Corp. and selling it to Tampa-based HomeBancorp. The deal never went through.

"I didn't end up selling it," he said. "We kept waiting for government approval and we were tired of waiting so we just took it back."

Katherine Snow Smith can be reached at (727) 893-8785 or kssmith@tampabay.com.

Former Pinellas school superintendent Julie Janssen hired to head Edwards foundation 06/20/13 [Last modified: Thursday, June 20, 2013 11:23pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Federal agencies demand records from SeaWorld theme park

    Tourism

    ORLANDO — Two federal agencies are reportedly demanding financial records from SeaWorld.

    Killer whales Ikaika and Corky participate in behaviors commonly done in the wild during SeaWorld's Killer Whale educational presentation in this photo from Jan. 9. SeaWorld has been subpoenaed by two federal agencies for comments that executives and the company made in August 2014 about the impact from the "Blackfish" documentary. 
[Nelvin C. Cepeda/San Diego Union-Tribune/TNS]
  2. Legalized medical marijuana signed into law by Rick Scott

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott on Friday signed into law a broader medical marijuana system for the state, following through on a promise he made earlier this month.

    Gov. Rick Scott signed legislation on Friday that legalizes medical marijuana in Florida.
  3. Line of moms welcome Once Upon A Child to Carrollwood

    Business

    CARROLLWOOD — Strollers of all shapes and sizes are lined up in front of the store, and inside, there are racks of children's clothing in every color of the rainbow.

    At Once Upon A Child, you often as many baby strollers outside as you find baby furniture and accessories. It recently opened this location in Carrollwood. Photo by Danielle Hauser
  4. Pastries N Chaat brings North India cuisine to North Tampa

    Business

    TAMPA — Pastries N Chaat, a new restaurant offering Indian street food, opened this week near the University of South Florida.

    The menu at Pastries N Chaat includes a large variety of Biriyani, an entree owners say is beloved by millions. Photo courtesy of Pastries N Chaat.
  5. 'Garbage juice' seen as threat to drinking water in Florida Panhandle county

    Water

    To Waste Management, the nation's largest handler of garbage, the liquid that winds up at the bottom of a landfill is called "leachate," and it can safely be disposed of in a well that's 4,200 feet deep.

    Three samples that were displayed by Jackson County NAACP President Ronstance Pittman at a public meeting on Waste Management's deep well injection proposal. The sample on the left is full of leachate from the Jackson County landfill, the stuff that would be injected into the well. The sample on the right shows leachate after it's been treated at a wastewater treatment plant. The one in the middle is tap water.