Maribeth Brooks (center), the inaugural principal of Barrington Middle School in Lithia, moments after the Hillsborough County School Board voted on April 19 to name the school’s gymnasium in her honor. (Photo courtesy of Hillsborough County Public Schools.)

By Linda Chion

The gymnasium at Barrington Middle School in Lithia is set to bear the name of Maribeth Brooks, the principal who opened the school for its inaugural school year in August 2009.

At the Hillsborough County School Board meeting on April 19, board members unanimously approved the naming of the gymnasium in honor of Brooks, who Addison Davis, superintendent of schools, recognized for her “30 years of commitment in Hillsborough education.”

“She is best known for her hard work, her dedication to students and her work ethic,” Davis said. “She was a teacher, an assistant principal, a principal, a deputy director and also an area superintendent. She is beloved in this community.”

School board member Henry ‘Shake’ Washington, whose 42 years in the Hillsborough school system include roles as classroom teacher, coach, assistant principal and principal, said he also worked as an area superintendent and enjoyed his time working alongside Brooks.

“So, this is really good, believe me,” Washington said. “Maribeth, you’re well deserving of it. You’ve always done a great job for Hillsborough County Public Schools, and what I love about you, you put students first. Always, as long as I could remember, you always put students first.”

School board member Melissa Snively, whose District 4 seat covers both Barrington Middle School and the adjacent Dick Stowers Elementary School, gave her blessing for the newly decided gymnasium namesake. Moments later, after sealing the deal, Brooks received a standing ovation from the board, district officials and meeting attendees.

“It is an honor and a privilege to be able to name the gymnasium tonight after someone who has been so dedicated to children for so many years,” Snively said. “Congratulations, and thank you for many, many years of dedicated service to our school district.”

Barrington Middle School, located at 5925 Village Center Dr. in Lithia, is named for Glenn H. Barrington, “a career educator whose frank, no-nonsense attitude crowned his four terms on the Hillsborough County School Board,” according to its website. Brooks, the school’s inaugural principal, was replaced by the current principal, Amy Rappleyea, in 2012.

View the Hillsborough School Board meeting online at

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