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Gulf High School principal leaving position

NEW PORT RICHEY — Tom Imerson is out as Gulf High School's principal, the first of what looks to be a series of administrative changes to come over the summer in Pasco County schools.

"We're looking at multiple areas," assistant superintendent Jim Davis said. "It's more about looking at how we do our business. Is there a way we can be more efficient and effective while utilizing different peoples' skills in different ways?"

Imerson, who has been at Gulf High for 15 years, including six as principal, is headed to the district office for a job that Davis would not describe.

"I don't want to get into specifics because there hasn't been all decisions made," Davis said. "Obviously, it entails other people. … Like anything else, when you make a move, another move follows. Those decisions are still down the road."

Rumors of Imerson's departure from Gulf High have swirled since the district went on spring break in early April. Along with that talk came the speculation that Bayonet Point Middle principal Steve Knobl would slide into Imerson's job at Gulf.

Asked about the buzz at the time, superintendent Heather Fiorentino would only say that Imerson was Gulf's principal as of that day. She would not comment about what might happen into the summer and beyond.

When the board approved administrative reappointments in late April, Imerson's name appeared in the slot for Gulf High principal. No other moves were evident in that document, either.

Gulf High's student newspaper first revealed the news that change is in the air, reporting that Imerson told his school advisory council of his pending departure to a district-level job. Davis said the announcement was somewhat premature, as the reorganization plan is not complete and the School Board has yet to approve any moves.

Board members said they knew nothing of a proposal to revamp the district administration.

"Unless it impacts the budget, the board has no say," said veteran member Marge Whaley. "That's not my job."

She acknowledged that Pasco schools have an administration that runs on one of the lowest costs per student of any district in Florida. But that doesn't mean that reorganization isn't needed, she added, saying, "That's one of the things I respect the

superintendent can do."

Board member Allen Altman said he didn't necessarily mind the superintendent's move to revamp the district staff. He wanted to hear more details about how the changes might save money as the district seeks to streamline its budget by as much as $30-million, though.

He planned to meet with Fiorentino on Monday to talk about budget priorities.

Chairwoman Kathryn Starkey also has a meeting scheduled for Monday to discuss the budget with Fiorentino, at which she expects to learn more details. One of the things Starkey said she would be looking for is how any reorganization would affect student performance.

Imerson is scheduled to remain principal through the school's June 6 graduation.

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.

Gulf High School principal leaving position 05/02/08 [Last modified: Thursday, May 8, 2008 5:37pm]
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