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Pasco school employees pressure superintendent over appointments

Even though it hasn't been approved, the list of Pasco County school administrative appointments has generated some hue and cry among the staffs at two district schools. One group doesn't want a change, while another is demanding one.

The first version of the list, which was withdrawn from consideration, called for the transfer of Gulf Trace Elementary School assistant principal Any Haskedakes to a like post at Anclote Elementary. That news prompted several staffers to write letters to superintendent Kurt Browning, asking him to cancel the move.

"Continuity and consistency is essential for growth for both students and staff. Here at Gulf Trace we will be embarking on our eighth year with our fourth Assistant Principal. I don’t know what else to say but I am hurt as a person," counselor Ronna Henniger wrote.

First grade teacher Jennifer Mueller agreed. "Now that we have had a full year with Amy as our AP we can finally build upon this foundation we have created and really focus on other changes that are vital to student success," she wrote. "With a new administrator, we will have to start back at the beginning. How can this be good for our students? This is, after all, why we are here."

Browning expressed surprise at the influx of emails about Haskedakes, mostly because several people made it sound like a forced transfer. He asked learning community executive director Beth Brown about it, and Brown responded, "I NEED her at Anclote," but she would look into how the news was presented to the Gulf Trace employees.

On the other side of the coin, the list also included the reappointment of Terry Holback as Hudson Middle School principal. Holback faced severe complaints about her leadership in 2012, but Browning decided to keep her and provide added training and support.

Several of the teachers who remained rekindled their criticism in a spate of e-mails to Browning.

"Not only does Ms. Holback lack communication skills, but she has shown no leadership in bringing discipline issues under control," math teacher Joe Kurtright wrote in one of the letters. "Discipline in our school is weak at best."

Browning responded that he believed the added coaching for Holback was making a difference. Still, he added, he would take the teacher concerns seriously.

"The number of instances have dramatically decreased since the time that I first to involved with HMS. There have been a number of occasions that I have been on campus talking with teachers and staff and and the general sentiment has been that things are better," Browning wrote. "Like any other school in our district, there may be issues between staff and administration. That being said, I will continue to be involved with our progress at HMS. Based on your observations, I will have further conversations with Ms Holback and seek solutions to these concerns."

[Last modified: Wednesday, May 28, 2014 11:20am]


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