Gradebook

Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Northeast High hopes to reverse decision on principal

On paper, it's a done deal. Northeast High principal Kevin Hendrick is going to Boca Ciega High this fall, and Boca Ciega High principal Paula Nelson is switching places with him. But folks at Northeast High aren't going down without a fight.

Hendrick supporters started a "Keep Mr. Hendrick at NEHI" Facebook page (it has nearly 400 people on board already) and they're asking every student, parent and business partner to contact Superintendent Julie Janssen and the school board. (Judging by the comments on the Facebook page, many students have already done so.)

But can the decision, approved by the board this week, really be undone? "We're not going to stop until we do," physics teacher Felix McCauley, who heads the school's academically advanced Todd Center, told The Gradebook. "If they don't listen to the public, why are they even in there?"

Hendrick, McCauley said, has been key to the school's recent improvements, including higher FCAT scores, improved AP participation rates and, last year, a C grade after two years as a D. He brought in a more effective leadership team, improved student discipline and made the school feel proud of itself.

Northeast "feels like a winner now after feeling like a loser for 15 years," said McCauley, a former vice president at Tampa General Hospital. But it's "still in a tentative transitional period."

The decision to move Hendrick "is incorrect on so many levels it's incredible," he said. "If anyone in the business world made decisions like people up there (at the district), they wouldn't be in a business a week. They seem to be completely detached from the real world."

[Last modified: Tuesday, July 13, 2010 10:09am]

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