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    Education group leader resigning

    At the helm for almost six years, Pinellas Education Foundation president Frances Neu steps down June 30.

    By KELLY RYAN

    © St. Petersburg Times, published March 6, 2001


    After many sleepless nights, Frances Neu recently made a decision that she said was the most difficult in her life: She is resigning as president of the Pinellas Education Foundation.

    Her resignation is effective June 30. A search committee will select a replacement, preferably before Neu's last day.

    "I can't think of anything I would rather do," Neu said of her foundation job. "If I only just liked my job, it would not have been as difficult."

    The Education Foundation was founded in 1986 as a partnership between public schools and the community. Neu, a Clearwater High School graduate, joined the foundation about nine years ago as vice president after working for the Morton Plant Foundation.

    Neu, 44, became president almost six years ago.

    Family commitments drove Neu's decision to leave what she described as "the best job in the world." She said she wants to spend more time with her 7-year-old son and 12-year-old daughter, both of whom attend Pinellas public schools.

    "I have worked throughout their lives," Neu said. "There's always that balancing act."

    She will continue to be involved with the Education Foundation by serving on the board of directors.

    Neu said she is proud of all 23 education initiatives that the foundation supports. She is especially proud of the Doorways program, which provides more than 2,000 low-income children full tuition scholarships to a four-year college or technical training school.

    During her tenure, Neu oversaw the expansion of Enterprise Village, an economic education center in Largo, to include Finance Park for eighth-graders, an ethics center and communications center.

    Last year, the foundation raised $5-million, with about $200,000 of that going directly to teachers as mini-grants.

    "The big thing she has done is she has greatly increased student scholarships and teacher recognition," said school Superintendent Howard Hinesley. "I hate to see her go."

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