Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Longtime Pinellas administrator steps down amid controversy

ST. PETERSBURG — A 31-year employee of Pinellas County schools has stepped down following an investigation of her involvement with a company that makes teacher-management products.

Regional superintendent Carol Thomas was placed on administrative leave by schools chief Julie Janssen last month after School Board members raised questions about her work with Enhancing Teacher Instructional Practice, a computerized program designed to improve the teacher appraisal process.

A report from the district's Office of Professional Standards released Saturday said Thomas and another district administrator helped develop and market the product during regular business hours. Thomas had maintained her work with the program was done on her own time without using school resources.

The report said there was "substantial e-mail communication" about the project between the district employees and a company official. There also were at least two meetings about the product during the workday.

In addition, the report said that Thomas and the other administrator told district investigators that the purpose of the program was to benefit Pinellas exclusively, which contradicted their actions. Thomas initially asked the School Board to relinquish to her copyright and patent rights for the product but then gave them back.

In a rebuttal to the district, Thomas said she consistently communicated about the development of the product. She is not an officer in the company and did not market the product. Thomas requested to be reassigned but was denied, she said. In light of that, "I have elected to retire from my current position."

To read a copy of the district's report and Carol Thomas' rebuttal, go to

Longtime Pinellas administrator steps down amid controversy 06/04/11 [Last modified: Saturday, June 4, 2011 10:46pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Ole Miss football coach Hugh Freeze resigns over "inappropriate conduct"


    OXFORD, Miss. — Mississippi coach Hugh Freeze was at Jackson Country Club on Wednesday night, giving his yearly rah-rah speech about the Rebels' overcoming adversity and getting ready for the college football season.

    If Hugh Freeze hadn’t resigned, Ole Miss says it would have fired him for violating his contract’s moral turpitude clause.
  2. Fennelly: With playoff chase in high gear, it's time for Rays to make a move

    The Heater


    Thursday was an off-day for the Rays, who are coming off a solid western swing. I assume there was no rest for the tag-team Rays baseball brain trust of Matt Silverman, Erik Neander and Chaim Bloom, whose job it is to improve this team in advance of the trade deadline. They've done a good job …

    Evan Longoria is glad to see the Rangers coming to town: He’s batting .296 against them with 15 homers and 56 RBIs in 69 career games.
  3. World's plastic waste could bury Manhattan 2 miles deep


    WASHINGTON — Industry has made more than 9.1 billion tons of plastic since 1950 and there's enough left over to bury Manhattan under more than 2 miles of trash, according to a new cradle-to-grave global study.

    Plastic trash is compacted into bales ready for further processing at the waste processing dump on the outskirts of Minsk, Belarus.
  4. Sen. John McCain's type of cancer did not slow Tampa woman


    TAMPA — When 35-year-old Beth Caldwell heard about Sen. John McCain's brain tumor this week, she hoped he would stay positive.

    That's what helped her, she said.

    Throughout her battle with brain cancer, Beth Caldwell, 35, keeps her sons Gavin, 10, and Triston, 7, on her mind.
  5. A week later, the lengthy, costly rebuilding plan for the Pasco sinkhole begins

    Public Safety

    LAND O'LAKES — A week after a massive sinkhole opened in Pasco County, county officials have begun planning the long-term cleanup, which could take months and millions of dollars.

    A sinkhole in Land O'Lakes, Fla., is seen Wednesday, July 19, 2017. The sinkhole ?‘ already one of the largest in Pasco County in decades ?‘ measures about 235 feet in width and 50 feet in depth, with the potential to expand further.