December 2, 2021
A Note from CEO Kim Jowell
This time of year there are so many things to be thankful for. For me, I'm grateful for our team at HEF who has continued to adapt to meet the increasing needs of students and teachers during a pandemic and for our partners like you who have been unwavering in your support of our mission to strengthen public education.
As we wrap up 2021 and you are making your shopping list, we hope you will consider adding the Gift of Education. By giving to HEF this holiday season, you will help provide the school supplies, technology and support our most vulnerable students need for academic and personal success.
Please visit our website to give the best gift you can give, the gift of education.

From our HEF Family to yours, wishing you Happy Holidays!
HEF Honored with Tampa Bay Business Journal's
One Tampa Bay Award
Out of more than 180 nominees, Hillsborough Education Foundation is proud to be one of 33 Tampa Bay nonprofit organizations and corporations honored with this year's One Tampa Bay award by the Tampa Bay Business Journal.

Judges recognized HEF for “financial stewardship and the impact they make with limited staff and diminished volunteerism, especially during the pandemic. Organizations that operate in a lean fashion utilizing best practices for nonprofit management, and ones that channel the bulk of the money they raise into the services they provide, were given weight.”

Advocating for Education:
Legislative Session Begins Next Month
The state legislature kicks off its annual regular session on January 11th. Florida's 60-day session is uniqueone of the shortest in the nation despite being the third largest state. We appreciate lawmakers and Governor DeSantis' support for K-12 education this past year, but know there's more work to be done.

In early January, HEF will join the Consortium of Florida Education Foundations at the state capitol, share our Advocacy Priorities and encourage lawmakers to invest in public education, teachers, early learning and mentoring to ensure all students can benefit from a high-quality public education.

We need everyone to use your voice and urge lawmakers to prioritize state education funding. Florida is ranked 42nd in the country for school spending and equity—to us, that's unacceptable and something we will work to improve in this legislative session for our students, teachers and school district.
Business Leaders Volunteer at 150 Elementary Schools During CEOs in Schools
A HUGE thank you to all the local business leaders who participated in this year’s CEOs in Schools initiative!

Because of their commitment, we were able to match all 150 public elementary schools in Hillsborough County with a Bay area CEO or senior-level exec.

We truly hope this experience provided an opportunity to see the great work that’s happening in our schools, learn more about the challenges facing public education and create relationships that can have a lasting impact on our students, schools and community.
Check out some of the memorable moments shared on social media!

We’re already looking forward to planning next fall's event for the 2022-2023 school year and will let you know the date as soon as it’s been set.
Celebrating Hillsborough County's
Principal and Assistant Principal of the Year
Congratulations to Ryan Moody and Tonya Colston, Hillsborough County Public Schools' Principal of the Year and Assistant Principal of the Year!
Ryan Moody is Principal at Oak Park Elementary and has worked for HCPS for more than 10 years. HEF awarded Moody with $1,000 in recognition of his accomplishments—including improving the school grade from an "F" to "C" in just 2 years during the pandemic.
Tonya Colston is Assistant Principal at McLane Middle School and has been with the district since 2013.
Her reaction? "This is an absolute honor. I am thankful and blessed to be a member of the McLane faculty." She received $500 in Amazon gift cards from HEF.
Watch the excitement unfold as the surprises are revealed!
Teacher Connection:
Supporting Our Teachers' Professional Growth
Every year, we love recognizing the outstanding teachers in our district at our Excellence in Education Awards. Last month, Hillsborough County's current Teacher of the Year, Laura Meehan, worked to bring together more than 70 Teacher of the Year nominees from schools across the district for the first Teacher Connection, a day-long leadership training.
HEF supported the innovative idea to help advance teachers' learning by covering the cost of substitutes so teachers could attend, sponsoring lunch and HEF CEO Kim Jowell participated in a panel discussion about community engagementsharing how teachers can garner support from local business partners and get students engaged in our community.
The professional development left teachers feeling even more inspired for their work and the impact they can continue to make in the classroom and in students' lives.

Pictured (L-R): Teacher of the Year Finalists: Katie Stallings, Samantha Hartman, Sommer SanFilippo and 2021 Teacher of the Year Laura Meehan.
Who will be Named as Finalists for
This Year's Excellence in Education Awards?
This month, HEF will be revealing the 13 finalists for our 2022 Excellence in Education Awards during our annual Surprise Patrol.

Be sure to follow our social media pages to see those exciting announcements and congratulate the outstanding HCPS teachers and staff.

Want to "glow crazy" with us in January and honor our district’s top educators and support personnel? Tickets are on sale now. See you at the Straz!
Join us for WFLA's Kindness Day
Expressing Gratitude is one of HEF's Operational Values. We are so thankful to supporters who have been giving the Gift of Education and are excited to share another opportunity for the community to help students and teachers in Hillsborough County this holiday season.

This year, HEF has been chosen as one of five local charities benefitting from WFLA News Channel 8's KINDNESS DAY!
Stop by WFLA’s parking lot at 200 S. Parker Street in Downtown Tampa on Friday, December 10th from 6 a.m. until 5 p.m. and drop off school supplies to help support HEF and teachers & students in need in Hillsborough County Public Schools. It’s easy… just drive up and donate without even getting out of your car. Give the gift that doesn’t come in a box—kindness!
Our work doesn't happen without the generosity of our donors. That's why we dedicate a section in our monthly newsletter to showcase the individuals and companies making our mission possible.

For this month’s feature, we are celebrating longtime donor Tannia Peeples!
Tannia Peeples' Tampa roots run deep. Born and raised in Ybor City, she attended Hillsborough County Public Schools and graduated from the original Jefferson High School in Tampa Heights.

Her personal connection to HCPS and desire to help deserving students growing up in the same school district as she did, led her to getting involved with HEF.

"I began donating because of the premise of the organization. Because it helps teachers so they don't have to take money out of their own pockets and because it's focused on lower-income schools," Peeples said.
Now retired, Peeples first heard of HEF two decades ago when a co-worker who volunteered at HEF brought Peeples along to see all the impactful work being done. After her initial visit, she realized how strongly she identified with our mission to strengthen public education and empower students to succeed.

"That was it. I've been donating now for 20 years,” said Peeples. “I like to see the progress that's being made year to year."
Peeples echoes HEF’s Core Belief that every student should have access and equity of opportunity to benefit from a high-quality public education, most often donating directly to our Teaching Tools Resource Center, where teachers from Title I schools can shop for free school supplies and classroom resources.

"Kids deserve a credible education," said Peeples. "I believe in supporting charities, specifically those for minority students. I'm full-blooded Hispanic and I think they're underrepresented and under-supported."

Her donations to HEF go a long way to make a difference for students and teachers at the highest needs schools in our community.
We are proud to shine a spotlight on Tannia Peeples
and are grateful for her continued support!