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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Community rallies around beloved assistant principal




Students and parents packed the Pinellas County School Board meeting Tuesday, rallying to save the job of Wayne McKnight, an assistant principal who was dismissed from Tarpon Springs High after more than a decade.

This isn't the first protest from the community since McKnight's contract wasn't renewed by Principal Clint Herbic. See previous stories here and here. McKnight's last day at the school is June 25. He hasn't been offered another position in the district yet, a spokeswoman said Tuesday.

About 40 to 50 people came to the board meeting Tuesday, with many of them speaking on McKnight's behalf. Students told the School Board how dedicated McKnight was - attending every school event, setting up graduation chairs in the rain and even mowing the lawn so football players could practice. Many said they thought McKnight was the school principal, so visible was he at school events.

"He is the heart and soul of Tarpon Springs High School," said Matthew Carstensen, 14.

Board attorney Jim Robinson told the speakers that the School Board couldn't do anything. The board hires the superintendent and the school attorney. The superintendent is responsible for recommending all other job candidates - only in rare circumstances would the School Board have grounds to reject a recommendation. (Usually if the candidate isn't qualified.)

But in this case, there is no recommendation. Herbic chose not to renew McKnight's contract, so that's basically where it ends.

[Last modified: Wednesday, June 13, 2012 2:21pm]


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