Curious about the candidates for Pinellas superintendent?
So were we. So we asked researchers at the Times to do a tiny bit of digging. (We'll do more when the field gets narrowed.)
About a dozen applicants have been superintendents, though most are from smaller, out-of-state districts. A few have run into controversy. We already wrote on the Gradebook about Irving Hamer's abrupt resignation from Memphis City Schools following a violation of that district's sexual harassment code. See that post here.
Jose Maldonado-Rivera was ousted a couple years ago from his job as a principal in Manhattan. The New York Times reported that Maldonado-Rivera took students on an unauthorized field trip, during which a student drowned, and then later was found to have used a school employee as a babysitter. He had a romantic relationship with the employee and lived with her. Now it appears that he may have taken a job at a charter school, according to this recent story in the New York Daily News.
Frank McClard, a former superintendent in Pennsylvania ran into trouble last year with separation of church and state. A Pittsburgh TV station reported that McClard held a before school prayer group, started prayers at mandatory teacher in-service days and posted religious messages on a school blog. See that story here.
Other candidates might be familiar to Gradebook readers:
Dennis Thompson: Thompson was superintendent of Collier County Schools for nearly four years, but left under rocky circumstances. After the Collier County School Board voted not to renew his contract, he sued the board for breach of contract. The suit was settled in March with the school district paying him about $120,000, according to a story in the Naples Daily News. Here's the story from when the board terminated him.
Wayne Alexander: He was ousted nearly three years ago as superintendent of Hernando County Schools after a short and, by some accounts, rocky tenure. He left Hernando about 10 months early. See an in-depth story about Alexander’s time in Hernando here. Alexander’s most recent position was as an assistant principal at a technical high school in Connecticut. Here's another story from his time in Hernando.
Mike Grego: He successfully steered Florida's request for a waiver from No Child Left Behind requirements and is a former Hillsborough County assistant superintendent and Osceola County superintendent. He served for five months as Florida's interim chancellor for K-12 education. Here's a story from the Orlando Sentinel about his departure from Osceola.
Harry La Cava: He was superintendent of Indian River County Schools from 2007 to 2011, but had to retire because of his participation in DROP. He's been a consultant since leaving the district and has applied unsuccessfully for a few other superintendent gigs. See a story from tcpalm.com about his departure from Indian River here.
Chris Dunning: Dunning has been principal of Paul R. Smith Middle School in Pasco since 2006. He also is an adjunct professor at the University of South Florida. He has spent most of his career in Pasco, as principal, assistant principal and district supervisor of employee relations. He also was a teacher in Hillsborough County. He was featured on the Gradebook here.
William Corbett: So far, he's the only internal candidate. He's an area superintendent in Pinellas, overseeing about 28 schools in Area 2. He was principal of Morgan Fitzgerald Middle School for about six years before taking the area job in August 2011. His application package includes letters of support from James Madden, deputy superintendent, and Michael Bessette, associate superintendent. Here's an old bio from the school district's website.
The Pinellas County School District has received more than 30 applications. The deadline is 5 p.m. Monday. (Not all candidates have been qualified, so we won't include those in the round-up.) See this blog post for a link to the longer list of candidates.