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. Kevin Hendrick, as a finalist for the job of Pinellas Schools Superintendent speaks to the crowd during a meet and greet at Pinellas County School District headquarters on Wednesday, May 11, 2022 in Largo. The School Board voted unanimously on May 17 to give him the job.
  2. The entrance to Pinellas County school district headquarters in Largo, where the School Board will meet on May 17, 2022, to choose a new superintendent.
  3. April Gillyard, photographed in 2019 in the Memorial Middle cafeteria, is returning to the school as principal for the coming year.
  4. Hillsborough County school superintendent Addison Davis says the district will not be able to keep up with salaries in surrounding counties without the help of a special property tax, which voters will consider on Aug. 23.
  5. The Hillsborough County School Board, shown here at a Dec. 14, 2021, meeting, voted on Tuesday, April 19, 2022, to place a special property tax referendum on the August ballot.
  6. East Tampa Academy, a small charter school, holds classes in this community center a short walk from Potter Elementary School.
  7. Andrea Messina, executive director of the Florida School Boards Association, is seen on a screen meeting remotely with the Pinellas County School Board on March 10, 2022. Messina is assisting the district in its search to replace outgoing superintendent Mike Grego. Also shown, from left, are administrative assistant Catherine Houck, deputy superintendent William Corbett, Grego and board member Laura Hine.
  8. Hillsborough County School Superintendent Addison Davis
  9. Hillsborough School Board chairperson Nadia Combs, left, and superintendent Addison Davis, right, are looking for ways to restore state "A-plus" money lost in the battle over school masks.
  10. Adams Middle School in North Tampa is being used at only 46 percent capacity. Other schools in Hillsborough County are overflowing. A consultant will study attendance boundaries and search for ways to improve the balance.
  11. Andrea Messina, executive director of the Florida School Boards Association, is pictured on a screen meeting remotely with Pinellas County school officials on Thursday, March 10, 2022, in Largo. Messina is helping the district search for a successor to superintendent Mike Grego, seated third from left, after he steps down this summer.
  12. Kendall Ker, 18, adds detail to the top of the wall as she joined other students from Berkeley Preparatory School’s National Art Honor Society who partnered with elementary school students at Town ’n’ Country Elementary to create a mural on an exterior wall, that commemorates the pandemic,Tuesday, March 8, 2022 in Town 'n' Country.
  13. A high school freshman leads the final chant of a statewide school walk-out to protest the “don't say gay” legislation on Thursday, March 3, 2022 at Hillsborough High School in Tampa, Fla. The bill, which would limit schools from teaching lessons on gender identity or sexual orientation in kindergarten through third grade, is headed to the state Senate for debate.
  14. Hillsborough County school superintendent Addison Davis announced an overhaul of two under-used district career centers.
  15. A camera livestreams consultant Bill Vogel during a meeting Wednesday at Pinellas Park High to discuss qualifications for Pinellas County's next school superintendent.
  16. Victory K-8 Charter School in Citrus Park was one of five charter schools whose contract was renewed by the Hillsborough County School Board on Tuesday.
  17. Principal Delilah Rabeiro felt honored when then-superintendent Jeff Eakins visited her at Robles Elementary in December 2018. She scored points by learning that Eakins secretly liked jelly donuts and serving them, according to an account in her doctoral dissertation. Three years later, Eakins has left the state, Rabeiro is at another school and Robles Elementary still has a D grade.
  18. A student works at a laptop during class at James Elementary School in Tampa. Hillsborough County school officials say they are working to lift James and other schools out of their status as "persistently low-performing."
  19. A student working on a computer at James Elementary, the only remaining F school in Hillsborough County.
  20. Members of the Hillsborough County Classroom Teachers Association attend a bargaining session with school district officials on Monday, Feb. 14, 2022.
  21. Julie Gebhards, of Lithia, speaks during the public comment portion of the Hillsborough County School Board meeting on Feb. 8, 2022. She says she's pushing to “remove pornography from Florida schools” and complained about a scene in “The Bluest Eye” by Toni Morrison.
  22. Teachers and administrators attend a contract bargaining session between the Hillsborough County school district and the Hillsborough Classroom Teachers Association on Wednesday.
  23. The Hillsborough County school district and state officials were in agreement Wednesday about denying a charter school application, which doesn't happen often.

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