Year in review: Hernando school superintendent weathers mixed evaluation

Hernando County schools Superintendent Lori Romano
Hernando County schools Superintendent Lori Romano
Updated March 7

After two years of planning for a district-wide survey to evaluate Hernando schools Superintendent Lori Romano, the School Board got it done in 2017.

In April, members were still debating details of the evaluation instrument they agreed to pay a University of South Florida professor $11,000 to create. Results of the voluntary survey — sent to more than 3,000 district employees and returned by about 940 — were released in July. They showed mixed reviews.

Romano’s overall average rating was 2.86 out of 5, according to the report. It noted deficiencies in communication, transparency and her ability to take criticism. Some respondents praised Romano’s professionalism and commitment to pushing the district toward an A grade; others said they had lost trust in her and called for her resignation.

In August, School Board members Gus Guadagnino, who declined to take the survey despite voting for it, and Mark Johnson questioned the value of the survey. Romano told the Tampa Bay Times that board members Susan Duval and Beth Narverud used it as a "personal attack."

In October, the board evaluated Romano. Guadagnino gave her a perfect score, and Johnson called her "effective to highly effective in moving this district forward in difficult financial times."

Board member Linda Prescott praised Romano’s data-driven instruction but noted shortfalls in "fostering a culture of trust" and communication. Duval said she had concerns about staff turnover and Romano’s ability to maintain relationships.

Narverud was the most harsh, marking six of nine categories as 1 on a scale of 1 to 3. She criticized Romano for challenging the district-wide survey.

In December, following a board consensus to pay $10,000 for a second survey next year, Romano told the Times the negative results of the first were too vague to be of use to her.

Megan Reeves, Times Staff Writer

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