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HCPS publishes minutes of School Board meetings after Board approval. Although the online minutes do not include signatures, citizens may arrange to review the official documents by completing a public records request with the Communications Department.

901 E. Kennedy Boulevard, Tampa
Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The School Board of Hillsborough County, Florida, met in regular session Tuesday, November 18, 2014, at 3 p.m., in the School Board Auditorium, 901 East Kennedy Boulevard, Tampa, with Superintendent MaryEllen Elia, and Board Members Doretha W. Edgecomb, April Griffin, Sally Harris, Carol Kurdell, Melissa Snively, Cindy Stuart, and Susan Valdes present. 

Chair Kurdell presided until the reorganization and the chairmanship was turned over to Susan Valdes.

Others present were:

Board Attorney – James Porter
Deputy Superintendents:  Jeff Eakins and Cathy L. Valdes
Assistant Superintendents/Division Chiefs:
      Academic Support and Federal Programs –Larry Sykes 
      Administration – Lewis Brinson
      Business – Gretchen Saunders
      Curriculum and Instruction – Wynne Tye
      Facilities – Chris Farkas
      Governmental Relations – Connie Milito - absent
      Human Resources – Stephanie Woodford
      Information and Technology/Empowering Effective Teachers Grant – Anna Brown
      Student Services – George Gaffney
Communications Officer – Stephen Hegarty
External Communications Manager – Tanya Arja
External Communications Assistant Manager – Kristin Davis
Senior Administrative Secretary (Recording) – Linda Fernandez

News Media Representatives:
      Tampa Bay Times – Marlene Sokol
      Tampa Tribune – Erin Kourkounis

Approximately 175 people were in the audience, including other school district personnel.

Call to Order:  Meeting called to order at 3:14 p.m.  She read a statement regarding the meeting not being live due to an interruption in the cable line.  It will be available on the web and air as replay. 

Moment of Silence and Pledge of Allegiance:  Moment of silence followed by Vice Chair Valdes leading in the Pledge of Allegiance to the United States Flag. 

Reorganization of the Board

Vice Chair Susan Valdes recognized outgoing Chair Carol Kurdell.  She read a resolution into the record and asked for the adoption of commendatory resolution and the resolution is to be part of the official minutes with said page dedicated to Carol W. Kurdell.  Chair Kurdell was presented a copy of the resolution and artwork by Mariano Hernandez, Robinson High School ninth grade student, for her distinguished service as School Board Chair.

Motion by Mrs. Stuart, second by Ms. Edgecomb, to adopt the resolution.  Motion unanimously carried.

Chair Kurdell made brief remarks highlighting the work of the board during her year as chair.  She recognized the Superintendent and her staff for the work that they do daily and thanked them publicly.  She recognized Stacy White, who served a term on the board and is now on the County Commission.

Doretha Edgecomb expressed her thanks for her leadership, contributions, and being a model for our district over this year.

Chair Kurdell introduced Judge Caroline Tesche, who administered the oath of office for Sally Harris, District 2 and April Griffin, District 6.  Judge Chris Nash administered the oath of office for Melissa Snively, District 4. 

Family and friends of newly sworn in board members were recognized.  Ms. Harris introduced her family and friends.  Mrs. Snively thanked Judge Nash, her supporters, and family.  Mrs. Griffin thanked her husband, children, family, friends, and supporters who were present and said she looks forward to working with an all-woman board.

Chair Kurdell introduced Emily Briggs, Mary Hultz, and Valerie Pennypacker who support the board.  She thanked them for all the work they do daily.  She turned the gavel over to Superintendent Elia for the purpose of electing a new chair and vice chair.

Motion by Mrs. Griffin, second by Mrs. Stuart, to nominate Susan Valdes, as Chair of the School Board.  Motion unanimously carried.

Motion by Mrs. Kurdell, second by Mrs. Stuart, to nominate Doretha Edgecomb, as Vice Chair of the School Board.  Motion unanimously carried.

