Thomas C. Tobin - Editor, Education and Clearwater

Editor, Education and Clearwater

I lead a talented team of journalists covering a diverse range of topics including education, religion, local nonprofits and the city of Clearwater. When I arrived in Tampa Bay in the mid-1980s from my hometown of St. Louis, Florida was just coming into its own as the economic, political and cultural powerhouse it is today. Since then I've covered local and state government, election issues, education and more. As the Times’ state reporter for two years, I got a chance to travel to a different corner of Florida every week. For a time, I delved into the world of Scientology. It’s been amazing to see our state and our region grow. I love to hear from readers. Give me a shout any time.

  1. Students cross Fishhawk Boulevard to Newsome High in Lithia in October 2020. This week, Newsome reported 104 cases of COVID-19 among students and staff as Tampa Bay area schools saw their highest weekly case count since the pandemic began.
  2. Weekend store hours were changed with Christmas 2021 falling on a Saturday. Some retailers were open most of the day Friday and planned to reopen as normal on Sunday.
  3. The Center for Innovation & Digital Learning at Gulf Beaches Elementary is one of 81 choice programs offered by Pinellas County Schools for the 2022-23 academic year.
  4. Dozens of Tampa Bay area seniors on their way to graduation this spring have been named National Merit Semifinalists for 2022. Many will become finalists later this school year and will qualify for college scholarships through the National Merit Scholarship program.
  5. Children arrive at Clearwater's Skycrest Elementary on Aug. 11, the first day of the 2021-22 school year in Pinellas County.
  6. Jeremiah Marbrey, 12, (right) arrives along with other students at Bay Point Middle School for the first day of school for Pinellas County students, Wednesday, August 11, 2021 in St. Petersburg.
  7. Sunlake High School seniors congregate on the school’s football field for Senior Sunrise and Last First Day activities during the first day of school for Pasco County Students on Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2021, in Land O’ Lakes.
  8. Pinellas School Board chairperson Carol Cook presides over a recent meeting. Monday's board meeting on the topic of masks will not be livestreamed.
  9. Crossing guard Sonia Rodriguez, 69, of Clearwater stops traffic as vehicles pass along Drew Street in Clearwater. Guards spend four hours for their certifications, three hours classroom and one hour of practical training. Pinellas County Schools’ students return to classes on Wednesday.
  10. Aug. 6, 2021• The Education Gradebook
    Florida's 2021 back-to-school sales tax holiday began on July 31 and ends Aug. 9. The last time the holiday lasted 10 days was in 2015.
  11. Jul. 30, 2021• The Education Gradebook
    Teacher Jen Bryant, top left, works with students in Pinellas County's Rising K summer program, which worked to prepare incoming kindergarten students for the 2021-22 school year, starting Aug. 11.
  12. Jul. 30, 2021• The Education Gradebook
    A Hernando County school bus is ready to make its daily routes.
  13. Jul. 30, 2021• The Education Gradebook
    Students from Moton Elementary School in Brooksville wave from their bus.
  14. Sarah Ann Painter, a fifth-grade teacher at Eisenhower Elementary in Clearwater, accepts the Florida Teacher of the Year award Thursday, July 22, 2021 at the Rosen Shingle Creek Hotel in Orlando. The award is given out each year by the Florida Department of Education.
  15. John Pack, 52, fishes from the Dunedin Causeway following Tropical Storm Elsa Wednesday.
  16. Students at Hernando County's Springstead High head into the school's stadium for a graduation ceremony during pre-pandemic times. This year's ceremony will be on June 19, one of several to be held in the county over the next few days.
  17. Students at Academy at the Lakes prepare for their graduation ceremony in 2019. The Pasco County school held its 2021 commencement on May 15.
  18. A student from the Northside Christian Class of 2013 waits to enter a commencement ceremony at Starkey Road Baptist Church in Seminole. Northside's Class of 2021 graduated May 28 in a ceremony at Suncoast Cathedral in St. Petersburg.
  19. After moving outdoors in 2020 because of the pandemic, most of the 2021 commencement ceremonies for Pinellas County public schools will return to Tropicana Field. Seen here is the Northeast HIgh class of 2018 waiting to ascend to the stage before getting their diplomas.
  20. Hillsborough County private schools join other schools in celebrating the 2021 graduation season.
  21. Newsome High graduates are seen just after a 2016 commencement at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa. This year at the fairgrounds, guests and graduates at all commencement ceremonies for Hillsborough schools will be socially distanced and must wear masks. Each graduate will be allowed two guests.
  22. Tyler Rorah, 18, of Brooksville, receives a Moderna COVID‑19 vaccine shot from LPN Sonia Woods, right, while receiving his CDC (issued) Covid 10 Vaccination Card during his vaccination appointment on Monday, April 5, 2021, at Saint Leo University, which is serving as the host for the Florida Department of Health’s COVID-19 vaccine distribution for East Pasco County.

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  23. People arrive for their vaccination appointments on Monday, March 29, 2021, at Pinellas County’s COVID-19 vaccine site, 1197 E Bay Drive in Largo. The site, which opened in February, is the county’s largest COVID-19 vaccine site.