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Hernando school leaders do the shuffle



Around a third of all Hernando principals will likely find themselves in a new school next fall, as part of a top-to-bottom reorganization Superintendent Wayne Alexander has been planning since his arrival eight months ago.

And unlike the structural changes he’s planning for central office, these school-level changes require no School Board approval. It’s his call.

"Some people wanted to move,” Alexander said Friday. “Some people have been in places and that growth hasn’t been there. Some people haven’t done a good job.”

But whether the change is due to preference or performance, it’s clear some of the district’s 21 schools will see big changes if Alexander’s tentative plans hold, according to documents obtained by the St. Petersburg Times.

At Hernando High, which earned three consecutive “D” grades from the state, the entire leadership team would be split up and moved to new schools. West Hernando Middle, which earned two recent “A” grades but ran afoul of the federal government’s system for measuring special-needs students, would also get a brand-new team. And Eastside Elementary would get its fourth principal in four years.

Taking over at Hernando High would be facilities director Ken Pritz, a former principal, and three hand-picked assistants: Jill Renihan from West Hernando; former Hernando High athletic director Brent Gaustad; and recently retired curriculum specialist Mary Krabel.

Current Hernando principal Betty Harper would take the reins at Deltona Elementary, while that school’s principal Beverly Chapin would move to Eastside. And rookie principal Toni-Ann Noyes, who has spent most of her career in secondary education, would shift to West Hernando.

At the central office level, J.D. Floyd Elementary principal Marcia Austin would take a newly-created central office job as mathematics curriculum specialist. Barbara Kidder, director of labor relations and professional standards, has been penciled in as supervisor of professional development, one of Alexander’s top priorities.

Other personnel who found their positions eliminated last week, like Moton Elementary assistant principal Virginia Maxwell, have been invited to apply for new administrative openings at the central office or school levels.

Alexander said he won’t make those or other personnel switches until the board approves his broader changes, which include the elimination of a few executive-level jobs and the creation of others.

But he said the shakeup — plus the creation of new, mid-range curriculum positions — should provide a healthy jolt to a school system that has failed to effectively serve all its children. It will also save nearly $400,000 per year, largely by replacing high-paying positions with those at lower seniority levels.

“There’s a point when you reach stagnation, and if you don’t realize it, at some point your supervisor has to say so,” Alexander said.

For school-by-school details on the Hernando shakeup, read tomorrow's St. Petersburg Times or visit

-- Tom Marshall, Times staff writer

[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 9:37am]


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