Board recessed at 3:42 p.m. to organize the seating of the newly appointed chair, vice chair, and members of the board.  Meeting reconvened at 3:56 p.m. by Chair S. Valdes.  She thanked the board for their vote of confidence and looks forward to a productive year.  This is the first time the Hillsborough County Public School has had an all-woman leadership team.

Withdrawn Items:  4.05

Adoption of the Agenda:

Motion by Mrs. Stuart, second by Ms. Edgecomb, to adopt the agenda.  Motion unanimously carried.

Board – Roll Call:  Chair S. Valdes declared a quorum with all Board Members present. 

Approval of Minutes

Motion by Mrs. Stuart, second by Mrs. Kurdell, to approve the following:
            September 23, 2014 – workshop (a.m.)
            September 23, 2014 – workshop (p.m.)
            October 28, 2014 – regular meeting
Motion unanimously carried.

Board Guidelines

Vice Chair Edgecomb read the guidelines into the record.

Suspended Agenda


Suspended Agenda

Jeff Eakins highlighted the suspended agenda.

  • (#3) There was a convening of the task force with Glen Gilzean facilitating the group. Focus groups of students, teachers, and administrators have begun to meet.  Information will come to the board in March.
  • (#6) First 20 ESE buses have arrived and three are on the road as of today.  The others are being fitted with the proper equipment and necessary inspections conducted.
  • (#13) Information will be coming out in a future Friday Report.  Resources provided are in-kind and supportive.
  • (#14) Closed caption report update – At the last meeting they tested closed caption in the archive videos.  Closed caption will be provided on the web, online, and TV as well as a monitor in the auditorium.  There is also a tablet available in the auditorium.  We will also have appropriate signage.  Closed caption cannot be on the screen behind the board because of the equipment’s capabilities.

    Mrs. Stuart asked if there is a workshop scheduled to discuss #13.  It is a partnership between the district and the alliance.  She feels that we need to have a workshop with Mrs. Erickson present.

    Ms. Edgecomb wants to be clear that she wants to support people who support our students.  However, she asked if there are other organizations in the district that would come to us and ask for the same kind of support.  She asked for a list of organizations that could potentially come before the board to ask for the same types of support?

    Superintendent Elia clarified that she would wait until after the workshop to provide information.

    Chair S. Valdes said she has sent an email to the board to submit their request for workshop topics.

Teaching and Learning - None


Motion by Ms. Edgecomb, second by Mrs. Stuart, to pull items 01 and 02 for a separate vote.  Motion unanimously carried.


Approve National Education Support Professionals Day Proclamation (Human Resources Division)

Stephanie Woodford highlighted the proclamation.  She introduced Iran Alicea, President, Hillsborough School Employees Federation, Jean Clements, and Stephanie Baxter-Jenkins, President, Hillsborough Classroom Teacher Association.  All were present and Jean Clements addressed both items.

Alexander Montalvo, Sr., School Security

Shiela Mingo, Bus Driver

Martha Pizarro, SNS

Miguel Amaya, Alonso, Night Crew Leader

Crystal Blanco, IEP Assistant

Eric Mack, Teacher Assistant/D. W. Waters/Bus driver

Linda Huei, Assistant Teacher, Rampello Downtown Partnership

Marilyn DuPree, LaVoy Data Processor, Vice President of HSEF

Motion by Ms. Edgecomb, second by Mrs. Snively, to approve Wednesday, November 19, 2014, as National Education Support Professionals Day.  Motion unanimously carried.


Approve American Education Week Proclamation (Human Resources Division)

Stephanie Woodford highlighted the proclamation.  Jean Clements gave a brief history of American Education Week. 

Motion by Mrs. Stuart, second by Ms. Edgecomb, to approve the American Education Week Proclamation.  Motion unanimously carried.

Both presidents invited the board to their celebrations tomorrow taking place on Wednesday, November 19, 2014.

Administrative Appointments - None

Speakers to Agenda Items


Item No.

Linda Tossoonian

General Audience Comments

Aisha Rogers 
(Shanna Harris and LaRonda Watkins)

Wharton High School incident


Mr. Porter said there is an active investigation going on with the Sheriff’s office.  We will report to the board upon completion of the investigation.  This is being treated seriously by both the administration and sheriff’s department.

