advocating for your child

Advocating for your Child: Tips from Hillsborough County Public Schools

As parents, we are the number one advocate for our children when it comes to their educational journey. Ensuring that your child has all the resources and support they need to be successful is our top priority as well in Hillsborough County Public Schools (HCPS).

In a large district like HCPS, it may be difficult for parents to know where to turn when a question or challenge arises, but there is an easy path to follow advocating for your child.

Colleen Faucett, HCPS region superintendent, says your child’s teacher should always be the first point of contact. “If your child is struggling in the classroom setting, the teacher is the best first person to assist in solving the problem,” says Faucett. “From clarity of the issue to developing next steps at the resolution, the professional in the classroom is equipped and ready.”

On the rare instance your child’s classroom teacher can’t assist with the issue, your next best course of action is the assistant principal or guidance counselor.

“As a parent, we want our concerns to be addressed and resolved as soon as possible,” explains Faucett. “APs and guidance counselors work directly with students on a daily basis. Parents who request to meet with the principal first may often have a delayed resolution. Certainly, if resolution by the guidance counselor or AP is not found, the next step is to meet in person with the principal.”

Okay, so you’ve gone to the teacher, the AP, and the principal, and you’re still not satisfied.

Now it’s time to reach out to a region superintendent, like Faucett.

“One of my roles as a region superintendent is to assist parents and community members with concerns they have at a specific school site. Often in talking with a parent, I am surprised when they share that they have not met or even talked to the principal. However, if they have met with the principal without resolution, parents are encouraged to call the district office.”

The last point of contact would be the chief of schools. Hillsborough County’s chief of schools is Susan Burkett. Contacting Burkett, who oversees more than 200 schools, really should be the last resort.

“While parents are always welcome to reach out to the chief of schools, there are multiple levels of employees in between the classroom teacher and chief of schools that are in place specifically to resolve concerns,” Faucett explains.

advocating for your child

Following this simple path can help parents find a solution. 

  • Teacher
  • Assistant principal/guidance counselor
  • Principal
  • Region superintendent
  • Chief of schools

It’s always tempting to go straight to the top, especially where your child is concerned. However, by following the correct chain of command, your concern will likely get resolved much more quickly and easily than skipping the process that’s put in place to help.

Who is your child’s region superintendent? Visit to find out.

Feature Image: Left to right: Dunbar Elementary Magnet School Principal, Cynthia Crim, 5th Grade English Language Arts Teacher, Julianna Orr, and Assistant Principal, Alexandra Quintyne.

Photo credit: Hillsborough County Public Schools | Originally published in the August 2023 issue of Tampa Bay Parenting Magazine.