Schools Named for Developer and Educator

By Brenda Knowles (

RUSKIN - The SouthShore area has two new schools under construction with opening dates of August, 2004.

Recently the new schools received new names, Thomas P. Corr Elementary School and Beth Shields Middle School

Residents have the opportunity to submit name suggestions to the school board while the schools are under construction. Recently the Hillsborough County School Board voted to honor one of the developers of Apollo Beach by naming the elementary school in King’s Lake subdivision Thomas P. Corr Elementary School.

Corr and his family were the original developers of the waterfront community. He represented the family as managing partner of Frandorson Properties.

Corr died in 1998 but not before he had left his mark on the community in which he lived, worked and played. He supported the community by serving as president of the Apollo Beach Chamber of Commerce, the Ruskin/Apollo Beach Rotary (now known as the SouthShore Rotary) and by founding the Big Bend Area Group and the South Hillsborough County Economic Development Council. He was also a director of the Hillsborough Community Bank.

Friend and fellow Rotarian Ron Knight believes the honor is befitting of Corr’s commitment to the area. "It’s a good thing. It’s a way to remember Tom and the many contributions he made to the Apollo Beach community," said Knight. "It is a great way to honor him."

Examples of his generosity and commitment to Apollo Beach can be seen everyday by residents who drive past the Apollo Beach Elementary School campus, the Apollo Beach Park and the Tampa Sailing Squadron all lands donated by Corr and Frandorson Properties.

Environmentally sensitive lands were also preserved by Corr and eventually purchased by the county. The area known as Wolf Branch Creek is a permanent reminder of Corr’s dedication to the preservation of Apollo Beach’s natural habitat and shoreline.

Corr’s family is still a major player in the development of Florida and Apollo Beach. His son Chris, a developer currently living in Jacksonville, served in the Florida House of Representatives from 1990-1992. Corr’s daughter, Angelique with husband Craig is co-owner of Century 21 Beggins Enterprises.

SouthShore’s newest middle school located on 19th Ave. in Ruskin will bear the name of retired district deputy superintendent Beth Shields. The native Floridian has strong educational ties to the Tampa area as a graduate of Hillsborough High School, a graduate of the University of Tampa and the University of South Florida.

Shields came up through the ranks as a teacher at Memorial Middle School and Plant High School and as assistant principal at Robinson High School and principal of Coleman Middle School and Plant High School before serving as the district’s assistant superintendent for personnel and finally as deputy superintendent. All in all she has served the educational field with more than 44 years of dedicated service.

Students who will be attending this elementary and middle schools will benefit from their school’s namesakes’ commitment to community development and dedication to higher learning. These community leaders have laid the foundation, now it is up to the young students who will walk the halls of Thomas P. Corr Elementary School and Beth Shields Middle School to carry the torch.

Top Photo Courtesy of Corr Family

Bottom Photo by Mitch Traphagen

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