Polk County Public Schools is mourning the loss of Carol Jenkins Barnett, a devoted education advocate and staunch supporter of our students. As president of Publix Super Markets Charities, her generous assistance has touched the lives of countless children over the years. She was also a founding board member of the Polk Education Foundation, a nonprofit organization managing private and corporate donations benefiting PCPS students. She spent more than 20 years serving on this board, providing her wise guidance and loyal backing. She recognized the importance of literacy and early learning — establishing the United Way’s ReadingPals program, whose army of volunteers continue to make an invaluable contribution to our students and schools. Mrs. Barnett has always been a caring and compassionate force for good. Our prayers remain with her family and loved ones.