About Us

  • The HEAT Program of Pinellas County Schools provides educational and social work services to children, youth and families in transition (homeless). Below is contact information and a brief description of how the team serves the children, youth and families of Pinellas County.

    We invite you to send your inquiries, comments and suggestions to:

    Pinellas County Schools
    HEAT Program 

    3815 43rd St. N

    St. Petersburg, FL 33714

    Office: 727-507-4766  

    HEAT Program Staff:

    Homeless Liaison
    The  Homeless Liaison plans and coordinates the development and implementation of services for children, youth and families in transition within the district. The Liaison ensures that every homeless student (PreK-12) receives services provided under the McKinney-Vento Act.

    Duties as the liaison include ensuring:
    • Children and youths experiencing homelessness are identified by school personnel and through coordination activities with other stakeholders and agencies.
    • Children and youths experiencing homelessness enroll in, and have a full and equal opportunity to succeed in, schools in our district
    • Families, children, and youths experiencing homelessness receive educational services for which such families, children, and youths are eligible, including Head Start programs, access to academic and extracurricular activities administered by the local educational agency, and referrals to health care services, dental services, mental health services, and other appropriate services.
    • The parents and guardians of children and youths experiencing homelessness are informed of the educational and related opportunities available to their children and are provided with meaningful opportunities to participate in the education of their children.
    • Public notice of the educational rights of children and youths experiencing homelessness  disseminated where such children and youth receive services under this Act, such as schools, family shelters, and food pantries;
    • Enrollment disputes are mediated in accordance with the McKinney-Vento Act; and
    • The parent or guardian of children and youths experiencing homelessness, is fully informed of all transportation services, including transportation to the school of origin (the school the student attended when permanently housed or the school in which the child or youth as last enrolled including preschool).

    HEAT Program Administrator: 

    Lisa M. DePaolo  LCSW, Ed.S, Managing Officer of Prevention

    Email: depaolol@pcsb.org

    Donna Sicilian   LCSW, Ed.S, Executive Director, Student Services

    Email: siciliand@pcsb.org

    Homeless Liaison:

    Erika Gist
    Email: giste@pcsb.org
    Program Administrative Assistant

    The Program Administrative Assistant is responsible for assisting with the day to day administrative needs of the HEAT team.

    Administrative Assistant:

    Brenda Johnson
    Email: johnsonbre@pcsb.org
    Program Monitor

    The Title IX, Part A Grant Program Monitor collects homeless data and assists with state reports. She provides support and community referrals to families and children in Pinellas County Schools, including Charter Schools.

    Grant Program Monitor:

    Erika Gist
    Email: giste@pcsb.org
    Resource Teachers and Social Workers

    The Resource Teacher and Social Worker assist with the educational, social, and family needs of homeless children and youth by coordinating communication and services among schools, communities, and families.  HEAT team members serve as a liaison with various community agencies to expand services for homeless families and students in Pinellas County Schools.

    Social Workers:

    Erin Copeland 
    Email: copelande@pcsb.org  

    Joanne Mercier
    Email: mercierj@pcsb.org


    State Coordinator:

    The State Coordinator provides technical assistance to LEA's in coordination with the local liaison to ensure that LEA's comply with the requirements of the McKinney-Vento Act.

    Courtney Walker, State Coordinator
    Email: bfep@fldoe.org   
    Office: 850-245-0479

    District Director of Special Projects

    The Special Projects Director oversees all grants for federal, state and other funding sources for the district including the Title IX, Part A - Homeless Children and Youth Project. The Special Projects Office assists school and departments in applying for and managing these grants.

    Coral Marsh, Director, Federal Programs
    Email: marshco@pcsb.org