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. Last steel beam marks construction milestone for Tom and Mary James' museum

    Growth

    ST. PETERSBURG — Tom and Mary James on Wednesday signed their names to the last steel beam framing the 105-ton stone mesa that will be built at the entrance of the museum that bears their name: the James Museum of Western and Wildlife Art.

    The topping-out ceremony of the James Museum of Western & Wildlife Art was held Wednesday morning in downtown St. Petersburg. Mary James (from left), husband Tom and Mayor Rick Kriseman signed the final beam before it was put into place. When finished, the $55 million museum at 100 Central Ave. will hold up to 500 pieces of the couple's 3,000-piece art collection. [Courtesy of James Museum of Western & Wildlife Art]
  2. Florida's school grades improve as educators get the hang of a new system

    Testing

    Following a trend, Florida's school grades showed strong gains in the third year after the state changed its grading formula and the standardized tests that students take every year.

    After finding out earlier Wednesday that her school went from a low C to an A,  Bear Creek Elementary principal Willette Houston celebrates with her students in the YMCA After School program at the school in St. Petersburg. Houston is giving a high five to rising fifth grader Jonaven Viera. Rising 4th grader Jonathan Cafaro is in foreground with his back to camera. [CHERIE DIEZ   |   Times]
  3. Tampa Bay woman, 11-year-old boy had sex up to 20 times the year their baby was born, detectives say.

    Crime

    TAMPA — A woman sexually battered an 11-year-old Brandon boy, got pregnant and raised the baby for three years before a tip led to her arrest, Hillsborough County sheriff's officials said.

    Marissa Mowry, now 25,  had sex as many as 20 times in 2014 with a boy who was 11 when he impregnated her, Hillsborough County detectives allege. [Photo courtesy of Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office]
  4. Heights Public Market to host two Tampa Bay food trucks

    Business

    TAMPA — The Heights Public Market announced the first two food trucks for its "rotating stall," which will feature new restaurants every four months. Surf and Turf and Empamamas will be rolled out first.

    Heights Public Market is opening this summer inside the Tampa Armature Works building.
[SKIP O'ROURKE   |   Times file photo]

  5. Mariners lose lefty Drew Smyly to Tommy John surgery

    Ml

    SEATTLE — Drew Smyly was the centerpiece to one of Seattle's many offseason moves by general manager Jerry Dipoto. He was a priority acquisition as a proven lefty for the rotation the Mariners believed would thrive pitching at Safeco Field.

    Drew Smyly will undergo Tommy John surgery after being diagnosed with a torn ulnar collateral ligament. Seattle announced the diagnosis on Wednesday, ending Smyly's hopes of returning during the 2017 season. [AP photo]