Summer 2019
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In this edition of ConnectED:
  • Hillsborough County has the Florida Teacher of the Year! 
  • Superintendent Eakins Receives a Well-Deserved Award
  • EmpowerED 2019 - Be Sure to Join Us!
  • Take Stock in Children Grads Celebrate Success
  • Help Us Get HCPS Students Ready for Back-To-School!
  • "Smile" on HEF While Shopping with Amazon
  • HEF Spotlight - Allison Greg
  • Support Teachers & Students with an Award-Winning License Plate! 
Hillsborough County has the 
Florida Teacher of the Year! 

Dr. Dakeyan Graham - 2020 Florida Teacher of the Year

On  January 24th , we honored Dr. Dakeyan Graham as the  Hillsborough County Public Schools ' Teacher of the Year during our  Excellence in Education celebration.  On  July 18th , Florida's Education Commissioner, Richard Corcoran announced Dr. Graham as the  Florida Teacher of the Year . We are incredibly proud to say that our Teacher of the Year is also the number one teacher in the state! 

Dr. Graham is a product of Hillsborough County Public Schools who after receiving multiple degrees, returned to his alma matter - King High School to serve as the Director of Instrumental Studies. Dr. Graham stated, "If it weren't for Hillsborough County Public Schools, I wouldn't be where I am today. That education, that foundation that learning, that passion for education, and passion to remain a student of life ALL came from my journey through Hillsborough County." 

Throughout this upcoming year, Dr. Graham is excited for what is to come. "I'm looking forward to this opportunity to really shoulder the responsibilities of being the voice of our profession." 

We are incredibly proud of Dr. Graham and everything that he will continue to accomplish along this amazing journey! 

Superintendent Eakins Receives a 
Well-Deserved Award

Superintendent Eakins is presented with the Excellence in Educational Leadership Award 

On  June 25th , HEF was proud to be in attendance at the Hillsborough County School Board meeting where Superintendent, Jeff Eakins was surprised with the 2019 Excellence in Educational Leadership Award. The award was presented by University of South Florida's Education Dean, Robert Knoeppel who said of Eakins, "What I see when he speaks to the community is true love and passion [for education] ... He models for us kindness and respect." 

As always, HEF is extremely grateful for Eakins' leadership and although we are saddened by the recent announcement that he will be retiring from his role at the end of the next school year, we fully respect his decision and wish him all the best in his future endeavors. 

EmpowerED 2019 - Be Sure to Join Us! 
HEF's 2019 EmpowerED Luncheon presented by Suncoast Credit Union will be held on Wednesday, September 18th at Armature Works. During the program, attendees will hear from a variety of guest speakers who will share, from their perspective, how HEF moves the needle in the field of education each and every day - particularly through initiatives that provide equity, empower teachers and build relationships for the good of our future workforce and community leaders. 

Proceeds from the event will provide continued funding for scholarships, mentoring, classroom and school enrichment grants, free school supplies and more. We hope to see you there! Click here to register. 

Take Stock in Children Grads 
Celebrate Success

Take Stock in Children graduate, Christina Sia and her mother, Christine Sia
In June, we celebrated with our Take Stock in Children graduating class. The University of Tampa graciously hosted the event in addition to providing food and beverages at no cost.   

We are especially excited that collectively, all 104 students were awarded  over $403,ooo in additional scholarship funds! We are very proud of each and every one of them and wish them all the best in their future endeavors!

Special thanks again to The University of Tampa for their outstanding support! 

Click here to see the full photo album. 

Help Us Get HCPS Students
Ready for Back-To-School!

Did you know - 99% of local teachers report that access to free school supplies positively impacted their students' self-esteem? 

It's back-to-school season, and for some students, school supplies might not be in the family budget. While supply-shopping for your child, please consider picking up some additional items for a child in need. Donations can be dropped off at any of the locations below: 

Hillsborough County Tax Collectors Office (Jul. 1st - Aug. 9th)
(All locations)

FOX 13 (Aug. 9th: 7 a.m. - 7 p.m.) 
(3213 W Kennedy Blvd, Tampa, FL, 33609)

Armature Works (Aug. 10th - Aug. 17th) 
(1910 N Ola Ave, Tampa, FL 33602)

Oxford Exchange (Aug. 3rd - Aug. 12th)
(420 W Kennedy Blvd, Tampa, FL, 33606)

Also, if you have not already done so, please consider hosting a supply drive. All supplies donated will be given to students in need and will also help us keep the shelves stocked in our Teaching Tools Resource Center so that teachers with classrooms and students in need can "shop" at no cost to them! 

Learn more about our Supply Drive   here!

Questions? Contact Laura Grucza at:

"Smile" on HEF While
Shopping with Amazon

Who doesn't love to shop online? If you are a regular Amazon customer (or even if you aren't), consider shopping on AmazonSmile. Just visit and type in "Hillsborough Education Foundation" as your non-profit of choice. Once you do, a portion of your purchases will go towards supporting students and teachers right here in Hillsborough County!


Allison Greg  | Executive Assistant to the President

Time at HEF: 12 Months

Who was your favorite teacher and why?
My favorite teacher was my 8th grade science teacher, Mrs. Curtis. She just loved science and it showed in her teaching. She made it fun and exciting to come to her class every day. She was 110% dedicated to her students and to science. 

What was your first job?
My first job was a cashier at Target. 
If you could have a super power, what would it be?
My super power would be to have a "healing touch" so I could help everyone dealing with cancers and other diseases when they feel they have no hope. 

What was your most memorable vacation?
When I was about 6 or 7 my family drove up the east coast stopping at all the historical sites. The stop I remember the most was Kitty Hawk, NC - where the Wright Brothers flew the first plane. 

Support Teachers & Students with an 
Award-Winning License Plate!

Animated Video
It may be summer, but with one of the Support Education Specialty Plates, you can still show your support of Hillsborough County Public Schools' teachers and students! The colorful new design of the plate recently won international recognition and was awarded 2nd place in the Automobile License Plate Collectors Association's international "Best Plate of the Year" competition. The best part is that with each purchase or renewal of one of these colorful specialty plates, $20 goes directly back to support education in our community. Get your award-winning plate here: