Steve Christopoulos, the CEO of one of the largest charter school operators in the Tampa Bay area, died Wednesday in Costa Rica.
The 59-year-old was vacationing there with his three daughters, according to the company. Christopoulos was the CEO and president of Superior Schools, which over the past 13 years has opened nine Plato Academy charter schools in Pinellas, Pasco and Hillsborough counties.
Tarpon Springs Mayor Chris Alahouzos said he was told his friend drowned while swimming.
"He was a pillar of our community," said Alahouzos, who sits on the Plato Academy board. "He was always involved in the Greek community in Tarpon Springs."
The Tampa Bay Times reported last year that Plato Academy schools had a wait list of over 5,000 and had earned "A" ratings. The schools are known for teaching Greek from pre-kindergarten to eighth grade. Alahouzos said Christopoulos was the engineer behind the schools' success.
"He's going to be missed," the mayor said. "He was a very good friend of mine and also a very good person to work with."
Superior Schools spokesperson Vasia Kallimahou said the company's staff is devastated.
"Our priority is to bring him back home to his loved ones and arrange for his funeral," Kallimahou said in an email to the Times.
Contact Justin Trombly at email@example.com. Follow @JustinTrombly.