Thursday, November 23, 2017
Education

Board appoints new principal at school where girl drowned

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TAMPA — A new principal has been appointed to run the school where lax supervision led to a student drowning in a nearby pond last year.

In a move approved Tuesday by the Hillsborough County School Board, Michael Miranda will be the new principal of Rodgers Middle School, effective March 4.

Miranda, now principal of Progress Village Middle School, replaces Sharon Tumicki, who was demoted and reassigned in the aftermath of the drowning in October.

Jennifer Caballero, 11, was a student with Down syndrome who wandered away from a crowded physical education class. Her body was recovered that evening in a retention pond behind the media center.

In a school district investigation, Tumicki was criticized for not knowing written emergency procedures and not taking action when she learned that exceptional student education aides were not engaging with the students during gym class. Some of the aides told investigators they had little or no emergency training.

Jennifer's death and that of special-needs student Isabella Herrera resulted in a districtwide effort to improve safety in exceptional student education. Two ESE aides and an assistant principal were dismissed at Rodgers as well. Miranda, 44, joined the district in 1991.

Also Tuesday, the school board named Matthew DiPrima, currently assistant principal of Bartels Middle School, as principal of Burns Middle School.

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