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Former Hernando superintendent Wayne Alexander lands six-figure job in Connecticut

BROOKSVILLE — For those who wondered what ever happened to former school superintendent Wayne Alexander, here's your epilogue.

Alexander is back in Connecticut with a six-figure salary as director of a secondary school for special-needs students.

The transition from Hernando County was apparently seamless.

The Hartford Board of Education on Sept. 22 appointed Alexander as director at the 2550 Main Street Academy, David MacDonald, second vice chairman, confirmed Monday.

The academy opened this year, MacDonald said.

"We were very excited to have someone of his caliber take a position like that," MacDonald said. "That's going to be a very crucial school for us as we try to provide more services to special- needs children."

The primary focus of the job is to "develop, implement and supervise best practice behavioral and instructional interventions for students with emotional disabilities and challenging behaviors," according to a description included with an online ad posted in July.

The director supervises special and general education teachers and support staff. The job requires an advanced degree in special education or a related mental health field; Alexander has a master's degree in school administration and special education administration.

The salary range for the job is listed on the ad as $114,506 to $124,659.

It's unclear how much Alexander earns in the new position or when he actually started the job. A call to the Hartford district's main office was directed to a spokesman, who did not return a message.

Alexander did not return a message left at his office.

Alexander, who started in Hernando in July 2007, received a salary here of $132,745.

Hartford officials wanted Alexander quickly, MacDonald said. His appointment was listed on the board's agenda for a regular meeting slated for Sept. 22. But according to the agenda item, the appointment took effect retroactively on Sept. 14 —three days after his last day in Hernando County.

The timing clearly worked out well for the man who'd served as a lightning rod of controversy here.

Alexander announced last fall that he was looking for jobs in New England. He wanted to move his new wife and her two children from Connecticut to Florida but was blocked by a child visitation dispute with her ex-husband.

At least two Hernando School Board members felt he breached his contract by not properly notifying the board. Those concerns were raised again early this year when the board learned from reporters that Alexander was a finalist for a job in Massachusetts. Alexander said in the future he would notify the board when he got that far in the job application process.

On Aug. 11, then-Chairwoman Dianne Bonfield announced that she no longer supported Alexander, tipping the balance on the board against him. The board directed its attorney to begin negotiations with Alexander for his early departure.

The ad for the Hartford job was posted on July 27 and closed on Aug. 7, so he likely had already applied by the time Bonfield made her announcement.

An early separation deal with Alexander was made public Aug. 24. The board approved the pact three days later: His last day would be Sept. 11 — nine months before the end of his contract —and he would get an additional 30 days worth of salary and benefits. After tax deductions, the district eventually cut a check for $14,383.62.

Alexander had declined to comment during his last week here when asked by the St. Petersburg Times about any job prospects. But Alexander, who served as a special education teacher and principal in Massachusetts in the 1980s, had said he felt drawn to return to that niche and wondered if the often grueling nature of a superintendent position was right for a person with a young family.

Perhaps by then, he already knew he was bound for Hartford.

The board chose Sonya Jackson, formerly executive director of school services, to serve as interim superintendent until a permanent replacement is hired. Jackson has said she intends to apply, but so far is not among the seven applications the district has received.

The application period for the job closes Oct. 30 and the board expects to have someone in place by July 1.

Board member Sandra Nicholson said Monday she hadn't heard about Alexander's new post.

"I'm glad he's got some kind of income coming in. He's got a family," Nicholson said. "I'm happy for him. I wish him well."

Tony Marrero can be reached at tmarrero@sptimes.com or (352) 848-1431.

Former Hernando superintendent Wayne Alexander lands six-figure job in Connecticut 10/05/09 [Last modified: Monday, October 5, 2009 8:09pm]
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