Our History

In 2005, Pro Football Hall of Fame Bucs Linebacker Derrick Brooks and the Edward J. DeBartolo Family joined forces, through their charitable organizations, to create Brooks DeBartolo Collegiate High School (BDCHS). Their goal was to open a school that would provide a quality education, similar to that of the numerous private schools in Tampa, but without the staggering price and to provide a higher opportunity for achievement to students who may otherwise not excel in a large classroom setting.

_MG_8155Brooks DeBartolo Collegiate High School became a reality in 2007, when the Charter application was approved by the Hillsborough County School Board. The school officially opened its doors in August of 2007, becoming the only traditional charter high school in the Tampa Bay area.  The inaugural student body consisted of 183 students in grades 9-11. Grade 12 was added the following year.

In 2008, BDCHS added athletics to its program. The school is now a full member of the Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) and is eligible to participate in the State Championship Series in Class 2A District 10.  BDCHS offers eight sports, including volleyball, bowling, girls’ and boys’ basketball, softball, baseball, girls and boys soccer, tennis, and golf. In just three years of competition and only one year of post-season eligibility, the school has earned four Class 2A District 10 Runner-up trophies, as well as one Regional Championship and a State Finals appearance by the baseball team.

In its fourth year, BDCHS was among eight Hillsborough County public high schools and 140 schools statewide that received an “A” grade from the Florida Department of Education.  The school also graduated its first freshmen class in 2011, growing its alumni to more than 120 students.  Many of these alumni were accepted to universities such as Howard University, Villanova University, University of Pittsburgh, the University of South Florida, the University of Tampa, the University of Florida, and Florida State University.

In 2012, BDCHS moved to a beautiful 11 acre campus and earned another A grade from the FLDOE. The school has continued to “Soar to New Heights” by being named one of “America’s Most Challenging High Schools” by the Washington Post, a Non-Profit of the Year finalist by the Tampa Bay Business Journal, and the Golden School Award for parent volunteerism. In addition, the class of 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 graduates were all accepted into post-secondary institutions.

Looking to the future, we will continue to strive for excellence in education by creating more relevant curricula, keeping our academic standards high and working collaboratively with colleges and universities to ensure postsecondary success. Moreover, we plan to aggressively build and strengthen our athletic and extracurricular programs, thereby providing our students with more opportunities to learn and achieve in and out of the classroom.

Our Founders

d70Derrick Brooks

Legendary Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Derrick Brooks will become only the third player in franchise history to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on August 2, 2014. An 11-time Pro Bowler, Brooks led the Bucs to a Super Bowl XXVII victory in the 2002 season and was named the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year.

Known for his leadership and durability, Brooks never missed a game in his 14-year career. With Brooks entrenched as the defensive anchor, the Bucs led the NFL in total defense twice (2002 and 2005) and topped the NFC five times during his career (1998, 1999, 2002, 2005, 2007). Among his many honors, Brooks received the Walter Payton/NFL Man of the Year Award (2000), Bart Starr Award (2003), the Byron “Whizzer” White NFL Man of the Year Award (2004) and was selected to the NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 2000s.

Brooks’ contributions off the field rival his stellar playing career. He made it his life’s mission to positively impact youth in the Tampa Bay community, beginning with Brooks Bunch in 1997, a college prep program born from his work with the Boys and Girls Clubs and evolving into the creation of his foundation, Derrick Brooks Charities, Inc. As Brooks’ vision for his foundation grew through the years, he transitioned from the Brooks Bunch program to additional educational programs locally. And in August of 2007, he realized one of his lifelong goals with the opening of Brooks DeBartolo Collegiate High School, a public charter high school in Hillsborough County.

Born in Pensacola, FL, Brooks has served on multiple boards including the Florida Department of Education Foundation, St. Leo University, Brooks DeBartolo Charities, Inc., and the Florida State University Board of Trustees. In 2007, he was appointed by former Gov. Charlie Christ as the Chairman for the Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness – helping to eliminate the problem of childhood obesity in the state of Florida.

Brooks received a Bachelor’s (1994) and Master’s degree (1999) in business communications from Florida State University, where he was a four-year letterman and All-American. He also holds a Doctorate in Human Letters (2006) from St. Leo University.

Brooks is currently President of the Arena Football League’s Tampa Bay Storm and an analyst on NFL Sirius Radio. He lives in Tampa with his wife Carol and has four children, Brianna, Decalon, Darius and DaNia.


Edward J. DeBartolo Jr.

Edward J. DeBartolo Jr. is a successful businessman, real estate investor and developer, championship professional sports team owner and passionate supporter of philanthropic causes related to education, healthcare, poverty, animals, sports and religious institutions.

Born in Youngstown, Ohio, DeBartolo Jr. makes his home in Tampa Bay, where local charities and organizations have benefited from the impact of his numerous donations of both time and resources. He has offered his counsel and expertise to many boards of non-profit organizations, including the Tampa Bay American Cancer Society, the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, and currently, the Moffitt Cancer Center.

A graduate of the University of Notre Dame, DeBartolo Jr. joined the Edward J. DeBartolo Corporation in 1971. After years of overseeing one of the nation’s largest mall development and management firms, DeBartolo became Chairman of the Board of the DeBartolo Realty Corporation in 1994 and two years later directed the company’s merger with Simon Property Group. The merger united two of the founding families of the regional mall business and created Simon DeBartolo Group, Inc. (NYSE: SPG), the largest public real estate company in North America.

DeBartolo Jr. is best known as the legendary owner of the San Francisco 49ers during the winningest two decades in football history. During his 23-year ownership and management of the team, the 49ers won 12 division titles and an NFL-record five Super Bowl Championships. Affectionately called “Mr. D” by his players, he is widely regarded as the most successful and generous owner in the NFL, and has been voted a finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame for three consecutive years, the ultimate honor for an NFL owner.

DeBartolo Jr. is currently the chief executive officer of DeBartolo Holdings, LLC. DeBartolo Holdings manages and optimizes the diverse businesses and strategic investments of the DeBartolo family, including DeBartolo Development, DeBartolo Sports and Events and the DeBartolo Family Foundation.

DeBartolo Jr. resides in Tampa, FL, with his wife Candy. They have three daughters, Lisa Marie, Tiffanie Lynne, Nicole Anne and three grandsons, Asher, Milo and Jasper.

10 Year Anniversary Tag