Josh Burger

Audience Comments

Michael Weston

Audience Comments

Kelly-Ann Riddell

Audience Comments

(Chair Valdes asked Dr. Brinson to speak with the parent.  Dr. Brinson has talked with the parent and has plans in plans and will follow up and keep the board informed.)

Jose Colindres

Audience Comments

Benjamin Harris

Audience Comments

Chair S. Valdes asked that we bring public comment to the forefront of the agenda.  Ms. Edgecomb said she would like speakers who come to speak to us be made aware of the non-response from the board.  This needs to be addressed.  She would like to include it in the narrative regarding the role of the board during audience comments. 

Motion by Ms. Edgecomb, second by Mrs. Stuart, that the wording be included in the announcement prior to either the public comment section or the narrative on how we operate this board.  Motion unanimously carried.

Recommendations and Reports of Superintendent Requiring Board Approval

Motion by Mrs. Snively, second by Mrs. Stuart, to vote on the consent agenda with the following items pulled for discussion.  These items will be voted on all together at the end of discussion.

6.04, 9.02 and 9.03

Motion carried with Mrs. Griffin absent for the vote.


1.00 Curriculum and Instruction Division (Wynne A. Tye)


Request for Authorization to Proceed – None




2.00 Instructional Support (George Gaffney)


Request for Authorization to Proceed – None


Approve Memorandum of Agreement Between Eckerd Youth Alternatives, Inc. and the School Board of Hillsborough County, Florida



3.00 Student Services and Federal Programs Division (Larry Sykes)


Request for Authorization to Proceed – None



4.00 Human Resources Division (Stephanie Woodford)


Request for Authorization to Proceed – None


Approve Personnel List #1030—Instructional


Approve Administrative Appointments/Transfers – appointments effective December 8, 2014, unless otherwise noted.

·         Kimberly Cookcurrently Assistant Principal for Elementary Instruction at Cahoon Elementary School, to the Assistant Principal for Elementary Instruction at Essrig Elementary School

·         Latiecea Hailey-Browncurrently a Teacher at Clair Mel Elementary School, to the Assistant Principal for Elementary Instruction at Mort Elementary School

·         Scottie Bashamcurrently PEER Mentor, to the Assistant Principal for Student Affairs at East Bay High School

·         Christopher Asberrycurrently Behavior Specialist at Sligh Middle School, to the Assistant Principal for Student Affairs at Spoto High School

·         Lourdes Plunkettcurrently District Resource Teacher, Head Start – Federal Grant, to the Coordinator of Assessment and Accountability – Head Start – Federal Grant

·         Paul Woodscurrently Coordinator – TIF Grant, Assessment, to the Senior Systems Analyst-Security and Privacy, Information Services

·         Mark Wilsoncurrently Hillsborough County Court EBS System Support Analyst, to the Senior Security Analyst, Security and Privacy, Information Services

·         Daniel Nishijimacurrently SOHI Systems-Java Programmer, to the Senior Systems Analyst, Webb Applications and Data Analytics, Information Services

·         William Gomezcurrently South University, Senior IT Support Tech Analyst, to the Senior Technology Systems Analyst CISCO, Information Services, effective December 15, 2014


Approve Personnel List #886—Instructional Support


Approve Teachers Considered Out of Field—Subject Area and English Language Learners


Approve Disciplinary Action—Instructional – WITHDRAWN


Approve Disciplinary Action—Instructional Support



5.00 Information and Technology Division (Anna Brown)


Request for Authorization to Proceed – None



6.00 Business Division (Gretchen Saunders)


Request for Authorization to Proceed – None


Authorize Annual Meeting of the Hillsborough School Board Leasing Corporation for Certificates of Participation (COPs) Program (Business Division)

Gretchen Saunders made brief comments and introduced Ritesh Patel, Bond Counsel, Nabors, Giblin and Nickerson.  Mr. Patel explained the process of annually appointing new officers to the Hillsborough School Board Leasing Corp. and per corporation by-laws the board of directors is required to conduct an annual meeting on the same date as the annual school board reorganization meeting.

