Scattered Clouds67° FULL FORECASTScattered Clouds67° FULL FORECAST
Make us your home page

Lisa Gartner, Times Staff Writer

Lisa Gartner

Lisa Gartner covers Pinellas County Schools, colleges and universities. Before joining the Times in 2013, Lisa covered D.C. Public Schools for The Washington Examiner. Herself a product of Florida public schools, Lisa grew up in Palm Beach County. She attended Northwestern University after purchasing a very heavy coat.

Phone: (727) 893-8707


Twitter: @LisaGartner

  1. 'Failure Factories': Duncan blasts Pinellas school system for 'education malpractice' (w/video)



    U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan delivered a stinging rebuke Friday to the Pinellas County School District, calling the rapid decline of five predominantly black neighborhood schools a "man-made disaster" and "education malpractice."

    Standing in Campbell Park Elementary, Duncan said: "What has happened to too many kids, for too long, is unacceptable. It's heartbreaking. Part of me wants to cry. Part of me gets very, very angry."...

    At Campbell Park Elementary in St. Petersburg on Friday, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan, with Deputy Secretary John King, left, said the Pinellas school system needs to own up to its failure in dropping integration for neighborhood schools. 
  2. My Outfit Monday: Fall and Feminism


    As we were walking outside to take the photo you see above, I turned to Katie and said, "I think my post is going to be one long feminist rant."

    She nodded and started snapping pictures. "That sounds good to me."

    As many of you probably know, all of the Deal Divas do this gig in addition to our "real" full-time jobs. Katie covers politics. Stephanie and Michelle are arts and food editors, respectively. Kameel, when she was here, covered St. Pete City Hall and cops for years. And so on and so on. I cover Pinellas County Schools, and have covered K-12 education for more than half a decade....

    Outfit here, rant below. My dress and cut-out ankle boots are both from misred Outfitters. They're Sunrise Sale finds -- we're talking $10 for the dress and $5 for the shoes. I loved the cooler weather while walking my dog this morning, so I opted for a rich berry tone to celebrate fall. The cut-out booties seemed to have one foot in summer and one foot in autumn, so they came along for the ride. My earrings are from J.Crew Factory, and my bag (if you can see it) is vintage Coach from the Old Northeast yard sale.
  3. For one man, owning dogs has created a warm and fuzzy change

    Human Interest

    We went to brunch on Father's Day, me and my parents, who had driven over from West Palm Beach. We'd gone to a nicer restaurant than usual, and my father had let me order oysters even though he thinks they're gross.

    We had left Daisy at my apartment, thinking she'd be more comfortable there than at the hotel. When we got back, the dog was lying on her side, not moving. That's what struck us: She wasn't moving at all. ...

    Jane and David Gartner and Daisy walk at a dog park near their Wellington home. The family has had two dogs in the past 17 years. The first, acquired shortly before Daisy, died seven years ago.
  4. Pinellas schools chief tries to reassure parents he has addressed 'Failure factories'



    Superintendent Mike Grego on Friday sought to reassure members of the city's black community in the wake of a Tampa Bay Times investigation that traced the district's role in resegregating five elementary schools and then turning them into some of the worst in Florida.

    Speaking to a standing-room-only crowd of more than 150 parents, grandparents, community leaders and school employees, Grego described the steps he already has set in motion to improve the schools, including steering them more money and adding classroom aides, social workers and mental health counselors....

    Pinellas school superintendent Mike Grego speaks to community members at the forum in St. Petersburg on Friday. 
  5. St. Pete boutique hosts 'tailgate' for stylish Gators and 'Noles


    Football season will soon be upon us, a fact I learned from my old friend Google (hey girl) and casual glances into the social strata (yo). But football fans and hapless bystanders alike can rejoice this weekend when a local boutique gets into the game.

    Ashe Couture will be hosting a tailgate at its Central Avenue shop this Sunday, decking out all of their racks in Gators and Seminoles team colors. Comment on the photo pictured above on the store's Facebook page, mentioning your team allegiance, and you'll be entered to win a gift card to use Sunday....

    Cadyn and Charlie bracelets that will separate the Gators from the Noles.
  6. My Outfit Monday: It's all about the Wellingtons, baby


    If we were singing in the rain, we would be hoarse by now.

    Nay, we would have lost our voices completely (which, in my off-key case, wouldn't entirely be a tragedy). We've had 21 consecutive days of rain in Tampa Bay, and the only thing we are singing is for it to go, go away....

    Art direction by Brittany Volk.
  7. Summer florals: not your grandmother's florals


    This morning I was chatting cube-side with Divas Stephanie and Kameel when I realized, suddenly, that they looked fabulous.

