901 E Kennedy Blvd
P.O. Box 3408
Tampa, Fl 33601 USA
901 E Kennedy Blvd
Jeff Eakins, Superintendent
“Leadership needs to be from the heart, and when you start with that foundation you can build a stronger structure.”
Jeff Eakins passionately believes in the public educational system of our country and realizes that innovative teaching and classrooms catered to the needs of the students are imperative. Growing up in a family that values education, Jeff knew that he could be a positive influence in this world as a teacher. He has devoted his entire career to the education of children. Motivated by the need for change and recalibrating the status-quo, Jeff evolved as the consummate educator to achieve the privilege of being appointed on July 1, 2015, Superintendent of Hillsborough County Public Schools.
A teacher at heart, Jeff understands the importance of leading through that lens resulting in his guiding philosophy of servant leadership where students and families come first. He works tirelessly to improve the quality of education and maintains that equity, diversity and inclusion must be integrated across the board to provide the right learning conditions where all children can grow to be successful and responsible citizens.
Jeff strongly believes that successful high school graduates begin as well-prepared kindergartners. He has prioritized efforts to increase access to high quality early learning for all children in our community with the goal that all children are kindergarten ready. Jeff continues to lead the community conversation regarding synchronizing our widely scattered early learning programs to maximize their effectiveness. He believes our community’s future potential is determined by how we invest in our youngest children today.
In order to shift the existing paradigm to one of servant leadership, Jeff’s first steps as superintendent involved working with the school board to develop a new vision and Vision, which led to a five-year strategic plan that seeks to increase high school graduation rates to 90% by the year 2020. The plan also strives to sustain a strong foundation of financial stewardship, communication, and foster a culture of trust which builds relationships with all stakeholders
As superintendent, Jeff oversees more than 200,000 students in Pre-Kindergarten through 12th grade. His team is made up of more than 25,000 dedicated people working to support 245 schools – along with four technical colleges and adult programs. Hillsborough County Public Schools is the largest employer in Hillsborough County and the eighth largest school district in the nation.
Under his leadership, the school district has already seen an increase of six percent in graduation rates, the number of National Scholars has nearly doubled, and families have saved 33% more money on college credits through college prep courses. Today, 20 out of 33 magnet schools are nationally recognized for excellence; twelve high schools are ranked among the state and nation’s best; and the district is recognized as one of the country’s best communities for music education.
Jeff has received several awards and recognitions throughout his career, including 1992 Teacher of the Year at Cypress Creek Elementary School, the 2010 Dr. Earl Lennard Outstanding Leader Award for Hillsborough County Public Schools, and also in 2010, the National Association of Federal Education Program Administrators’ Outstanding Leadership Award for the state of Florida. Jeff is the recipient of the 2018 American Heart Association’s national school Administrator of the Year award and he was just notified that he has won the 2019/2020 Excellence in Educational Leadership Award, a nationally recognized award give through the University Council for Educational Administration (UCEA).
Jeff began his career as a fifth grade teacher at North Franklin Elementary School in Columbus, Ohio in 1987. In 1989, Jeff moved to Hillsborough County and taught for two years at Wimauma Elementary School and nearly five years at Cypress Creek Elementary School, where he was named teacher of the year in 1992 and later became principal in 2001. He also served as assistant principal for elementary instruction at Springhead Elementary School.
In 2006, he became director of the school district’s Title I program. He was also promoted to General Director of Federal Programs. In this role, Jeff worked closely with legislators at the state and national level on a variety of issues impacting children and education in Hillsborough County. He also collaborated with the U.S. and Florida Departments of Education on the implementation of several education laws such as No Child Left Behind.
In March 2013, Mr. Eakins was appointed Assistant Superintendent for Performance Management and Community Support. Later that year, he was promoted to Deputy Superintendent for the district. Two years later he was named Acting Superintendent.
He is a graduate of the 2011 Leadership Tampa Class, co-chair of the Leadership Tampa 2015 Education Committee, and serves on the Board of Directors for the Florida Association of Instructional Supervisors and Administrators and the Children’s Board of Hillsborough County.
Jeff earned a Bachelor of Science in Education from Ohio State University and a Master of Science in Educational Leadership from Nova Southeastern University.
Selected positions, awards and recognitions:
- Children’s Board of Hillsborough County
- Junior League of Tampa Community Advisory Board
- National Administrator of the Year 2017 – American Heart Association (2017)
- National Bronze Leadership Award – Junior Achievement of Tampa Bay (2017)
- Recognized by district Federal Programs and Title I Schools: Shining Example of a True Leader
- Discover ‘17 Florida Association of School Administrators (FASA) Key Note Speaker (2017)
- Outstanding Community Partner – United Way (2016)
- IAMBK Educator of the Year Award (2016)
- Florida Council on Social Status of Black Men and Boys (Award ?) for Commitment and Dedication (2016)
- Co-chair Leadership Tampa 2015 Education Committee
- The Economic Club of Tampa Key Note Speaker (2015)
- Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce (Award ?) for the Successful Completion of Leadership Tampa (2011)
- Dr. Earl Lennard Outstanding Leader Award for Hillsborough County Public Schools (2010)
- National Association of Federal Education Program Administrators’ Outstanding Leadership Award for the state of Florida (2010)
- Above and Beyond leadership recognition by Springhead Elementary (1996-2001)
- Teacher of the Year at Cypress Creek Elementary School (1992)