Doretha Edgecomb reflects on her decades in education

ByAlyssa R. Elliott

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HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. — Doretha Edgecomb stepped down from the Hillsborough County Faculty Board a lot more than 5 decades in the past, but she continues to be particularly energetic these days, most prominently in following the developments with the Children’s Board Family Useful resource Centre in Temple Terrace, which was named in her honor in 2020.

“I think that this place truly demonstrates what my full life’s target was — to do excellent for young ones,” she reported even though shelling out time with Spectrum Bay News 9 at the center located on E. Fowler Avenue.

What You Require To Know

  • Doretha Edgecomb worked as an educator in Hillsborough County for many many years
  • She served on the Hillsborough County University Board from 2004-2016
  • The Dorothea Wynn Edgecomb Children’s Board Family members Source Heart in Temple Terrace was named for her in 2020

Edgecomb stated that she wants the facility to give the exact same sort of educational activities that her daughter Allison gained, to every little one who enters the college district.

“It’s seriously about embracing people and encouraging them,” said Edgecomb, who served for more than 5 decades in education in Hillsborough County.

She worked as a looking at trainer, finding out professional, Title I Father or mother involvement coordinator, and principal at Robles Elementary Faculty.

Edgecomb spoke proudly about her five years at Robles, which at the time was labeled a “failing” school.

“It was the major problem of my life, but it was also the most fulfilling,” she stated.

Edgecomb stated that she was capable to modify the climate there by communicating with learners in every class in the faculty — as perfectly as heading door-to-door to communicate with mothers and fathers.

“Our scores went up,” she explained. “We obtained off that checklist, and that was a real testimony to hard get the job done. Getting young ones and teachers to obtain into your aspiration for them.”

Edgecomb, 78, is a Tampa native who grew up in Belmont Heights (which she states now is basically regarded as East Tampa) when it was even now incredibly segregated. She recalled the stark racism that existed when she would see independent water fountains when likely downtown and being mindful of exactly where Blacks could and could not try to eat in certain establishments.

Nonetheless, she was brief to observe that she was surrounded by persons who made available a amount of protection to all of the “harshness” that existed.

“I termed it ‘the village,’” she said. “Outside of that there was this severe entire world, but in the community, you did not feel that.” 

As significantly as the strides race relations have, or have not, manufactured in her time, Edgecomb reported that the nation need to not just be, now in 2022, celebrating the simple fact that the 1st Black feminine lady — Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson — will possible be verified quickly to the U.S. Supreme Courtroom.

“We’re nevertheless talking about achievements as the to start with group for men and women that have been right here for ages, and we’re nevertheless not accomplishing like we need to and could,” she mentioned.

When asked if she sees progress because the times when she was associated in the civil legal rights motion whilst attending university in Alabama in the early 1960s, Edgecomb explained that she feels Florida, and the state as a whole, are in some ways going backwards.

She pointed exclusively to lately passed election reform bills in Tallahassee that critics say will prohibit voter accessibility.

“I’m not also optimistic,” she explained.

A previous member of the Hillsborough County University District for 12 decades, from 2004-2016, she has observed the powerful battles that have taken area in university board meetings more than the earlier couple of decades all through the coronavirus pandemic.

Some of the vitriol that has been expressed by mothers and fathers and other members of the public at people conferences to board members is “unbelievable,” she claimed.

“Everybody’s talking about personalized rights, and they do not see that their personalized legal rights really don’t infringe upon and ruin the very good of the full place,” she reported.

Edgecomb said there was apparent stress on the faculty board through her last term. That was when she was on the shedding side of a vote to make your mind up the potential of then-Superintendent MaryEllen Elia back again in Jan. 2015.

In the slide of 2015, the similar 4 board users who ousted Elia came back again and denied Edgecomb the purpose of chair. That was considered a rebuke, given that Edgecomb was serving as vice chair, and as the Tampa Bay Situations noted, the board had rotated the place of chair, giving it to the prior year’s vice chair, for far more than 20 several years.  

Edgecomb said she was “shocked by the behavior” of her colleagues, but realized that the final decision was out of her hands.

“So you just choose it,” she claimed. “Grow from it, practice your resiliency.”

She included that she believes the controversies negatively influenced her mom, who was 100 at the time and died in March 2016.

“We talked about it a minimal little bit, and I assume that she was additional concerned about how I was reacting to it,” Edgecomb explained. “But I believe that it influenced her in some strategies, certainly.”

Edgecomb continues to be firmly rooted in performing to enhance things proper now and not dwelling on the past. She lately appeared as a guest on the “Greatest Supporter Friday” version of The Right now Demonstrate and was awarded a $500 reward certification to Barnes & Noble, which she intends to use in portion to stock up the library at the Useful resource Middle named soon after her.

And she claimed that even though she’s honored and humbled by all of the accolades that have come her way in modern several years, she never expected it.

“When I feel about it, very little I’ve ever completed I did with some expectation that I was going to be acknowledged or that something was going to be named soon after me,” she mentioned. “You communicate about anticipating it? Certainly not.”