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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Pasco superintendent mum on visit to Hudson Middle School



With complaints continuing to swirl, Pasco County schools superintendent Heather Fiorentino visited Hudson Middle School on Friday afternoon to look into concerns that staff members have raised about the school's leadership.

Teachers at the school report that Fiorentino was seen arriving at the campus after the contract day was over, so most people were gone at the time of her unannounced stop. As a result, Fiorentino did not meet with teachers despite the stated desire by some to have an audience to air their grievances.

Fiorentino would not confirm whom she talked to while at Hudson Middle. "She said she is not going to discuss what occurred," spokeswoman Summer Robertson said.

Fiorentino has supported principal Terry Holback despite stinging teacher criticisms aired in a spring climate survey conducted by the United School Employees of Pasco. She has not shown any indication to make changes at the school other than to assign Holback a mentor to help her improve her management skills.

Hudson Middle also got a new assistant principal this fall, to replace six-year AP Buffey Simon, who was demoted and has filed a discrimination complaint against the district.

Beth Brown, executive director of secondary schools, also stopped by Hudson Middle on Friday. She said through Robertson that her visit was part of her normal rotation of school visits, and that it was "very positive and that the school year is off to a great start."

The appearance of inaction has riled some School Board members, who stated that they want to see the work climate and morale improve markedly from what they had read in the USEP survey.

"We need to take care of business and move on," board member Steve Luikart said. 

Board member Alison Crumbley agreed.

"I have put in some calls. I want to know what is going on there," Crumbley said. "There's obviously something wrong there. ... We've got to find out what is going on and we've got to do something about it. I don't know why it has gone on so long."

[Last modified: Tuesday, September 11, 2012 1:26pm]


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