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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Pinellas teacher may get another chance with "last chance agreement"



Back in July, former Pinellas Superintendent Julie Janssen recommended the school board fire an East Lake High teacher who had been written up multiple times over a quarter-century for a long list of alleged problems. Now, Superintendent John Stewart is recommending the 27-year veteran be suspended without pay for 102 days (the entire first semester of this school year) but also be reinstated after signing, literally, a "Last Chance Agreement."

The teacher, Dianne Leone, "acknowledges that there are many areas where her performance as a teacher must improve and commits to making all improvements as directed by her supervisors," the proposed agreement says. It also says, "She understands that improvement is required and any further board policy violations will result in dismissal."

Leone requested an administrative hearing last summer and was suspended without pay effective Aug. 15. The proposed agreement, signed by Stewart and Leone in November, goes before the school board Tuesday.

According to the paperwork on the case in the board agenda packet (beginning on page 9):

At the time of her meeting with her site based administrators and an administrator with the Office of Professional Standards, Ms. Leone did not appear to appreciate the need for improvement in her performance. Through counsel, she has requested an opportunity to prove herself and in support of the request states that she has been an employee of Pinellas County Schools for 27 years during which time she has worked at two high schools receiving generally satisfactory performance evaluations. She agrees that there are areas where her performance as a teacher must improve and commits to making all improvements as directed by her supervisors. Specifically, Ms. Leone agrees to adhere to a clear and consistent grading procedure, regularly and timely grade students’ assignments, enter grades in PORTAL promptly, and maintain communication and professionalism with students and parents.

Leone makes $61,173 a year. The suspension, if approved, will cost her $35,242.

[Last modified: Thursday, January 5, 2012 1:02pm]


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