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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Speaking of superintendent candidates



Dennis Thompson, former superintendent of Collier County Schools, has applied for the top job in Pinellas.

Thompson was Collier's superintendent for nearly four years, but left under rocky circumstances. After the Collier County School Board voted not to renew his contract, he sued the board for breach of contract. The suit was settled in March with the school district paying him about $120,000, according to a story in the Naples Daily News.

Thompson's resume says he now lives in Rockford, Ill., where he once was superintendent, and that he's working as a "private investor." He has applied for recent superintendent gigs in Broward County and Lee County, but didn't make the cut.

There's just a few more days until the July 2 deadline to apply to be superintendent of Pinellas County Schools. So far, the School Board has received more than 30 applications. (We aren't including the ones that didn't meet the board's qualifications.)

Other new applicants, aside from Thompson, include:

Chris Dunning: Dunning has been principal of Paul R. Smith Middle School in Pasco since 2006. He also is an adjunct professor at the University of South Florida. He has spent most of his career in Pasco, as principal, assistant principal and district supervisor of employee relations. He also was a teacher in Hillsborough County.

Dennis Albright: Albright has been superintendent of Braxton County Schools in West Virginia since 2009. He also has served as an assistant superintendent, principal and school board member.

Here's the rest of the applicants so far:

Mike Grego: Grego successfully steered Florida's request for a waiver from No Child Left Behind requirements and served as Hillsborough County assistant superintendent, Osceola County superintendent and, for five months, as Florida's interim chancellor for K-12 education.

Luis B. Gonzalez: Gonzalez is former superintendent of the 1,650-student Central Dauphin School District in Pennsylvania. He served as superintendent there for three years and has led a number of other small school systems in Texas, Michigan and Indiana, going back to 1992.

Steven Hiersche: Hiersche has been a school superintendent since 1996, working in several school districts in Massachusetts. He's been superintendent of Framingham Public Schools since 2009. He also was superintendent of Watertown Public Schools and Plymouth Public Schools.

Frank McClard: McClard has been superintendent of the Lakeview School District in Pennslyvania since 2008. The small district has just three schools and about 1,300 students. He also has worked as an assistant superintendent, principal, assistant principal and teacher.

Priscilla McNeil Dawson: McNeil Dawson has been the executive director of funded programs, grants management and turnaround schools for Trenton Public Schools in New Jersey. She also is the co-director of the school leadership program at the University of Pennsylvania. She has been an assistant superintendent, principal and assistant principal.

Peter Taylor: Taylor has spent his career in higher education. He has been the assistant dean for academic affairs at the University of California in San Francisco since 2009. He has worked at a variety of other universities, including Northeastern University in Boston and Santa Clara University in Santa Clara, Calif.

Morcease Jamar Beasley: Beasley has been the executive director of Race to the Top for the DeKalb County school system in Georgia since 2011. He also spent a year as the interim deputy superintendent for teaching and learning in DeKalb. He has been a principal, assistant principal and teacher.

Garrett Brundage: Brundage has been an executive director in the office of support services in Rockdale County Public Schools in Georgia since 2009. He spent two years as the director of school safety and student affairs. He also has been a teacher and assistant principal.

Philip Tropea: Tropea has been a general contracting consultant, project manager and general superintendent in the construction industry. He has worked in the industry since 1987.

Irving Hamer Jr.: Hamer was a deputy superintendent for Memphis City Schools. He also was a senior consultant on a project funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which studied chronically low-performing schools. He also was a deputy superintendent in the Miami-Dade County School District.

Gary Lewis: Lewis has been superintendent of Catlin School District #5 since 2009. The Illinois school district has just two schools. He also has been a teacher, principal, director of operations.

C.M.C.: Possibly the most mysterious candidate thus far, C.M.C.’s resume and letter of interest list only initials, not a full name. C.M.C. has been campus college chair of criminal justice and security since 2011 and was an associate dean at ITT Technical Institute between 2007 and 2011.

Felice Lepore: Lepore has been chief accountability officer for Cluster One in Brooklyn since 2011. He was principal of the Urban Assembly School for Careers in Sports in the Bronx between 2003 and 2011. He also has been a teacher, a math specialist and an assistant principal.

Allen Howlett: Howlett has been superintendent of Resurrection Christian School in Loveland, Colo., since 2006. The school has about 1,100 students. He also has been a teacher and assistant principal.

Geoffrey Gordon: Gordon has been superintendent of Port Washington Public Schools in New York since 2002. The district has about 5,000 students. He was superintendent of a smaller school district in New Jersey between 1994 and 2002.

Christopher Ruszkowski: Ruszkowski has worked for the Delaware Department of Education since 2010. He’s been team leader of the teacher and leader effectiveness unit since October 2011 and was deputy officer of the Race to the Top team for a year before that. He’s also worked for The New Teacher Project and Teach for America.

Carol Bennett: Bennett started working for Golder Associates, Inc. in Atlanta this year. The firm’s web site says it provides civil/geotechnical and environmental consulting services to a wide range of industries. She also has been a teacher and assistant principal.

Christian Cutter: Cutter has been an assistant superintendent in the Douglas County School District in Colorado since 2010. He also spent about three years as the executive director of schools for the Colorado Springs School District. He has been a teacher, assistant principal and principal.

Christiaan Ramsey: Ramsey has been director of the exceptional children's program for Madison County Schools in North Carolina since 2011. He was an elementary school principal between 2004 and 2011.  He also has been a band director and assistant principal.

Jerri-Lynn Williams-Harper: William-Harper was superintendent of Beecher Community Schools in Mt. Morris, Mich., for seven years before taking a job in the same school district as a Head Start program specialist. According to, an online news site for a number of Michigan newspapers, she went on medical leave a day after having a fight with a board of education member and then later moved to the Head Start position.

Jose Gabriel Maldonado-Rivera: Maldonado-Rivera has been headmaster at St. Constantine's International School in Arusha, Tanzania, for the past year. Before that, he was a founding principal and associate scientist at Columbia Secondary School for Math & Engineering, a 6-12 magnet school, from 2006 to 2010.

Wayne Alexander: Alexander was ousted nearly three years ago as superintendent of Hernando County Schools. Alexander’s most recent position was as an assistant principal at a technical high school in Connecticut.

Gary Caraballo: Garaballo is a general contractor with 20 years of experience in construction.

Mario Madrid: Madrid is a civil engineer and project manager with more than 20 years in the construction industry.

Kim Nisbett: Nisbett has been a coordinator of school counseling for the Roosevelt Union Free School District in New York since 2011. She also has been an assistant principal, guidance counselor and business teacher. 

Henry Richard Somers: Somers has been head of EMH Day School in Brooklyn since 2011. He has been a principal, assistant principal, math facilitator and teacher.



[Last modified: Wednesday, June 27, 2012 11:41am]


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