Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Hillsborough School Board votes on new ESE chief

TAMPA — Maryann Parks will be the next general director of the troubled Exceptional Student Education program for Hillsborough County public schools, pending a vote today by the School Board.

Board Chairwoman April Griffin said she was notified Monday of Parks' selection.

"She's been well-vetted, and she has a very strong background in ESE," Griffin said.

Parks, 56, joined the district in 1979 as an ESE teacher, said district spokesman Stephen Hegarty. She became an ESE specialist in 1988, a district resource teacher in ESE in 2001 and a supervisor in 2008.

If approved as general director, she will replace Joyce Wieland, who took a lateral transfer to another district job in December.

The district has spent the past several months responding to the deaths last year of two children in ESE, which serves 29,000 students.

Isabella Herrera, a 7-year-old with a neuromuscular disorder, died after suffering respiratory distress on a school bus in January 2012. Many School Board members did not know about the incident until her parents filed a federal lawsuit Nov. 1.

On Oct. 22, 11-year-old Jennifer Caballero, who had Down syndrome, wandered away from Rodgers Middle School in Riverview and drowned in a pond.

In response to the two deaths, superintendent MaryEllen Elia assembled a work group to improve safety for ESE students. Parks is one of the core members of that group.

Improvements in place or under way include mandatory safety training for all employees, safety videos for those who arrive midyear and standard procedures to address the issue of students who "elope," or run away.

Parks did not return a call Monday for comment.

The head of the district's ESE advisory council was happy to hear of Parks' pending promotion.

"I think it's a very good choice," said Ana Sanders, who chairs the panel of parents, district employees and service providers.

"She is very well-versed in all aspects of ESE. She knows her stuff. If you have a question, she has an answer for you right away."

School Board member Cindy Stuart said she is pleased with Parks' experience and credentials. According to the Florida Department of Education website, her four certifications include one in emotionally handicapped education.

"I'm glad we are appointing someone who has the qualifications," she said. "I think we've been kind of waiting and the division needs to move forward. We are moving in the right direction."

Marlene Sokol can be reached at (813) 226-3356 or sokol@tampabay.com.

Hillsborough School Board votes on new ESE chief 04/01/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, April 2, 2013 12:02am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Trump reveals that he didn't record Comey after all

    Politics

    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump declared Thursday he never made and doesn't have recordings of his private conversations with ousted former FBI director James Comey, ending a monthlong guessing game that he started with a cryptic tweet and that ensnared his administration in yet more controversy.

    President Donald Trump said Thursday that he didn’t record his conversations with James Comey.
  2. Lightning fans, don't get attached to your first-round draft picks

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — When Lightning GM Steve Yzerman announces his first-round pick tonight in the amateur draft at No. 14, he'll invite the prospect onto the stage for the once-in-a-lifetime photo opportunity.

    Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Jonathan Drouin (27) eludes  Montreal Canadiens left wing Phillip Danault (24) during the second period of Wednesday???‚??„?s (12/28/16) game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Montreal Canadiens at the Amalie Arena in Tampa.
  3. Investigation Discovery TV show profiles 2011 Landy Martinez murder case

    Crime

    The murder of a St. Petersburg man will be featured this week on a new true crime series Murder Calls on Investigation Discovery.

    Jose Adame sits in a Pinellas County courtroom during his 2016 trial and conviction for first-degree murder. Adame was convicted of first-degree murder last year for torturing and then executing his boyfriend as he pleaded for his life in 2011. Now it will be featured in a new true crime series Murder Calls on Investigation Discovery. The episode will air on June 26 at 9 p.m. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD   |   Times]
  4. Uhuru mayoral candidate Jesse Nevel protests exclusion from debate

    Blogs

    ST. PETERSBURG — Jesse Nevel, the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement candidate for mayor, on Thursday demanded that he be allowed to participate in a July 25 televised debate between incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman and challenger Rick Baker.

    Mayoral candidate Jesse Nevel holds a news conference outside the headquarters of the Tampa Bay Times on Thursday to protest his exclusion from the mayoral debate. Nevel is a member of the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement.
  5. Lightning GM Steve Yzerman also has top-9 wing on his wish list

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — Much has been made about the Lightning's interest in bolstering its blue line, even after last week's acquisition of defense prospect Mikhail Sergachev.

    Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman gestures as he speaks to the media about recent trades during a news conference before an NHL hockey game against the Carolina Hurricanes Wednesday, March 1, 2017, in Tampa, Fla. The Lightning, over the past few days, have traded goaltender Ben Bishop to the Los Angeles Kings, forward Brian Boyle to the Toronto Maple Leafs, and forward Valtteri Filppula to the Philadelphia Flyers. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara) TPA101