Clear69° FULL FORECASTClear69° FULL FORECAST
Make us your home page
Instagram

Thomas C. Tobin, Times Staff Writer

Thomas C. Tobin

Tom Tobin is Assistant Metro Editor / Education, Health & Medicine at the Tampa Bay Times. He has worked at the Times since 1988, serving much of that time as a government reporter. He also has reported on the Church of Scientology periodically since 1996.

As the Times' state reporter, he covered the 2000 presidential recount in Florida and wrote about subsequent efforts to retool the state's election machinery. From 2003 to 2009, he covered education, focusing on school board issues, school finance, the achievement gap and desegregation.

Born in St. Louis, Mo., he lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Kathleen, and their three children.

Phone: (727) 893-8923

Email: tobin@tampabay.com

link
  1. A Scientology battle like no other: Miscavige versus Miscavige

    Special Topics

    It says in Chapter 36 that the Church of Scientology is great for families.

    Scientologists communicate more freely, raising "their capacity to love other people." Family bonds "strengthen dramatically." And church members "take deep pride in their record of resolving family problems and conflicts."

    The words come from What is Scientology?, a volume the church first published in 1992 as it sought greater acceptance from a wary public. ...

    An image showing a portion of ronmiscavigebook.com, a website launched by the Church of Scientology to discredit Ron Miscavige, the father of Scientology leader David Miscivige. The elder Miscavige published a tell-all book in May 2016 titled "Ruthless: Scientology, My Son David Miscavige and Me." The screen shows Ron Miscavige in the foreground with a link in the background to an arrest record for his other son, Ronnie. Ron Miscavige and his wife briefly lived with Ronnie after they left the church.
  2. Searching for a school in Pinellas? Here are five things to know

    K12

    If you are one of the thousands of Pinellas County families searching for a school for 2017-18, you have come to the right place.

    Our annual "School Search" special section is built around the Jan. 4 start of the application period for magnet, fundamental and high school career programs in the Pinellas public school system.

    But it also includes information on the upcoming kindergarten registration process for traditional public schools — as well as listings for private and charter schools. The latter two groups have application deadlines of their own, and will be offering open houses as well in the coming weeks....

    Kindergarten student Carlos Pennington, 5, left, plays with Samantha Haines and her son Niel, 4, a potential student, during Discovery Night at Gulfport Elementary on Dec. 9.
  3. Former Pinellas superintendent Wilcox lands new job in Charlotte

    Blog

    The Charlotte Observer reports today that Clayton Wilcox, the former Pinellas County school superintedent, has landed his biggest job yet in education -- this time as the leader of the nation's 18th-largest school sytem. Wilcox has been hired as superintendent of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.

    He served as Pinellas superintendent from 2004 to 2008, becoming a change agent in the wake of Howard Hinesley's 14-year run as the district's leader. Many found Wilcox's candid style refreshing, a much-needed jolt for a district that had lost its mojo. But others saw him as arrogant and said he pushed too hard, too fast. When he left the district for a top job with Scholastic, he had three years left on his contract. Before taking the Charlotte job, he headed Washington County Public Schools in Hagerstown, Md., a much smaller district with 22,000 students....

    Clayton Wilcox, left, works with School Board members on a new student assignment plan in 2007.
  4. Florida education news: Catholic school enrollment, a third-grade snafu, useful research and more

    Blog

    UPSWING: The Roman Catholic Diocese of St. Petersburg is bucking national trends with increasing enrollment, and its new school superintendent aims to keep it that way.

    TESTING NEWS: A glitch involving the state's third-grade reading test at a Duval County elementary school puts at least one student in limbo, the Florida Times-Union reports....

  5. Holiday greetings, and some thoughts about the abbreviated summer

    Blog

    Happy Fourth of July, dear readers. Our daily roundup of Florida education news will resume on Tuesday. But before we go, a few musings as this holiday weekend puts us about halfway through the very short summer of 2016.

