The debt financing program is managed out of the Business Division.
Jeff Eakins began his career in education as a teacher at North Franklin Elementary School in Columbus, Ohio. In 1989 Mr. Eakins moved to Hillsborough County and spent two years as a teacher at Wimauma Elementary School and nearly five years at Cypress Creek Elementary School. Over the next several years, Mr. Eakins was promoted to various key positions within the district. He first served as an assistant principal for elementary instruction at Springhead Elementary School, then he returned to Cypress Creek Elementary as the school’s principal.
In 2006 he became the director of the district’s Title I program. Later, he was promoted to General Director of Federal Programs. In this role, Mr. Eakins worked closely with legislators at the state and national level on a variety of issues impacting children and education in Hillsborough County. He also collaborated with the U.S. and Florida departments of education on the implementation of several education laws.
Then in March 2013, Mr. Eakins served as Assistant Superintendent for Performance Management and Community Support. Later that year he was promoted to Deputy Superintendent for the district.
Mr. Eakins has received numerous awards and recognition throughout his career including the 1992 Teacher of the Year at Cypress Creek Elementary School, the 2010 Dr. Earl Lennard Outstanding Leader Award for Hillsborough County Public Schools, and also in 2010, the NAFEPA’s Outstanding Leadership Award for the State of Florida. He is a graduate of the 2011 Leadership Tampa Class, co-chair of the Leadership Tampa 2015 Education Committee, and serves on the Board of Directors for the Florida Association of Instructional Supervisors and Administrators.
Mr. Eakins received his Bachelor’s of Science in Education from Ohio State University and a Master of Science in Educational Leadership from Nova Southeastern University. He has been married for more than 28 years to Peggy Eakins.
Gretchen Saunders joined the School District of Hillsborough County in 1996 as the Office Manager of the Payroll Department. From 1997 - 2001, she worked as the Supervisor of Special Projects in the Budget Department. From 2001 - 2003, she served as the Manager of Budget and Cash Management.She served as the General Manager of Budget and Federal Finances from October 6, 2004 through December 31, 2004, and was then named Chief Business Officer for the School District.
Ms. Saunders has held positions as the Assistant Finance Officer for the School District of Hardee County, Wauchula, Florida, from 1994 - 1996. She held the position of Office Manager for the Double C Ranch, Wauchula, Florida, and was an administrative assistant for the Lockheed Martin Fort Worth Company in Ismailia, Egypt, and Financial Analyst for St. Joseph Hospital,Mt. Clemens, Michigan.
She holds a Bachelor of Science in Business from Ferris State University, Big Rapids ,Michigan and a Master of Science degree in Public Administration from Central Michigan University.
She is a past president of the Florida School Finance Officers Association, and currently the association sponsor coordinator. She was elected to membership on the Florida School Finance Council.