New principal draws teachers to Melrose Elementary
Superintendent Mike Grego selected Nanette Grasso earlier this year to lead Melrose Elementary in the 2013/14 school year. One of the reasons, he said, was that she had a "following" - the ability to draw teachers to even a tough school.
From talking to teachers at Melrose Thursday, Grego's strategy appears to have paid off.
Grasso hand-picked nearly all of the teachers at the school. Many of the teachers last year requested transfers to another school. Grasso also had more flexibility to hire because of the state-mandated turnaround plan, which required that teachers reapply for their jobs. What's interesting is that many of the teachers at Melrose for the coming school year said they wanted to work there because of Grasso's leadership.
We didn't get to include all of their comments in Thursday's story. Here's a sample:
Emily Lopez, who worked with Grasso at Orange Grove Elementary, said she wanted to follow Grasso. "I just know she's amazing because she was my principal," she said.
Cindy Young, who came from Seminole Elementary, taught with Grasso about 20 years ago. She, too, wanted to work with her again. So did her daughter, Jacqueline Young, who was previously at St. Jude's. "I came here for Nanette Grasso. I've known her a long time," Jacqueline said.
Kim Lopez (Emily's mom) also followed Grasso. She said she felt confident about the team at Melrose.
"The group that she's assembled, I feel we're going to make a difference. I really feel that," she said.
Melrose has two mother-daughter teams (quoted above) and one of the daughters also is working with her fiance at the school. Grasso also hired a few teachers that she met through Summer Bridge.