ConnectED Header
December 2018  
Visit us online Donate
In this edition of ConnectED:
  • HCPS Graduation Rates Set a New Record
  • Excellence in Education Awards - Meet Our Finalists!
  • Jeff Eakins - Superintendent of the Year!

  • New Way to Fund Classroom Grants 
  • Support Education with Newly Designed License Plate
  • Tampa Bay Times - School Board Member Tamara Shamburger Reflects on 2018
  • Emergency Relief to Gadsden County
  • Change a Life - Mentor a Student
  • Your Time Can Make A Difference at Achievement Schools
  • HEF Spotlight -  Joe Addison
HCPS Graduation Rates Set a New Record

For the fourth year in a row, graduation rates in Hillsborough County have risenAs partners with the District, we are very proud of the graduation rate now being at  85.8% .

The increase in the graduation rate amounts to an astounding 1,055 more students earning a high school diploma, which highlights the determination of students and the dedication of teachers and staff who work with them every day.
The benchmark goal of Hillsborough County Schools is  to raise graduation rates to 90% by 2020. In support of this, Hillsborough Education Foundation offers a variety of programs focused on ensuring that every student has the opportunity to succeed in the classroom and beyond. 

For example, our Take Stock in Children program offers at-risk students the opportunity to achieve by providing 1 on 1 mentorship, a college success coach, and the promise of a college scholarship upon high school graduation. Additionally, we offer a variety of life skills and career readiness workshops, senior scholarships, funding for school and classroom projects, access to free school supplies and more.
Congratulations to the administration, teachers and students!

Learn more about the new record here.

Excellence In Education Awards 
Meet Our Finalists!

On Dec. 7th , HEF staff & board members, school board members, HCPS leadership and sponsors came together to surprise each of the finalists for Surprise Patrol We are excited to announce the  13 finalists for the  Excellence in Education 2019 Awards! The final contestants for each of the categories are as follows:

Teacher of the Year: Scott Hottenstein, Anne Smith, Dakeyan Graham, Nicole Bates, Jake Van Hise

Ida S. Baker Diversity Educator of the Year: Amalia Santiago, Tamon Williams, Sandra Misciasci, Unique Vernon

Instructional Support Employee of the Year: Le'Jean Miller, Barbara Maxwell, Jordan Harris, Aymee Mejias

                        Teacher of the Year Finalist, Nicole Bates during Surprise Patrol visit

To see the full album of pictures from each of the surprise visits, click here.

Join us in celebrating Excellence in Education on Jan. 24th when we announce the winners of Teacher of the Year, Diversity Educator of the Year and  Instructional Support Employee of the Year

Jeff Eakins - Superintendent of the Year!
From left to right: HEF Board Member, Royce Reed; HCPS Superintendent Jeff Eakins; HEF President, Kim Jowell; HEF Board Member, Bob Graham; CFEF President, Mary Chance

On December 4th, Hillsborough County School superintendent, Jeff Eakins was recognized by the Consortium of Florida Education Foundations (CFEF) as the Star Superintendent of the Year

Based on his unyielding commitment to the success of all students, along with his strong leadership and vision, HEF was proud to nominate him, and thrilled when he was announced the winner for this  12th annual award

Well deserved honor!
New Way to Fund Classroom Grants

We are excited to announce the launch of our new portal for classroom grant funding! This new design lists projects by school name and category, so donors can easily select an area where they would like to make an impact. 

The page hosts a wide variety of projects from literacy & character-development to the arts & STEM-related initiatives. Grants are available for every budget ranging from  $100 - $2,000 per program or project. 

Be sure to check out this page on our website to select one that you would like to support! 

Support Education With Newly 
Designed License Plate 

Animated Video

New tag design, same great cause  - now available for purchase at your local tax collector's offic e!

With each purchase or renewal of one of these Support Education S pecialty  plates, $20 goes directly back to support students and teachers in our community. 

Be sure to get yours HERE!
Tampa Bay Times - School Board Member Tamara Shamburger Reflects on 2018

"...It gives me pride that we are preparing more students for post-secondary education, the military, or for careers enabling our graduates to provide for their families..."

Hillsborough County School Board member and newly elected Board Chair,  Tamara Shamburger shared her reflections on 2018 with the Tampa Bay Times. Covering a number of areas, She expressed her gratitude for the passing of the referendum and excitement for what it means for the teachers and students of Hillsborough County. 

Read the full article here.

Emergency Relief to Gadsden County

After Hurricane Michael passed through the panhandle, the devastating effects were felt in its wake. Schools throughout Gadsden County suffered substantially and Hillsborough Education Foundation was happy to step in and offer support. 

Roger Milton, Gadsden County Schools Superintendent recently expressed his gratitude in a letter to HEF saying, "The devastation of hurricane Michael left Gadsden County facing some challenges that many of our students, their families and our staff are trying to overcome... The school supplies that you donated to our school district for our students have assisted us tremendously during this recovery and relief period." 

Following a natural disaster of that nature, it takes a united state-wide effort to begin the process of recovery. With education as our first priority, HEF is always eager to assist whenever possible, regardless of county lines. 
Change a Life - Mentor a Student

Looking for a way to give back? 
Consider becoming a mentor to an HCPS middle or high school student!

Take Stock in Children pairs at-risk students with caring, responsible adults who will provide emotional support and foster a positive self-image

Click here to view the areas of the county where we need mentors the most. Could be right near your job or home!

Just one hour of your time per week, can make a LIFETIME of difference!

To get matched with a student for the 2018-19 school year, contact Anna Laird  at  or (813)463-4283.

Your Time Can Make A Difference At Achievement Schools

We love our volunteers and we couldn't do it without you!

In addition to the teaching tools store, HEF has joined the school district in support of its focus on the needs of Achievement Schools. As a result, we have a number of volunteer opportunities such as painting, planting gardens and  reading to students, all helping to fill gaps at these schools where resources may not always be readily available. 

To schedule a time  to volunteer at an Achievement School or in the Teaching Tools Store, contact Samantha Gray
(813) 574-0260


Joe Addision  | College Success Coach

Responsibilities include: Working with students in the TSIC program to ensure readiness for life after graduation. 

Time at HEF: One month

Who was your favorite teacher and why?
My 4th grade teacher Ms. Feather. I was not the smartest kid in 4th grade but she took the time and turned me into a student who showed high gains going into the 5th grade. She would stay after school and help me with nay subject I needed help with. She currently still teaches and I make it my goal to visit her every year in her classroom. 

What was your first job?
Fitness Manager at Sports Authority
If you could have a super power, what would it be?
If I had a super power it would be to fly.

What was your most memorable vacation?
Paris! I had so much fun and met a lot of great people. Best part was visiting Normandy Beaches, the food and being able to see the Mona Lisa at the Louvre.