Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Teacher resigns post, files to seek Pasco County School Board seat

A longtime Pasco County music teacher with a strong Dade City family history has resigned his job and submitted paperwork to run for School Board District 1.

Kenneth Mathis, who taught at Pasco Middle School until about three weeks ago, is the second challenger to seek the east-county seat currently held by three-term incumbent Allen Altman.

He said he left his job to "dedicate 100 percent of my time" to his campaign. His primary goals, Mathis said, would be to improve student discipline and teacher morale.

"I just want to push a positive culture in our schools, and to bring family back," he said.

He added that he would aim to reduce student testing.

District records indicate that Mathis resigned amid an employee relations investigation into his use of time while on the job. He already was on a "last chance" agreement with the district after having been reprimanded and suspended over past actions.

"A meeting was scheduled for me to go talk with him," employee relations director Kathy Scalise said. "He resigned."

She said the review involved Mathis saying he was leaving school to go to the nearby county fair grounds, but then being seen "somewhere else far from there."

He had done such things in the past, according to district files.

Letters in Mathis' district personnel file showed that he was suspended without pay in 2016 because he went to work out in a gym when he was supposed to be in school. He "repeatedly" left campus during work hours without following proper procedures, the letter stated.

He also was accused of not telling the truth about being warned over his departures.

Before that, Mathis had been reprimanded for interfering with an investigation into his interactions with a former student.

Mathis said he did not see eye-to-eye with the Pasco Middle administration on the way it deals with students sent to the office because of misbehavior.

He said he had a no-nonsense approach to disrespectful students, and would not tolerate their defiance of authority. Sometimes, he said, that got him crosswise with the office.

Mathis also took issue with the "gotcha" approach to teacher evaluations he said the staff had experienced.

He said his most recent evaluation, which is not yet public, was "highly effective," but that many experienced teachers were being rated poorly and were leaving the profession.

Mathis said he intends to run a positive campaign and not focus on the negative. He said he wanted to continue public service in his family tradition, following his father who was one of Dade City's longest serving police officers.

Comments
Sharon Waite will return to Potter Elementary as principal

Sharon Waite will return to Potter Elementary as principal

To continue progress at East Tampa's Potter Elementary School after five consecutive F grades from the state, the Hillsborough County School Board on Tuesday approved onetime Potter assistant principal Sharon Waite.Waite, 51, replaces Melanie Hill, w...
Published: 06/19/18
Florida education news: New candidates, school security and a suspended PTSA

Florida education news: New candidates, school security and a suspended PTSA

ELECTIONS: A former county official joins the race for a seat on Hernando County School Board, the Tampa Bay Times reports. • In Hillsborough County, one candidate for School Board changes parties and another changes races, the Tampa Bay Times ...
Published: 06/19/18
Former Hernando County official Diane Rowden joins race for School Board

Former Hernando County official Diane Rowden joins race for School Board

Longtime Hernando County resident and former official Diane Rowden threw her hat in the ring for the District 3 seat of the School Board Monday."I just feel like my job is not over with," Rowden, 68, told the Tampa Bay Times ...
Published: 06/18/18
Updated: 06/19/18
One school board candidate changes parties, another changes races

One school board candidate changes parties, another changes races

Updating Sunday's report on the Hillsborough County School Board races:Scott Hottenstein, one of six candidates for the at-large seat that will be vacated by April Griffin, informs us that he is now a Democrat.After years as a Republican, Hottenstein...
Published: 06/18/18
Florida education news: testing, safety and a gubernatorial candidate’s take on education

Florida education news: testing, safety and a gubernatorial candidate’s take on education

SAFE SCHOOLS: Miami-Dade School District asks local police departments to help put a cop on every campus, WLRN reports.TESTING: Four of Marion County’s worst-performing schools make gains on state tests, the Star-Banner reports. • Duval C...
Published: 06/18/18
Hillsborough test results point to continued struggles in reading

Hillsborough test results point to continued struggles in reading

It's not yet clear if this year's Florida Standard Assessment results will free seven Hillsborough County schools up from outside management, as Superintendent Jeff Eakins had hoped.Things improved at Potter and Booker T. Washington Elementary S...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18
School test scores are up all around the state

School test scores are up all around the state

Gov. Rick Scott is doing a victory lap and touting the level of state education funding, with standardized test scores inching up around the state.The numbers released Thursday show a one-point gain in English proficiency rates on the Florida Standar...
Published: 06/14/18
Florida education news: Superintendents fired and hired, election drama and a rally for unions

Florida education news: Superintendents fired and hired, election drama and a rally for unions

OUSTED: Hernando County School Board votes 3-2 to fire Superintendent Lori Romano, the Tampa Bay Times reports.LAWSUITS: A lawyer, apparently representing Hernando County schools Superintendent Lori Romano, threatens legal action against two School B...
Published: 06/13/18
Pinellas School Board candidate calls opponent’s district address ‘disingenuous’

Pinellas School Board candidate calls opponent’s district address ‘disingenuous’

In an email blast on Tuesday, Pinellas County School Board candidate Matt Stewart accused his opponent, Lorena Grizzle, of "misleading voters."He called Grizzle's recent change of address into question and said voters would "see it for what it i...
Published: 06/12/18
School board race gets first candidate

School board race gets first candidate

Business leader Steve Cona filed Monday to run for Hillsborough County School Board in the District 1 seat that Susan Valdes will vacate to run for the State House.He is the first to file since Valdes filed her resign-to-run letter on June 8.  A...
Published: 06/12/18