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Times hosts second Spotlight Tampa Bay event, with focus on education

The January forum at Tampa Theatre will examine the state of Florida’s public schools.
 
The next Spotlight Tampa Bay panel will feature, from left: teacher union president Andrew Spar, education advocates Erika Donalds and Goliath Davis and school district administrator Monica Verra-Tirado. The group will participate in a discussion about the future of Florida public schools during a Jan. 30 event at the Tampa Theatre.
The next Spotlight Tampa Bay panel will feature, from left: teacher union president Andrew Spar, education advocates Erika Donalds and Goliath Davis and school district administrator Monica Verra-Tirado. The group will participate in a discussion about the future of Florida public schools during a Jan. 30 event at the Tampa Theatre. [ Courtesy of the panelists ]
Published Nov. 30, 2023|Updated Dec. 1, 2023

Students and thought leaders on education take the stage on Jan. 30 at the Tampa Theatre for the second in a series of community conversations hosted by the Tampa Bay Times.

The upcoming installment of Spotlight Tampa Bay is titled “Conflicts, Challenges & Culture Wars in Florida’s Classrooms.” It explores vital issues facing students, parents and educators, including teacher shortages, book challenges, charter and state-assisted private schools and new state laws restricting what schools can say about race and gender.

The event begins at 5 p.m. with registration and a social hour. Two panel discussions will be held from 6 to 7:30 p.m., followed by questions from the audience until 8 p.m.

The first panel features Goliath Davis, a former St. Petersburg deputy mayor, police chief and advocate for education in Pinellas County; Erika Donalds, an education entrepreneur and a former Collier County School Board member who advises organizations, including Moms For Liberty; Andrew Spar, president of the Florida Education Association; and Monica Verra-Tirado, a program coordinator for Pasco County Schools and the former chief of diversity, equity and inclusion for Hillsborough County Public Schools.

The second panel is composed of high school students from public schools in Hillsborough, Pinellas and Pasco counties.

Times education reporters Jeffrey Solochek and Marlene Sokol will moderate the discussions.

Tickets are $20, or $10 for students with IDs. Proceeds will support the Tampa Bay Times Journalism Fund. If you’d like to purchase tickets, click here.

The Tampa Theatre is at 711 N. Franklin St. in downtown Tampa.

The Times hosted the inaugural Spotlight Tampa Bay event on Aug. 16 at The Palladium in St. Petersburg, where Times journalists and a panel of experts discussed housing issues in Tampa Bay.