Chair S. Valdes recessed the regular school board meeting and convened the annual meeting of the School Board Leasing Corp. at 4:57 p.m.

Carol Kurdell, as chair/president of the corporation, explained that the Corporation’s By-laws require the Board of Directors of the Corporation to conduct an Annual Meeting on the same date as the annual School Board Reorganization meeting.  She recommended the appointment of the current members of the School Board as the Board of Directors of the Corporation. 

Motion by Mrs. Snively, second by Ms. Edgecomb, to appoint the current members of the School Board as the Board of Directors of the Corporation.  Motion carried with Mrs. Griffin absent for the vote.

Motion by Mrs. Stuart, second by Ms. Edgecomb, to appoint Susan Valdes, as Chair of the Board of Directors.  Motion unanimously carried.

Motion by Mrs. Stuart, second by Mrs. Snively, to appoint Doretha Edgecomb, as Vice Chair of the Board of Directors.  Motion unanimously carried.

Motion by Ms. Edgecomb, second by Mrs. Stuart, to appoint the following officers:  Susan Valdes - President of the Corporation.  Doretha Edgecomb - Vice President of the Corporation.  MaryEllen Elia – Secretary/Treasurer of the Corporation.  Motion unanimously carried.

The School Board Leasing Corporation Meeting adjourned and the School Board meeting reconvene at 5:01 p.m.


Approve the Subagreement Between The Wallace Foundation and Hillsborough County Public Schools for Services Associated with the Implementation of the Hillsborough Principal Pipeline (Administration Division)


Approve the Agreement for Technical Services with Cross and Joftus, LLC (Administration Division)

Tricia McManus, Director, highlighted the item at the request of Ms. Edgecomb.  Lynn Dougherty-Underwood addressed the board about the trainings.  Alonso High School Reading Coach and Larissa McCoy, Assistant Principal for Curriculum, described the leadership model used in their school.

Ms. Edgecomb made comments and asked David New, Principal of Spoto if he had comments.  Comments by Mrs. Kurdell, Mrs. Snively, and Chair S. Valdes.


Approve the Agreement Between Student Nutrition Services and The Tampa Metropolitan Area YMCA (Academic Support and Federal Programs Division)


Approve Amendment #002 to Contract #HB330 for Categorical Nursing Services Funding with the Florida Department of Health, Hillsborough County (Student Services Division)


Approve Amendment #002 to Contract #HB331 to Full Service Schools with the State of Florida, Department of Health (DOH) (Student Services Division)



7.00 Facilities Division (Chris Farkas)


Request for Authorization to Proceed – None


Approve Interlocal Agreement Between the School Board of Hillsborough County and Hillsborough County to Provide Water and Wastewater Service for the Old Lutz Schoolhouse Adjacent to Lutz Elementary School


Approve Change Order No. Three for Kitchen Renovations at Multiple Sites


Approve Acceptance of Project for Modular School-Based Health Center Clinic at Hunter's Green Elementary School


8.00 Administration Division (Lewis A. Brinson)


Request for Authorization to Proceed – None


Approve the Recommendations for Change of Placement of Regular Students


Approve the Recommendations for Change of Placement of Exceptional Student Education Students


Approve Out-of-County/Out-of-State and Overnight In-County Student Field Trips


Approve Waiver of Rental Fees



9.00 Unclassified


Request for Authorization to Proceed – None


Selection of Florida School Boards Association (FSBA) School Board Legislative Liaison and Alternate

Jeff Eakins, highlighted the item at the request of Mrs. Stuart and Ms. Edgecomb.  

Motion by Ms. Edgecombe, second by Mrs. Kurdell, to nominate Mrs. Stuart as the legislative liaison, and Chair S. Valdes alternate.  Motion unanimously carried.


Approve Request to the Metropolitan Planning Organization to Add a Hillsborough County School Board Member as a Voting Member

Jim Porter, highlighted the item at the request of Mrs. Stuart and Ms. Edgecomb.

Motion by Mrs. Griffin, second by Mrs. Snively, to pull item 9.03 off the agenda for a separate vote.  Motion unanimously carried.

