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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

New Pinellas Superintendent Grego asks School Board for a little breathing room



It's not surprising that Pinellas School Board members brainstormed dozens of ideas  this week for new Superintendent Mike Grego to get right to work on.

But it was interesting so see Grego ask board members - ever so politely - to back off. At least for a little while.

It went like this. At a work session on Tuesday afternoon, board members threw out many big issues Grego will need to deal with as superintendent - student achievement, student safety, morale, depth of leadership, diversity, parental choice and others.

Board members eagerly suggested some new ways Grego could update them on his progress -- such as a regular report on the budget issues, and another one on underperforming schools and so on.

That's where Grego gingerly stepped in. "I want to say this with all due respect and politeness; you have to have a level of trust, for just a little while." He said he understands the challenges ahead and doesn't know all the answers to them. "But I need time, a little bit of time."

As an example, he said he recently met with some school officials to discuss middle school reform. But as he looked over their information, "out of the two or three pages, maybe one thing I would consider quote-unquote reform." He said that shows he and his staff need a little time to work together, to understand his expectations and the overall goals. Because, he said, "our performance in middle school is tremendously dragging behind other grade levels."

He said he fully understands why the board wants those regular reports and presentations, and he said they deserve it, but the time spent in producing them "only slows down the progress of the district."

"I'm not into giving you more PowerPoints and more discussions. I'd rather just report the results" about how things are getting better, he said.

His comments were well-received by board members, who said they would allow him some time, and added that they were excited to have him on board.

Then Board member Robin Wikle got a laugh by asking: "How much time do you need?"

"Forty-eight hours," Grego deadpanned.

[Last modified: Wednesday, October 10, 2012 2:14pm]


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