Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pinellas teacher that sparked three decades of complaints retires

Maria Raysses-Whipple, the Pinellas teacher who generated scores of complaints from students and teachers over three decades, is retiring.

Whipple, 61, was profiled in a March St. Petersburg Times story that documented a long history of accusations that she botched grades, belittled students and outraged parents. Despite the problems, the district put her back in the classroom at Dunedin High in 2008, 11 years after she agreed to stop teaching at East Lake High and move to a nonclassroom job. Within two weeks, complaints started anew.

"It has been my blessing and my burden to devote 32 years of my life of dedicated and determined service to Pinellas County Schools, students, and families," Whipple wrote to the district July 4. "I now find that for continued health and medical reasons, I will begin my retirement effective Wednesday, August 3, 2011."

Whipple submitted her retirement form on July 5 but did not complete paperwork finalizing it until Wednesday. She was making $60,798 a year and will receive a lump sum of $57,866 from the state in deferred retirement benefits. Her pension: $2,460 per month.

District officials began investigating her for undisclosed reasons in October. She went on medical leave in January. District paperwork filed this week indicates "she retired under investigation." It also says she will be coded as a "no rehire" in the district's personnel system.

The decision to give Whipple another shot at teaching raised concerns about superintendent Julie Janssen, who was interim superintendent at the time. The teacher was "gone from the classroom for 10, 12 years," she told the Times. "You can't predict that her behaviors haven't changed."

Whipple has said she was targeted because she refused to lower standards. In her letter, she wrote the degradation of the teaching profession will allow other countries to "outcompete and outperform our beloved America internationally on all substantive measures." She added: "Quel dommage!" That's French for "What a pity."

Ron Matus can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 893-8873.

Pinellas teacher that sparked three decades of complaints retires 07/20/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, July 20, 2011 11:07pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Romano: Why flood insurance might not be enough to save your home

    Local Government

    Irma is gone, and Maria never came.

    And yet this is as good a time as any to worry.

  2. Tampa's streetcar system looks to expand north through downtown

    Transportation

    TAMPA — The TECO Line Streetcar system that runs from Ybor City to the Channel District could be extended north through downtown all the way to Tampa Heights, according to the latest update of a $1.7 million study aimed at expanding the streetcar system.

    Riders take in the last few stops of the streetcar route in Ybor City during the tenth anniversary celebration of the TECO line streetcar system in Tampa in 2012. Now officials are looking for ways to expand the service north through downtown to Tampa Heights. [EVE EDELHEIT  |  Times]
  3. Interview: Steve Martin, Martin Short bringing 'best version' of their show back to St. Petersburg

    Stage

    Hot celebrity-spotting tip: Stop by the Salvador Dalí Museum on Jan. 19. You might catch a glimpse of Steve Martin.

    Steve Martin, left, and Martin Short will bring “An Evening You Will Forget for the Rest of Your Life” to the Mahaffey Theater on Jan. 19.
  4. Report: Well-being of black and Hispanic children continues to lag in Florida

    K12

    Despite making progress in health care access and parental employment, Florida has not improved its poverty rate for children over the past five years, a newly released national report shows.

    Students line up in the courtyard at predominantly black Lakewood Elementary in St. Petersburg. A new report by the Annie E. Casey Foundation finds that Florida ranks 28th in the nation on an index that measures the well-being of black children. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times]
  5. Second lady Karen Pence to speak at Tampa art therapy summit

    Veterans

    TAMPA — Second lady Karen Pence will visit The David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts on Tuesday to address advocates of art therapy programs for military members and families.