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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. On social media over the weekend, Hillsborough County School Board member Jessica Vaughn expressed a desire to fire district superintendent Addison Davis.
  2. Apr. 17• The Education Gradebook
    Hudson High in Pasco County reported 12 coronavirus cases this week, an unusually high number for a school that has been averaging three or four a month.
  3. Third-grade teacher Angel Loux, left, talks with art teacher Lashonda Wilburn at Hillsborough County school district headquarters Tuesday, where parents and teachers complained to the School Board about budget cuts that will eliminate about 1,000 jobs in the district. Loux and Wilburn teach at Lomax Magnet Elementary School in Tampa. Wilburn was told she is losing her job at the end of the year.
  4. Dakeyan "Dre" Graham was a music educator and Florida teacher of the year when he worked for the Hillsborough County school district. Now he leads the Independent Education & Parental Choice office for the Florida Department of Education.
  5. Parents, teachers and students from Hillsborough County schools came together to protest budget cuts for arts programs before a School Board meeting in September. Their advocacy helped convince district leaders to lessen the blow of staffing cuts in the fall. Some hope they can accomplish the same objective in the spring as the district shrinks its 2021-22 workforce by 1,000 positions.
  6. Apr. 10• The Education Gradebook
    Gaither High School in Hillsborough County reported 12 cases of coronavirus in the week ending April 9.
  7. Course offerings, class schedules and careers will be impacted as the Hillsborough County school system prepares to cut its workforce by about 1,000 positions.
  8. Apr. 3• The Education Gradebook
    Steinbrenner High is the busiest school in the Tampa Bay area for confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 19 in a week that ended early due to Good Friday.
  9. Apr. 1• The Education Gradebook
    Hillsborough County Public Schools Chief Finance Officer Romaneir Johnson
  10. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announces his proposal to give $1000 bonuses to school principals and teachers in Florida during a news conference Wednesday at Palm Harbor University High School.
  11. Mar. 27• The Education Gradebook
    Alonso High teacher Hiedi Glick demonstrated a face shield during a Hillsborough County School Board meeting before the start of the school year. Since Aug. 31, Alonso has reported 110 coronavirus cases; 93 of them were students.
  12. En esta imagen de una transmisión en vivo de las Escuelas Públicas del Condado de Hillsborough, el superintendente adjunto Michael Kemp analiza las opciones presupuestarias con los miembros de la Junta Escolar.
  13. In this image from a Hillsborough County Public Schools livestream, deputy superintendent Michael Kemp discusses budget options with School Board members. Kemp has warned board members in recent months that the district needs to end the practice of transferring money from capital accounts to make the operating budget appear balanced.
  14. Mar. 13• The Education Gradebook
    A classroom scene at east Hillsborough's Dowdell Middle School, posted on the school Twitter site in November. The school has reported 23 COVID-19 cases so far in March, boosting its year-to-date total to 42.
  15. Miami-Dade Public Schools superintendent Alberto Carvalho addresses members of the Hillsborough County School Board in Tampa on Friday.
  16. Graduates line up to take the field during one of several outdoor graduation ceremonies in 2020, held by Pinellas County Schools during an ongoing pandemic. Tarpon Springs High School Students and their families were required to wear masks as they walked toward a stage at the Spectrum Field in Clearwater.
  17. Turkey Creek Middle School has a new principal: Donald Peek, formerly of Bloomingdale High School.
  18. Melissa Erickson, executive director of the grass-roots Alliance for Public Schools.
  19. Terry Connor is deputy superintendent and chief academic officer for the Hillsborough County Public Schools.
  20. Mar. 6• The Education Gradebook
    Connecticut kindergarten school teacher Christina Kibby received the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine from pharmacist Madeline Acquilano, left, at Hartford Hospital in Hartford on Wednesday. Throughout the week in Florida, there frequent changes in the availability of vaccines for teachers of all ages. At week's end, teachers were being encouraged to make their appointments at both state and federally run sites.
  21. Hillsborough County School Board Chairwoman Lynn Gray, standing, addresses the rest of the board at a retreat Wednesday in Plant City.
  22. Shown with son Zachariah Kapadia and husband Nilesh Kapadia when she was sworn in on the Hillsborough County School Board in November, Jessica Vaughn is now pushing back against a defensive email from deputy superintendent Michael Kemp.
  23. Feb. 27• The Education Gradebook
    Marissa Hernandez, 11, holds onto her mask while speaking to a reporter outside Burnett Middle School in Seffner last August.