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Former Hillsborough County Schools superintendent dies at 77

Dr. Earl Lennard was a well-known leader in the Bay Area.

TAMPA, Fla. — A prominent member of the Tampa Bay community has died just before Christmas.

Dr. Earl Lennard, former Hillsborough County Superintendent of Schools and Supervisor of Elections, passed away on Dec. 23 after a prolonged illness, the school district confirmed.

After a career as a classroom teacher, Dr. Lennard served as superintendent from 1996–2005.

"His leadership further established Hillsborough County Public Schools as a state and national leader in K-12 education," district spokesperson Tanya Arja wrote in an email. "During his decade at the helm of one of America’s largest school districts, Dr. Lennard managed remarkable growth and oversaw the construction of several dozen new schools."

Then-Gov. Charlie Crist appointed Dr. Lennard to serve as Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections after Phyllis Busansky died in office back in 2009. Lennard also held leadership roles in the Greater Riverview Chamber of Commerce, Boys & Girls Clubs, Hillsborough County Fair and Brandon Community Foundation.

Lennard High School in Ruskin is named after him.

“We are all heartbroken to learn of the passing of Dr. Earl Lennard,” Superintendent Jeff Eakins wrote in a statement. 

“His impact on our school district and community was immeasurable. So many educators and citizens have been positively influenced by his incredible leadership and character. It is incumbent on all of us, who were fortunate enough to know him, to carry on his legacy of honor and respect. We will keep his family in our thoughts and prayers during this very difficult time.”

Funeral arrangements have not yet been announced. 

Dr. Lennard was 77 years old.

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