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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Hernando shuffles principals and administrators again



BROOKSVILLE -- Superintendent Wayne Alexander has launched the second administrative reorganization of Hernando County schools in as many years, downsizing central office and putting the district's alternative school on the budget-cutting table.

Two central office officials, executive school services director Sonya Jackson and professional development director Barbara Kidder, will move to school leadership positions in the fall. Jackson will become principal of Nature Coast Technical High School; Kidder, an assistant principal at Explorer K-8.

Jackson's position would be filled in part by the proposed hiring of an assistant superintendent, Alexander said. But three central office positions have also been cut, he added.

Dominick Ferello, who opened Explorer last fall and struggled to cope with overcrowding there, will take over Westside Elementary from the retiring Charles Johnson.

He will be replaced at the 1,952-student Explorer by Ray Pinder, who currently serves as principal at Fox Chapel Middle School. Current Nature Coast principal Margaret "Tizzy" Schoelles will take the reins at Fox Chapel.

Three assistant principals -- Dana Pearce and Susan Roth at Explorer and Michael Varn at Powell Middle School -- will lose their positions but have a chance to be placed in teaching or other positions, Alexander said.

And the current administrator at the district's STAR alternative school, John Shepherd, will become an assistant principal at Eastside Elementary. Alexander said he isn't sure yet what the district will do at STAR, which enrolls students as an alternative to expulsion.

"We're in discussions about what we're going to do," he said.

Last spring, Alexander put the $1.2 million STAR center on a list for possible elimination, as the district struggled to close a budget gap estimated at $4.5 million. He also shifted a third of the district's principals and reduced some central office jobs.

Now, with the economy in a free-fall and the district's budget shortfall approaching $25 million, all bets are off.

The School Board has discussed an online education program that could serve students at STAR.

For more details and updates, read the Hernando section of tomorrow's St. Petersburg Times or visit

Tom Marshall, Times Staff Writer


[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 10:19am]


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