Motion by Mrs. Stuart, second by Mrs. Griffin, to accept item 9.03 as written.  Motion unanimously carried.

Jim Porter said the impact of the motion is to have a letter written for the chair’s signature.  He will work with staff to draft the letter.  He also pointed out that the person appointed will be voting their point of view and not that of the board.

Ms. Edgecomb and Mrs. Snively made comments.


Approve Self-Reporting Response to the Securities Exchange Commission Regarding the Municipalities Continuing Disclosure Cooperation

Motion by Ms. Edgecomb, second by Mrs. Harris, to approve the pulled agenda items.  Motion unanimously carried.

10.00 Information


Request for Authorization to Proceed  - None

Scheduled Hearings on Policies and/or Business Items - None

Other Business and Board Comments

Ms. Edgecomb

  • Expressed her appreciation to the members of the Middleton Journalism Class for the opportunity to be interviewed by them.  She thanked their teacher Roselle Swain.  Shared with the students Senator Arthenia L. Joyner’s success.  She attended Hillsborough County Public Schools, graduated from Middleton High School, and is the first African-American Woman serving as a Senate Democratic Leader.
  • She commended the Strides of Education Walk where Bloomingdale was the major winner.

Mrs. Stuart

  • Thanked Marlene Sokol for her comprehensive article "From Boys to Men” regarding Franklin Middle School.  Encouraged board members to spend some time with John Haley and his students.
  • Reminded everyone that the Great American Teach-in co-sponsored by SERVE in conjunction with the district takes place on Thursday.
  • Thanked district staff for their support who attended the Florida Digital Classroom Initiative at MOSI, November 13, 2014, sponsored by the Tampa Bay Technology Forum.
  • Congratulated the winners of the SERVE Golf Tournament.  United Health Care, Trapnell Elementary School, and Mulrennan Middle School, first, second, and third place respectively.  We had sixteen school teams participate.  She thanked Jeff Jinks from AON who coordinated the event.
  • Asked Chris Farkas to highlight the process on boundary changes and when meetings are to take place.  Chris Farkas said:

    • It is on the front page of our website 
    • Identified a contact telephone number - 272-4608
    • Two parent meeting have been scheduled for the five effected high schools:  Brandon, East Bay, Lennard, Riverview, and Spoto high schools
    • Parent meetings will be held on December 8 at Riverview High School 6 to 7:30 p.m. and December 11, 2014 at East Bay High School from 6 to 7:30 p.m.
    • Students who will be affected will be notified via ParentLinks.  Formal letters will not be sent until we have school board approval and it is expected to go to the board in January.
    • Currently we have done a press release and a ParentLink to the students who will be affected.
    • We are using every means available to communicate.
Mrs. Stuart expressed concern with the timing of the meetings and if they are not well attended to have some alternate dates in January.  
Superintendent Elia asked board members if they receive questions to please send their names and numbers or direct them to the district office so we can make sure so staff can respond.


Motion by Mrs. Stuart, second by Mrs. Griffin, to add to the agenda for the December 9 meeting that the superintendent bring a comprehensive list of secretaries or support staff that work for the directors, general directors, assistant directors, supervisors, general managers and/or coordinators, and assistant superintendents within the district

Mrs. Stuart is requesting a list.  Does not need names, just numbers. 


  • Superintendent Elia asked for clarification:  supervisors, directors, general directors, and assistant superintendents.  Are you looking at direct reports?  Mrs. Stuart gave the example of if an assistant superintendent or general director has three secretaries that work for him to support the position that is what she is looking for.
  • Mrs. Kurdell asked for the rationale.  She is looking to see how much staff supports senior staff.
  • Ms. Edgecomb asked if all of them would be secretaries or would it include all positions. Suggested a flow chart.  Superintendent Elia said we could use an organization chart under each position and list the support staff.
  • Mrs. Griffin does not see why we are having a big discussion to get information.  If we were able to get information in a timely fashion without having to go through these measures it would not even be a discussion.

