Changing of the guard in Hernando
Judging from a memo sent by his predecessor, the newly-retired Superintendent Wendy Tellone, it's an odd mix of heart-pounding controversy and sleepy summer details. (In case you can't tell, that's Alexander on the left, Tellone on the right in Times photos.)
Though it's not clear whether the list was prioritized, item 1 on Tellone's list of "essential" jobs was the question of continuing a summer flex-time option for district administrators.
Under that plan, central office staff have the option of working four, 10-hour days in June and July, rather than the traditional five-day week, said business services executive director Heather Martin. "About half of my directors do it," she said. "It's just a perk for the summer."
Of course, if Alexander arrived for duty and called for all hands on deck – and an end to the policy – his new employees would cheerfully comply, Martin said.
Other tasks Tellone suggested for Alexander in her memo:
* Learn the new, $45,000 electronic agenda system the School Board has recently adopted;
* Prepare for a perfect storm of controversy at his first board meeting July 26, with reviews of magnet school admissions, field trip policies, and a subcommittee's recommendations to redraw school boundaries to accommodate a new elementary school;
* Get up to speed on facilities construction, impact fees from developers, and other matters related to growth in the 23,000-student district;
* Prepare for public hearings on July 31 and Sept. 4 on the annual budget;
* Meet with district negotiators and get up to speed on talks with the teachers' and staff unions;
* Get a handle on the class-size amendment and its impact on facilities;
* Figure out which of the district's schools need extra help in response to school grades coming out this month, as well as Adequate Yearly Progress status under the federal No Child Left Behind Act.
And that's just Alexander's to-do list for July. It goes on and on.
Here's a recent story on the pleasures and trials of running a semi-rural Florida school district over the last 30 years, in the words of departing Superintendent Wendy Tellone and her husband Michael.
- Tom Marshall, Hernando schools reporter