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Superintendent Eakins sets the bar for school and district leaders

District sparks excitement and inspiration among leaders at annual back to school meeting

July 30, 2015 - Points of Pride

The district’s annual Joint Principals and Supervisors Institute kicked off Wednesday morning at Freedom High School. With an engaging cast of speakers including district personnel, community partners, keynote speakers, and Superintendent Jeff Eakins, the event generated a renewed sense of motivation and enthusiasm going into the new school year!

Deputy Superintendent Van Ayres kicked off the morning with an upbeat introduction, while Freedom’s Senior Class President Dean Lagattuta starred as the honorary Master of Ceremonies. Several community partners in education addressed the crowd with thought provoking and passionate statements of support to the district. A memorable moment unfolded between Superintendent Eakins and 2015 Florida Teacher of the Year, Diane McKee when she presented him with a special gift. A red bar, similar to the one she hangs from the ceiling at the entrance to her classroom door. Throughout the year, the rope is shortened to raise the bar, challenging students to reach their highest potential. Mr. Eakins gladly accepted the challenge to set the bar for school and district leaders!

Mr. Eakins’ message resonated with the crowd as he explained the need to look at leadership through the lens of a “growth mind-set” approach. He also expressed the importance of building great culture and what it looks like. Eakins ended his presentation with a meaningful video of the district’s 2015 graduation ceremony highlights. “We must ensure all students are not just prepared for graduation, but for the day after graduation,” stated Eakins.


Attendees participated in an afternoon of professional development opportunities as part of the Principal Institute. Engaging topics were presented on servant leadership, graduation data, and human capital management practices. The day's events and highlights were all shared on Twitter as participants were encouraged to join the conversation using the hashtag #HCPSB2S. Attendees embraced the concept of sharing their experiences on social media, positioning #HCPSB2S as the third most tweeted hashtag in the Tampa area for the day. This event proved to be an inspirational experience that leaders can build from as they prepare for the new school year.

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