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. Florida: White man who killed black person to be executed

    State Roundup

    GAINESVILLE — For the first time in state history, Florida is expecting to execute a white man for killing a black person — and it plans to do so with help of a drug that has never been used previously in any U.S. execution.

    This undated photo provided by the Florida Department of Corrections shows Mark Asay. If his final appeals are denied, Asay is to die by lethal injection after 6 p.m. Thursday. Asay was convicted by a jury of two racially motivated, premeditated murders in Jacksonville in 1987.  [Florida Department of Corrections via AP]
  2. Can the Bad Boys Mowers Gasparilla Bowl thrive in competitive sports market?

    Business

    ST. PETERSBURG — It's a funky name: the Bad Boys Mowers Gasparilla Bowl. But the new sponsors for the former St. Petersburg Bowl might need more than an eye-catching name to create a thriving, profitable contest.

    NC State head coach Dave Doeren clutches the championship trophy after winning the Bitcoin Bowl at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg in 2014. Bowl organizers are changing the name of the game to the Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl.
[

MONICA HERNDON | TIMES]
  3. Apple Scales Back Its Ambitions for a Self-Driving Car

    Autos

    SAN FRANCISCO — As new employees were brought into Apple's secret effort to create a self-driving car a few years ago, managers told them that they were working on the company's next big thing: A product that would take on Detroit and disrupt the automobile industry.

     In this Monday, April 10, 2017 file photo, Luminar CEO Austin Russell monitors a 3D lidar map on a demonstration drive in San Francisco. Russell, now 22, was barely old enough to drive when he set out to create a safer navigation system for robot-controlled cars. His ambitions are about to be tested five years after he co-founded Luminar Technologies, a Silicon Valley startup trying to steer the rapidly expanding self-driving car industry in a new direction. Apple says it will scale back its amitions to build a self-driving car.  [AP Photo/Ben Margot]
  4. Groundbreaking today for complex on old Tampa Tribune site

    Real Estate

    TAMPA — A groundbreaking is slated for 10 a.m. today for a 400-unit apartment complex planned on the site of the former Tampa Tribune building in downtown Tampa.

    Renderings for a high-end apartment complex that will be built on the Tampa Tribune site in downtown Tampa. 
[Courtesy of Related Group]
  5. Walmart announces delivery partnership with Google

    Retail

    Walmart announced a new delivery partnership with Google to make online shopping easier for customers.

    People walk in and out of a Walmart store in Dallas. Walmart announced a new delivery partnership with Google.  [Associated Press]