    Under crunch time for a reporting project, I have been running out of the house with wet hair and jeans, so this was an observation I did not make without notes of premeditated crime. I DIGRESS.

    What Steph and Kameel's outfits had in common was a trend I didn't realize was a trend until it was sitting, chatting, right in front of my cube:...

    ModCloth seemingly wrote the book on flowers-on-black patterns. Go to the website, type in "floral," and find everything from iPad cases to must-have heels. This pair, "Ain't Seen Stunning Yet," goes for $39.99.
  8. 30% off as Twice closes shop


    So, here's the deal.

    eBay has swallowed Twice. Or something. The website that sells second-hand wares announced this week that "eBay is acquiring some of our key technology," meaning that "Twice is winding down." reports that eBay's acquisition of the online consignment shop is its first since splitting from PayPal. Although the price tag for Twice remains a mystery, writer Jason del Ray shared some details of the purchase:...

    A selection of Anthropologie items on Twice's website. Take an additional 30 percent off all listed prices until 3 a.m. Eastern.
  9. The Divas hit the 42nd annual Sunrise Sale in St. Petersburg, and not a shoe was safe


    There are few things for which I will get out of bed before 7 a.m.

    If my apartment was on fire, I like to think I would get up.

    If Ryan Gosling was outside my window all, "You are so beautiful, like an orchid in the rain, please be mine right now," I guess I'd be like, "Sheesh, Ryan, keep it down, I have neighbors, and you need to respect my space, but OK hold on a second," and then I would stand up, and I would go to him....

    Michelle scored these necklaces for $5 apiece at Misred.
  10. I fit everything I needed for my 3-night vacation into a laptop bag - and so can you


    Readers of Deal Divas may recall that, last week, I was on a great quest. I had vowed to fit the necessities of a three-night vacation into a personal item. Not a checked bag, not a carry-on bag, but a personal item.

    Did I succeed in my quest to pay zero dollars in baggage fees to Allegiant Air by shoving everything into a backpack?...

    I wore my bulkiest items (sneakers and a sweater) on the plane. They were ready to go next to my laptop bag for my 6:30 a.m. flight.
  11. Avoid Allegiant Air's bag fees with these packing tips


    Lately, Allegiant Air has been making headlines for emergency landings and passenger strandings. That rhymed, so what if I'm a little geeked about it, moving on, okay....

    Fit everything you need for a weekend away in your personal item - like this small backpack - and avoid Allegiant's $50 carry-on fee.
  12. What we're loving for July


    Wednesdays are when you are trying to swim from the United States to Cuba but get tired halfway through and are too far from either shore to save yourself.

    And Wednesday, of course, is my posting day. Sorry for all the struggle.

    But why wallow? More than just a Wednesday, it's July 1; a whole new month is upon us, and there's plenty to celebrate. So today I'd like to share with you my favorite things (category: Deal Divas) for the month ahead. Cue Maria....

    These are a few of our fav-o-rite things.... okay, I'll stop singing and talk about summer sandals.
  13. Feel some "Pride In Fashion" at Tyrone Square


    Can't wait for Pride weekend, St. Petersburg? You don't have to - it's already upon us.

    As I mentioned yesterday, shops around the EDGE District (that's Central Ave and surrounding, west of downtown) are extending their hours this evening to offer discounts to shoppers who wear a pride button....

    Ross Mathews will be at the Macy's at the Tyrone Square mall from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
  14. St. Pete Pride amps up Thursday with shopping deals


    Have you been living under a rock? I am not here to judge. There are some really solid rocks out there. My parents, when they were first starting out, lived under a nice quartz in Brooklyn.

    But I digress.

    Unless you have been living under a rock, you probably know that St. Pete Pride is this weekend. The parade is Saturday, starting with a block party at 5 p.m. The street festival is Sunday, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m....

    Support St. Pete Pride while scooping up great style this Thursday in the Edge District.
  15. Chambray pants: a do or a don't?


    Let's start here: I own a pair of chambray pants. The shop I ordered them from describes the pants as "relaxed through hip and thigh, with an easy, straight leg." I would describe them as lightweight and comfortable. My boyfriend describes them as "the ugliest thing I have ever seen."

    It is very hot and important to remember that it is only June. We deserve a pants option that breathes, and in this sense chambray pants are the anti-legging jean. But are these pants a chic option for summer, or marked-up hospital scrubs?...

    These fitted, button-tab chambray pants from the Gap look more work-appropriate than most other models I've seen.