    The other day, we stumbled on this page, which contains a spreadsheet titled "2016-17 School District Calendars" published by the Florida Department of Education. It's accompanied by a summary, which says: “Students in 40 of the 75 school districts will begin the 2016-17 school year in Florida as early as August 10, 2016. There are 23 districts that will begin on August 15, 2016, with the latest start date on August 22, 2016.”...

  6. Florida education news: School grading concerns, a rogue charter operator and more

    Blog

    DOWNGRADED: Educators across Florida are worried that school grades, due out this month, will be lower because of the state's new, tougher rating system, the Orlando Sentinel reports. The paper also reports on a new adult education center in South Apopka and salaries totaling nearly $220,000 for the Orange County school system's new media relations staff....

  7. Florida education news: A hiring scandal, a heated impasse, a busy school board election and more

    Blog

    MEA CULPA: The University of South Florida fires the leader of its advertising and mass communications school and makes changes after an independent review uncovers a serious lapse in the hiring process.

    AT ODDS: Emotions simmer as the St. Johns County School Board, working into Friday morning, sides with its administration during an impasse hearing. The district and teachers union are headed back to the bargaining table, the St. Augustine Record reports....

  8. Florida education news: UCF's downtown campus, one high school's botched exams and more

    Blog

    TAKING SHAPE: The University of Central Florida chooses a team to design and construct its $60 million campus in downtown Orlando, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

    FLUBBED: Newly released documents shed more light on a testing mistake last month that caused more than 300 AP exams to be invalidated at Orange County's Lake Nona High School, the Orlando Sentinel reports....

  9. Florida education news: Pinellas changes direction, Hillsborough shakes it up, Broward offers a big new benefit and more

    Blog

    NEW FOCUS: Pinellas County school officials unveil a strategic plan that puts more emphasis on helping minority students.

    FRESH START: In a milestone moment for his still-new administration, Hillsborough County school superintendent Jeff Eakins announces a major shake-up of the district's top leadership....

  10. Florida education news: Fears of a contentious transgender debate, Alachua's new interim leader and more

    Blog

    BACKING AWAY: The Hillsborough County School Board, citing fears of a contentious meeting, cancels a scheduled vote on adding protections for transgender students.

    TEMPORARY FIX: The Alachua County School Board appoints a familiar face, Sandy Hollinger, to run the district until its finds a permanent superintendent to replace Owen Roberts, the Gainesville Sun reports....

  11. Florida education news: A Best and Brightest development, search for an interim superintendent and more

    Blog

    ANOTHER CHALLENGE: An attorney representing the state teachers union says the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is investigating Florida's controversial Best and Brightest bonus plan, the Naples Daily News reports....

  12. Florida education news: Election developments, teacher hiring and more

    Blog

    FULL SLATE: The school board races take shape in Duval County, where 12 candidates are running for four seats, the Florida Times-Union reports.

    TEACHERS WANTED: Volusia County schools are in a hiring mode even as the teachers union is taking legal action against the district, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports....

  13. Florida education news: Charter troubles, expulsions, a nifty school district app and more

    Blog

    OUT OF TIME: Pinellas County school officials make a late bid to absorb two troubled charters, but the numbers don't work in the end.

    UPTICK: The Manatee County School Board prepares to expel a middle school student for bringing a BB gun to campus. That will make seven expulsions since August in a district where the last one before that was in 2009, the Bradenton Herald reports....

  14. USF officially reaches a milestone that will push it to the next level

    Blog

    The Florida Board of Governors made it official today, formally designating the University of South Florida as the state's first “emerging preeminent state research university.”

    The board's Strategic Planning Committee gave preliminary approval to the designation earlier this week....

  15. Florida education news: A new chapter waits in Alachua, intriguing candidate in Leon, university performance pay and more

    Blog

    FALL OUT: Uncertainty reigns in Alachua County, where the School Board will meet Monday to choose an interim leader after superintendent Owen Roberts resigns, the Gainesville Sun reports.

    NEW WRINKLE: A controversial figure, former principal and whistleblower Woody Hildebrandt, enters the race for Leon County school superintendent, the Tallahassee Democrat reports....