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After Hernando's first F, Eastside Elementary principal removed

BROOKSVILLE — Hernando County superintendent Lori Romano vowed late last week to take immediate action after Eastside Elementary became the first school in the county's history to receive an F grade from the state.

On Monday, she made good on her word.

Romano announced that Brooksville Elementary principal Mary LeDoux would take over at struggling Eastside, replacing Tim Urban, who came to the school a year ago, after it had earned a D from the state.

Romano said the F grade was a "strong factor" in removing Urban, but not the only one.

"We really looked across a lot of different data — not just school data," she said.

Among the information she considered: Urban's lack of experience in elementary curriculum and in turning around a school.

She said the school needed someone with a track record.

LeDoux, who has 19 years of administrative experience with the district, has been Brooksville Elementary's principal since January 2005.

Under her leadership, Brooksville Elementary, a Title 1 school, has bolstered its reputation for strong academics, consistently earning A's and B's in the state's accountability system.

Brooksville earned a B for 2012-13, dropping from an A during a year of tougher state standards.

Romano said LeDoux has a maintained a strong record, despite tougher standards and decreasing budgets.

School Board member Cynthia Moore, a frequent volunteer at Brooksville Elementary, said she understood the superintendent's decision.

"She needed a strong administrator," Moore said.

"Is Brooksville upset?" she asked. "I'm sure they will be when they find out."

The district has posted the vacant Brooksville principal's position. Romano expects to have it filled by next week.

Saying she didn't have clearance to speak with the media, LeDoux declined to comment on the move.

Prior to his appointment at Eastside in Hill 'n Dale, Urban was the manager of professional development in the district office.

He has been temporarily named a "principal on assignment," said Heather Martin, the district's executive director of business services. He will help in the district's professional development department, she said.

Urban did not return calls from the Times seeking comment.

In other moves, Romano named longtime administrator Barbara Kidder as the newest principal at Explorer K-8 School in Spring Hill.

Kidder, the district's manager of professional development, has been with the district since 1994. Before working at the district level, she was most recently the principal at Fox Chapel Middle School.

"She comes with experience, both practical and academic," Romano said.

Kidder replaces John Stratton, the new principal at Central High School.

Danny Valentine can be reached at dvalentine@tampabay.com or (352) 848-1432. On Twitter: @HernandoTimes.

After Hernando's first F, Eastside Elementary principal removed 07/29/13 [Last modified: Monday, July 29, 2013 9:29pm]
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