After discussion the motion was changed to remove coordinators as they do not have clerical support:

Motion by Mrs. Stuart, second by Mrs. Griffin, to add to the agenda of the next regularly scheduled board meeting, December 9, 2014, an information item that the superintendent will supply organizational charts of support staff that fall under the following titles:  Directors, General Directors, Assistant Directors, Supervisors, General Managers, and Assistant Superintendents.  Motion carried six to one with Mrs. Kurdell opposed.

Chair S. Valdes

  • Earlier we talked about moving things around on the agenda.  You will see those changes coming to the next board meeting.
  • She reminded the board that she has sent an email regarding pending topics or information that we have not closed the loop.
  • She is looking for scheduling a retreat in the near future to discuss the strategic plan to see where the focus is of the board.
  • Happy Thanksgiving to all.

Superintendent’s Comments

Points of Information:

  • Regarding the outage that we had with our technology this evening, it is the result of a routine Bright House Maintenance that caused a multitude of problems including broken fiber that affected all government and public access channels.  Our district fiber that carries our board meetings was included in that.  There is not estimated repair for us and they are working in the field to fix the problem.
  • In the board’s discussion of the MPO, I was reminded that Cathy Valdes and I received information that Mr. Rotella from Westshore Alliance will be setting up meetings with the board members to talk about Jefferson High School and our site there.  She has not had any additional meetings with anyone regarding that.  We would appreciate if you could bring the information back to the district.  He indicated that meetings have been scheduled with Mrs. Stuart and Mrs. Kurdell and it is anticipated that all of the board members will be scheduled.
  • Our website now reflects the changes made at this board meeting, including the new board members, the new chair and vice chair.  The official letterhead will go out tomorrow and the official school board photographs for the lobby will be posted as soon as they are available.  A special thank you to all staff members in the board office and the communications office who work quickly to make all the necessary changes to reflect our new school board.

Student Achievement

Congratulations to Ken Hart, Principal at Monroe Middle School.  He recently was honored as a Gold Medallion Winner by the Council for Educational Change.  This award is recognition of his tremendous work at Monroe.  In the last two years under his leadership, Monroe has improved from a D grade to a B grade.  They have successfully started the Student 2 Student program, pairing incoming military students with peers.  He was one of three finalists for the $10,000 Leonard Miller principal Leadership Award and we have been told that the three finalists were so closely ranked they will each receive a $10,000 award.

On Thursday, we are looking forward to another Great American Teach In, where thousands of community members visit our schools to talk about their profession or their life experiences and to stress the importance of receiving a good education.  Many thanks to SERVE for coordinating this effort.

On Wednesday we had a productive Town Hall meeting at the Conference Center on MacDill Air Force Base.  Colonel Dan Tulley and I fielded questions and provided information about the plans for expanding Tinker Elementary School to a K-8.  We addressed many of the improvements we have made at Monroe Middle School under the leadership of Ken Hart.  The most gratifying thing was seeing the warm reception given to the principals who were in attendance:

  • Nancy Mooy, Tinker Elementary School
  • Ken Hart, Monroe Middle School
  • Rebecca Sargable, Lanier Elementary School
  • Johnny Bush, Robinson High School

Clearly these principals are doing what great principals do – building relationships and making a difference for families and for school children.

She announced an upcoming contest that will roll out tomorrow that will encourage our students to learn about influential African American leaders from our community.  The contest challenges students to create an example interpretation expressing how he or she has been inspired by a local African American leader.  The contest is called LEAD (Lead, Empower, Advocate, and Dream) and it will culminate in February during Black History Month.  There will be three categories of prize offerings for:  literature, performance, and visual arts.  The entries will be judged on creativity, originality, and how well the students use artistic vision to portray the theme.

Health and Safety/Human Resources

Reminded everyone that next week is our Thanksgiving Break and students are out of school.  All employees are off and all schools and district offices will be closed.  She wished everyone a safe and Happy Thanksgiving.

Adjournment – with no further business the meeting was adjourned at 5:59 p.m.  (Audio recording on file.)

HCPS publishes minutes of School Board meetings after Board approval. Although the online minutes do not include signatures, citizens may arrange to review the official documents by completing a public records request with the Communications Department.

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