Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Four Pasco elementary school principals transferred, two assistants promoted

The moment proved bittersweet for Teresa Love as she met with her staff Friday morning.

She hated to tell her Cypress Elementary School staff that she would be leaving in the spring. But the idea of becoming the first principal of Odessa Elementary School positively thrilled her.

"I am extremely flattered that the district would ask me, even consider me, to open a brand new school," Love said later.

The opening of Odessa and Connerton elementary schools, plus the unexpected retirement of Deer Park Elementary principal John Shafchuk, generated the need for new leadership in several Pasco schools.

That prompted the shuffle of a dozen principals and assistant principals at schools across Pasco County.

"We had to fill those," said assistant superintendent Dave Scanga, who announced the shifts early Friday.

The resulting domino effect makes room for the rise of two assistant principals, as well as four principal transfers. The new principal assignments are:

• Love, who will take over at Odessa on March 23.

• Margie Polen, who moves from Gulf Highlands to Deer Park on Feb. 1.

• Jill Middleton, who moves from Sanders to Gulf Highlands on Feb. 1.

• Anna Falcone, who takes a promotion from assistant principal at Pine View to lead Sanders/Connerton effective Feb. 1.

• Deanna Decubellis, who moves from Calusa to Cypress on April 12.

• Kara Merlin, who takes a promotion from assistant principal at Mittye P. Locke to run Calusa on April 12.

The district rarely puts new principals in the position of opening new schools. Falcone said she was honored the district put faith in her to get Connerton ready for its first day while also preparing Sanders for its move to the new campus. She looked forward to working with the staff, students and community to get the school up and running.

"If you have a strong, solid network in the community, it just makes (accomplishing) your goals a lot easier," she said.

In addition to the principal moves, the district also will reassign six assistant principals to new schools. (See box for details.)

Those moves come as the district looks to groom future leaders. The switches have administrators transferring from low-income schools to more wealthy ones, or vice versa, so they can see the different challenges that exist.

"We need those assistant principals to grow professionally and to have experiences," Scanga said. "I'm thinking certainly long term about the organization's need to have leaders ready to replace the current administrators."

Sand Pine Elementary principal Ginny Yanson retires in June, and Schrader Elementary principal Mary Ellen Stelnicki is scheduled to leave in December. Other elementary principals whose retirements are approaching include Barbara Munz (Pasco), Emily Keene (West Zephyrhills) and B.J. Smith (Seven Oaks).

"We're in for a heavy load of retirement," Scanga said.

Three of the new appointments take effect Feb. 1. That's because of the immediate need that Shafchuk's departure created at Deer Park.

The rest will come after the spring FCAT examination period ends, to avoid disrupting schools while children are preparing.

As Love said, while there's excitement in taking on a new challenge, the current demands must come first.

"I am grounded here at Cypress," she said. "I have a job to do while I am here."

The administration likes to move leaders in the spring after the FCAT, though, in order to give them a chance to meet students, staff, parents and community members before summer break begins. That way they can come to understand the school's culture at a time when there's not as much pressure as when the new academic year begins.

Superintendent Heather Fiorentino plans to recommend these appointments, along with the move of Sunlake High principal Angie Stone to open Fivay High, when the School Board meets on Tuesday. The board can reject the nominations only for cause.

Jeffrey S. Solochek can be reached at solochek@sptimes.com or (813) 909-4614. For more education news, visit the Gradebook at blogs.tampabay.com/schools.

Fast facts

On the move

Six Pasco elementary school assistant principals will take transfers as the district prepares them for future principal jobs. Two other schools, West Zephyrhills and Odessa, will advertise assistant principal vacancies, as well. The transfers are:

• Ryan Thompson moves from West Zephyrhills to Pine View

• Debra Mattheus moves from Oakstead to Mittye P. Locke

• Debbie Wichmanowski moves from Longleaf to Sunray

• Stacy Yeretzian moves from Trinity to James M. Marlowe

• Renee Carney-Hill moves from James M. Marlowe to Longleaf

• Shannon Middleton moves from Sunray to Trinity

Source: Pasco County School Board

Four Pasco elementary school principals transferred, two assistants promoted 01/15/10 [Last modified: Friday, January 15, 2010 7:34pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Comedian and activist Dick Gregory dies at 84

    Nation

    The comedian Dick Gregory rose to national prominence in the early 1960s as a black satirist whose audacious style of humor was biting, subversive and topical, mostly centered on current events, politics and above all, racial tensions. His trademark was the searing punchline.

    Dick Gregory, a comedian, activist and author, died Saturday. [Tribune News Service, 2011]
  2. Winter Haven police investigating armed robbery at Dollar General

    Crime

    WINTER HAVEN — Police are investigating an armed robbery Friday night of a Dollar General store on W Lake Ruby Drive.

  3. Rowdies settle for draw at home

    Soccer

    ST. PETERSBURG — The good news for the Rowdies is that they still haven't lost a game at Al Lang Stadium since late April. The bad news is they had to settle for a 1-1 tie against Ottawa on Saturday night in front of 6,710 sweaty fans.

  4. Bats come to life, but Rays' freefall continues (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG —The six runs seemed like a ton, just the second time the Rays had scored that many in a game during their numbing two-plus-weeks stretch of offensive impotency, and amazingly, the first time at the Trop in nearly two months.

    Lucas Duda connects for a two-run home run in the sixth, getting the Rays within 7-5. A Logan Morrison home run in the ninth made it 7-6, but Tampa Bay couldn’t complete the comeback.
  5. 'Free speech rally' cut short after massive counterprotest

    Nation

    BOSTON — Thousands of demonstrators chanting anti-Nazi slogans converged Saturday on downtown Boston in a boisterous repudiation of white nationalism, dwarfing a small group of conservatives who cut short their planned "free speech rally" a week after a gathering of hate groups led to bloodshed in Virginia.

    Thousands of people march against a “free speech rally” planned Saturday in Boston. About 40,000 people were in attendance.