Janssen backs John Hopkins principal
In the wake of the John Hopkins story, there's been speculation that Principal Claud Effiom may be on the way out - a notion further fueled by the quick addition of former St. Petersburg High assistant principal Barry Brown to the Hopkins staff. But Superintendent Julie Janssen is quashing those rumors, telling The Gradebook that Effiom will definitely be principal there next fall.
"That school cannot afford another new principal," she said. "They really can't."
Effiom came on last year, on the heels of interim principal Bob Poth and, before him, Maureen Thornton, who was ousted after an internal investigation determined she created a hostile work environment, practiced sloppy bookkeeping and used her position for personal gain. Former Superintendent Clayton Wilcox appointed her principal in 2005.
Over the past three weeks, we've heard a lot more good than bad about Effiom, who was acting principal at Kennedy Middle last year. Many people have said he didn't get the support he needed - a view seconded by Janssen.
"He's so competent in so many areas, maybe no one recognized he needed more support than he was getting," she said. "You always have to look back and say, 'What could have I done better for him?' "
"We need to work with him, you know? We needed to have nurtured him a little him better," she continued. "I'm putting some people there who have a different kind of experience, so they can learn from each other. Mr. Brown wants to learn a little more about academics. And what better a teacher than Claud? And Claud needs to learn about kids - tough kids. Barry and I had this conversation (about Hopkins): Doc, this is a campus full of kids like me. He was at Lakewood when I was there. Tough kid. But just a good kid. You try to build a team by giving people value. And I certainly think Mr. Effiom has lots."