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Familiar name wants to lead county schools

Pinellas School Board members will meet Friday to begin discussions on how to replace outgoing superintendent Clayton Wilcox. But a big name in local education circles is showing early interest in the job.

Mike Grego, Hillsborough County's assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, told the board he'd like to be Pinellas' next superintendent.

"I recognize that the search for the superintendent has not been officially advertised, but I want to be proactive and express my sincere desire to lead the Pinellas County School District as its next superintendent," Grego wrote in a two-page letter that came with his nine-page resume.

Grego, 50, was a finalist to be Hillsborough's superintendent in 2005 and is one of 44 candidates for the superintendent's job in Osceola County.

Wayne Blanton, the executive director of the Florida School Boards Association who is conducting the Osceola search, called Grego a top-notch candidate.

"He has a very good chance of being a finalist in Osceola," said Blanton, adding: "He will be a superintendent some day."

In his letter to the School Board, Grego cited Hillsborough's student achievement gains, his knowledge of Pinellas County and his policy experience, saying he would be "a perfect choice for your district."

He said he lives near the Hillsborough-Pinellas border, has family in Pinellas and goes to church there. He wrote that he is familiar with Pinellas' student assignment plan, its bus system issues, its magnet programs, plus "the state of teacher morale and your progress closing the achievement gap."

Grego didn't say it in the letter, but Hillsborough has outpaced Pinellas on several measures in recent years, most notably the graduation rate and minority student performance.

Several other candidates for the job have surfaced. Among them: Wilcox's top deputies, Julie Janssen and Harry Brown, and Leon T. Hobbs, an associate superintendent who has been a superintendent in two other counties.

Earlier this week, Lew Williams, who retired in 2005 as an area superintendent in Pinellas, said he would serve as interim superintendent if asked.

Wilcox has accepted a job in New York with Scholastic Corp. and has asked the board to release him from his contract by June 1.

Thomas C. Tobin can be reached at tobin@sptimes.com or (727) 893-8923.

Familiar name wants to lead county schools 04/24/08 [Last modified: Sunday, April 27, 2008 2:12pm]
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