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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Will Pinellas' newest high school live up to its promise?



Say this for Mark Thimmig: He’s not afraid to make big promises.

Thimmig is president/CEO of the Mavericks charter school chain, which got permission from the Pinellas school board to open a high school this fall for struggling students and recent dropouts. He says the school, in Largo, is a “game changer” that will boost the district’s graduation rates. It can take up to 400 students.

“You can pour all the money you want into the propeller engine, but it’s never going to get you to the moon,” he told the Gradebook recently. “We got to put a stop to the idea that the customer is the problem, the student is the problem. It’s the process that’s the problem.”

Like Jeb Bush, Mavericks is big on technology and not big on “seat time.” You can read more about its approach in this Gradebook interview with Thimmig last year and in this recent Miami Herald story.

Mavericks wanted to open 10 charter schools in Florida this year, but ended up with five. Several districts, including Hernando, rejected its applications.

The governing board of the Pinellas school is chaired by Pinellas County Commissioner Susan Latvala. Former Pinellas school board member Jane Galluci is also on the board.

Ron Matus, state education reporter


[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 10:30am]


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