Marlene Sokol - Education reporter

Education reporter

I’ve been a journalist since 1983 at newspapers all over Florida. After 15 years as an editor in the Tampa suburbs I was assigned to cover the Hillsborough public school system, the same one that gave my two children a great education. That last part didn't happen by itself. I was an active volunteer and believe schools should accommodate parents' busy schedules. I’m not a fan of the 3 p.m. parent conference or 10 a.m. PTA meeting! On weekends I play tennis and volunteer at a youth soccer program. Call or email me with your tips about the schools. I use Facebook for family and Twitter for self-promotion. But I prefer my conversations one-on-one.

  1. Robert Blount, a member of the governing board at Kid's Community College Preparatory High, addresses the Hillsborough County School Board on Tuesday. Behind him, wearing red shirts, are supporters of Woodmont and SouthShore charter schools.
  2. Hillsborough County School superintendent Addison Davis.
  3. Tom Grady, a member of Florida's State Board of Education, speaks during the board's meeting Wednesday in Seminole. The board approved new curriculum standards, among other actions.
  4. Zoe Sanchez, 9, a student at SouthShore Charter Academy School, makes remarks on behalf of her school during a meeting Wednesday of Florida's State Board of Education, held at St. Petersburg College Seminole Campus. “I cannot say enough how much I love my school,” she told board members.
  5. Jul. 13• The Education Gradebook
    Melanie Hill Anderson is the principal of Tampa Heights Elementary School.
  6. New school construction and boundary changes would help ease crowded conditions at schools such as Lithia's Barrington Middle, shown here.
  7. An IDEA School of Hope is seen under construction at 11612 N Nebraska Avenue this spring in Tampa.
  8. An IDEA School of Hope is seen under construction at 11612 N Nebraska Avenue this spring in Tampa.
  9. Florida education commissioner Richard Corcoran is pushing back against Hillsborough County's decision last week to deny requests from six charter schools.
  10. Kids Community College Preparatory High School at 11513 McMullen Road is one of three Kids Community College schools 
in Riverview. The Hillsborough School Board voted Tuesday to deny the high school's contract renewal, leaving its future uncertain.
  11. Jun. 15• The Education Gradebook
    Brian Spiro is the new principal of Riverview High School, effective July 1.
  12. The state will allow East Tampa's Oak Park Elementary and seven other Hillsborough County schools to continue their relationship with MGT of America Consulting. The company specializes in turning around troubled schools.
  13. An IDEA "School of Hope" is seen under construction in April at 11612 N Nebraska Ave. in Tampa. Another "hope operator," Mater Academy, wants to open charter schools around Lithia or Plant City, if approved by the Hillsborough County School Board next week.
  14. In this image from a livestream, members of the Pinellas County School Board listen to parents during a public hearing Tuesday regarding the district's mask rule.
  15. Enfermera preparando una dosisi de la vacuna Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19.
  16. The Hillsborough and Pinellas school districts will offer free COVID-19 vaccines in the coming days and weeks at local high schools.
  17. Students at Lakewood Elementary in St. Petersburg are protected by masks and plexiglass partitions, which were among the protocols used in many local schools over the last 10 months as officials worked to keep coronavirus case counts down.
  18. Marcos Murillo, the chief of middle schools for Hillsborough County Public Schools, says he is hurt by allegations that he mistreated and discriminated against four Black administrators who work for him. "That's not me," he said. "Why?"
  19. Hillsborough County School Board member Jessica Vaughn takes a selfie with Wharton High School graduating senior Jehad Saloum and superintendent Addison Davis at the Florida State Fairgrounds on May 27, 2021.
  20. May 22• The Education Gradebook
    In this image from a Pinellas County Schools video, a cafeteria worker wearing a face coverings serves lunch to an elementary school student. The video was released at the start of the school year to show families how schools would operate during the pandemic. Nine months later, COVID-19 cases in area schools are on the wane.
  21. Opponents to mandatory school masking rules demonstrate before the Hillsborough County School Board meeting on Tuesday.
  22. May 18• The Education Gradebook
    Hillsborough County's Zemenaye Belda Harris was named Florida's Assistant Principal of the Year on May 5, 2021. On May 18, she was named principal of Lopez Elementary School,
  23. La miembro de la Junta Escolar Karen Pérez también habló sobre los problemas planteados en un informe de investigación del Tampa Bay Times de 2018.