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Lisa Gartner, Times Staff Writer

Lisa Gartner

Lisa Gartner covers higher education for the Times. Previously, she covered Pinellas County Schools. Before joining the newspaper 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. Legislators weigh a question: Should Florida pay to send its foster kids to grad school?


    Jasmine Randles likes cats. She thinks it's because her first memory is holding one close as she hid behind the couch while a boyfriend beat her mother to the carpet floor.

    It's two years later, at age 4, when Randles becomes a ward of the state. This time, she hides under the covers in a St. Petersburg crack house when a SWAT team breaks down the door and, during the raid, finds a little girl whose parents left her here "to play."...

    Kierra Stover, center, in glasses, didn’t know about the tuition exemption program until her senior year at Florida State University. The school denied her a refund until the Tampa Bay Times inquired about her status last week.
  2. My lip stain lasted through a dentist's appointment and now I'm the presidential frontrunner


    I used to be just like anyone else: tired, hungry, happy enough, quasi-diabetic, convinced Larry in accounting was out to kill me, the last living heir of a Norweigan dynasty, itchy. I was just as normal as any of you. The thing about being a hero is sometimes you don't know what you're doing is heroism. You don't know you're about to become a hero. But that all changed this morning, and nothing will ever be the same....

    screenshot from pinterest because taking photos of my own mouth was weird
  3. Birthday sale coming to Central Ave's Ashe Couture


    Birthdays are great. People buy you presents, you get to eat a lot of cake, and if you wish realllly hard when you blow out the candles, you can actually turn a year younger (wow if true, first like, first comment).

    It's hard to believe that local shop Ashe Couture, voted best women's clothing boutique in Creative Loafing's 2015 Best of the Bay awards, is turning a scant one this weekend. Feels like Ashe has been around much longer, doesn't it?...

  4. Joining other schools, USF's tobacco ban targets a new generation of smokers



    It happens like this: Bryce Thalackal is at a house party, and his friend is going outside to smoke. He does not know anyone else at the party, and he doesn't want to be alone, so Bryce goes, too. Does he want a cigarette? He knows it's bad for him, but so is drinking and he does that already, doesn't he?

    So it happens. Bryce, a sophomore at the University of South Florida, smokes his first cigarette. He is surprised by how quickly it hits him but even more by how much he likes it, how warm and relaxed it makes him feel, here at this party, blocks from where he studies science....

    Tristan Lear lights up outside the USF library in Tampa. The smoking ban is “peer-enforced.’’
  5. Hello, Yellow: Steal Michelle Obama's State of the Union style


    Did y'all watch the State of the Union last night? It was a sea of red ties, blue ties aaaand purple, the blend of the two colors. If "support neutral!" is your mantra getting dressed in the morning, there is nothing for you here.

    There was one respite for our eyes, and that was Michelle Obama. Regardless of your politics, can we agree that she looked lovely in her sleeveless yellow dress? The New York Times is calling it "marigold," and I'm inclined to agree; "mustard" would also do in a pinch, but there's something unsavory about "The First Lady was clad in mustard."...

    This Modcloth dress is $59.99 but the peter pan collar on this sleeveless number might make it worth it.
  6. My Outfit Monday: Working it in the Florida 'winter'


    It only took us until the middle of January, but we did it, Tampa Bay:

    We got fall weather.

    I'd like to give a big shout-out to the sun, for moving a little farther away from us. And where would we be without clouds? Key assist.

    But I digress. Getting dressed this morning was about being warm and cozy while keeping things professional for a day when I needed to be out in the field, reporting....

    Keeping it warm and profesh while reporting at USF today. Although to be real, Steve took this photo outside the Tampa newsroom.
  7. I'm returning, whether or not it's against store policy


    Well would you look who the cat dragged in.

    It's been a long spell since my last Deal Diva post, hasn't it? I was in crunch mode for an education reporting project that I've since blacked out and replaced with planted memories of a Vegas residency and Celine cat fight and, really, who's to say what really happened? Certainly not you. Hey, can we block comments on this post?...

    I've been here all this time. You just thought I was a burrito, and I get that.
  8. Failure Factories: Pinellas suspends black kids more than virtually every other big Florida county


    Most large Florida school districts are moving away from suspending children for nonviolent misbehavior — part of a nationwide consensus that harsh discipline falls unfairly on black kids and leaves struggling students too far behind.

    The Pinellas County School District is an outlier.

    Its leaders say teachers and principals know best, and they should be free to suspend students as they see fit....

    Black children in Pinellas are suspended at rates seen in virtually no other large school district in Florida. [DIRK SHADD | Times]
  9. '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. 
  10. 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.
  11. 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. ...

    David Gartner plays with dog Daisy, 13, who was adopted for the two Gartner children but has had David as primary caretaker.
  12. 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....

    Superintendent Michael Grego addresses the audience at a community forum he and School Board member Rene Flowers hosted Friday evening at the Dr. Carter G. Woodson African American History Museum. [DIRK SHADD | Times]  

  13. 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.
  14. 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....

    If we were to sing in the rain, it'd be a tasteful mix of Taylor, Bey and Lana del Ray.
  15. 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:...

    Deal alert: These Banana Republic Factory shorts are $12.99 and an ideal match for a loose coral top.