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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Grego asking for change to head of technology, job description

8

November

Superintendent Mike Grego has tapped a principal to lead the Pinellas County School District's technology department. 

He's appointed Thomas Lechner, principal of Seminole Middle School, to be assistant superintendent of technology and information systems, effective Wednesday. Norman Kelton, who held the position, will be moved to a systems analyst position.

The move is likely to raise a few eyebrows, as Grego is simultaneously asking the School Board to change the job description for the position. As the job description stands now, Lechner doesn't appear to be qualified. His academic degrees and career have been in education. The position calls for a background in computer science, information management or technology systems. 

The proposed change in the job description, however, would make Lechner qualified.

Instead of a background in IT, it would call for a "master’s degree from an accredited college or university in Educational Leadership, Business Administration, or related field with three years of successful administrative experience. Demonstrated increasingly more responsibilities in the technical and administrative personnel management realm within a large district/business."

The School Board typically can't vote no on a personnel move unless the candidate is unqualified. In this case, Grego is asking them to approve both the personnel recommendation and the revised job description on Tuesday's consent agenda

Grego defended the move Friday, saying that Lechner has "vast experience" in the application of technology in his school. He believes that he would be qualified under either job description, but he said that the current job description is "antiquated at best."

"I don't want to be perceived as developing a job description for a person," he said.

Technology has been an area of concern for the district, Grego said. It also was noted in Grego's professional evaluation as something that could be improved. Grego said he valued the job that Kelton had done, but also wanted to see the IT department connect to the needs of schools.

Lechner, he said, has a "real technical background."

Lechner has been in education since 1986, serving as a teacher, assistant principal and principal. He started at Seminole Middle in 2007. He has a bachelor's degree in physical education from the University of Florida, a master's degree in physical education from the University of South Florida, and a specialist's degree in educational leadership from Nova University.

District officials have been revising job descriptions for months, following an unflattering study completed last year that said the school district had a top-heavy administration, a culture of internal conflict and competition, and that some job descriptions appeared to have been created to fit specific candidates' credentials. 

[Last modified: Friday, November 8, 2013 4:43pm]

    

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