Argosy University Newsroom
Argosy University Newsroom

Press Release

Argosy University, Tampa Honors Educators at Night of Excellence Event on December 4, 2012

TAMPA, FL (Nov. 26, 2012) - Argosy University, Tampa will celebrate education in Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Polk, Hernando, and Manatee counties with its inaugural Night of Excellence awards. The event will take place Tuesday, December 4, 2012 at 7 pm at Argosy University, Tampa, located at 1403 N Howard Ave., Tampa, Florida 33607. During the event, the university will recognize Mary Ellen Elia, Superintendent of Hillsborough County Public Schools, with an honorary doctoral degree for her leadership in education.

“We are proud to honor Mary Ellen Elia for her commitment to education,” says Argosy University, Tampa president, Daniel Richins. “Our goal as a university is to develop professional competence, provide opportunity for personal growth, and foster interpersonal effectiveness with our students. We feel no one represents that goal better than Ms. Elia who serves as a distinguished, dedicated, innovative educational leader.”

Following the event, master’s and doctoral degree candidates from Argosy University, Tampa will present their research on topics such as English language learners, character education, leadership and bullying.  

Mary Ellen Elia was appointed Superintendent of Hillsborough County Public Schools on July 1, 2005. Under her leadership, district schools have successively earned more A and B grades each year of her tenure as superintendent. The district also earned its first overall A grade from the state of Florida for student achievement after her first year as superintendent, and has earned two more since then.

Elia, a lifelong educator, began her career as a social studies teacher in the state of New York in 1970. In 1986, she relocated to the Tampa Bay area after accepting a position at Plant High School as a reading resource specialist. She was promoted to several key positions in the district over the next 20 years.

She was the district's first magnet schools supervisor. She was promoted in 1997 to the director of non-traditional programs where she managed all magnet schools, as well alternative schools and drop-out prevention programs. Elia was appointed general director of secondary education in 2002.

In 2003, she became the district's chief facilities officer. In this role, she provided oversight of all new construction and was responsible for the maintenance and operation of more than 200 existing schools and educational facilities. She remained in this position until her appointment as superintendent in 2005.

In 2011, she received the College Board's District of the Year Beacon Award and was recognized with the Florida Department of Education's Data Leader of the Year award for leading the way in using education data to drive student improvement. In 2010, she received the Inaugural Governor's Business Partnership Award presented by Governor-Elect Rick Scott and the Florida Council of 100; the Women of Distinction award from the local chapter of the American Association of University Women; CEO of the Year from the Florida Supplier Development Council; the University of South Florida-Anchin Center Exemplary Leadership in Education award; and the Network of Executive Women 2010 Executive Woman of the Year award.

In 2009, Superintendent Elia received The College Board's Outstanding Leadership award. She received the Florida Association of District School Superintendents' Superintendent's Award for Volunteer/Community Service in 2008/2009 and 2006/2007. In 2008, Mrs. Elia was named the Dr. Carlo Rodriguez Champion of School Choice by the State Board of Education. She was named Florida's Superintendent of the Year by the Consortium of Florida Education Foundations in 2007.

Ms. Elia holds a bachelor’s degree from Daeman College; a master’s degree in education from the University of Buffalo, a Master of Professional Studies in Reading from State University of New York at Buffalo, and certification in educational leadership.

About Argosy University
Argosy University (, with 28 campus locations in 13 states and its online program, is a private academic institution dedicated to providing undergraduate and graduate degree programs to students in a supportive learning environment where academic knowledge is enriched by the acquisition of interpersonal skills vital to success.  Argosy University has seven colleges: Psychology and Behavioral Sciences, Business, Education, Health Sciences, Undergraduate Studies, The Art Institute of California Institutes and Western State College of Law.  With one of the largest communities of graduate students in the nation, Argosy University offers doctoral and master’s degree programs in Psychology, Business, Counseling and Education.  The institution also offers bachelor’s degree programs in Psychology, Business, Liberal Arts and Criminal Justice and, through The Art Institute of California Institutes, serves as an important source of education for design, media arts, fashion and culinary arts students and professionals.  Degree level and programs offered vary by location. Full and part-time law programs are offered through Western State College of Law. Argosy University is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (985 Atlantic Avenue, Suite 100, Alameda, California, 94501, Licensed by the Florida Commission for Independent Education, License No. 2610. See for program duration, tuition, fees, and other costs, median debt, federal salary data, alumni success, and other important info.

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