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Hillsborough to vote on extending Elia's contract



Eliasm TAMPA -- Superintendent MaryEllen Elia earned stellar ratings from most members of the Hillsborough County School Board in her annual performance review.

Four out of seven members awarded her more than 40 points out of a possible 45 on the district's evaluation scale, and two -- Jack Lamb and Carol Kurdell, respectively -- scored her only one and two points from perfect.

"It is most evident that we made a good decision in selecting our superintendent," Lamb wrote, referring to her 2005 promotion to the top job. "Our district is cited as a model in a number of issues as we continue to improve in spite of a reduction in resources; much of this is due to her leadership."

The board is scheduled to vote on the evaluation and a possible one-year extension of Elia's contract today at its 3 p.m. meeting.

Of the remaining three board members, April Griffin gave Elia 35 points, while Susan Valdes and Jennifer Faliero awarded 38 and 39 points, respectively. The board's combined score put Elia in the "above satisfactory" range, two points shy of "outstanding."

Griffin said she was concerned about the district's "college-bound focus and Advanced Placement push." She said the district shouldn't put unprepared students in AP classes and should bolster its career-based curriculum for students not planning to attend college.

"While it is a worthy goal to get more students into college, the superintendent needs to keep in mind the majority of the students, and not let the lowest quartile or the highest quartile determine the main core curriculum in the district," Griffin wrote.

But member Candy Olson said the district's adoption of college preparatory programs like AVID and Springboard were just that -- an effort to "pay more attention to children in the middle." She said such programs have brought "many positive results."

Several board members praised Elia for her instructional leadership, conservative financial planning, relations with teacher and staff unions, and efforts to reorganize the district.

Her decision last month to take a 5 percent cut on her $257,958 salary in the coming year also drew positive reviews.

"Thank you for the personal and professional sacrifice related to your salary," member Doretha Edgecomb wrote. "Your action sent a message of empathy and understanding, and modeled what good leaders do in difficult times."

Tom Marshall, Times Staff Writer


[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 10:31am]


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