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Hernando schools: administrative changes are like musical chairs

BROOKSVILLE — For the second time in two years, spring has brought a flurry of administrative reshuffling for the Hernando County Schools.

Four schools — Explorer K-8, Nature Coast Technical High, Fox Chapel Middle, and Westside Elementary — will see new principals next fall, superintendent Wayne Alexander told district staff in an e-mail Tuesday.

And a fourth, the STAR alternative school, might not have a principal at all.

"We're in discussions about what we're going to do," Alexander said, referring to plans at STAR, which serves students facing expulsion.

It was only last spring that he shifted nearly a third of the district's principals and reshuffled central office staff, both to resolve inappropriate assignments and to plug a $4.5 million budget gap.

Now, with the stagnant economy and state funding cuts, the district's projected budget deficit has ballooned to $25 million or more. Some of this week's shifts are designed to plug that hole, while others address shortcomings in schools or central office, Alexander said.

Two senior district administrators — school services executive director Sonya Jackson and professional development director Barbara Kidder — will move from central office to school jobs next fall.

Back in 2007, both had been candidates along with Alexander to lead the district as superintendent. Now Jackson will take over the reins as principal at Nature Coast Technical High School. Kidder will become an assistant principal at Explorer K-8.

"I am a team player and I will do whatever's good for Hernando County," Jackson said. "I'm excited about it, because I know that's what's best for the district."

Her central office duties will be assumed by whoever fills the new job of assistant superintendent, Alexander said. The School Board is due to discuss that position at its April 21 meeting.

Kidder, who previously served as director of labor relations and professional standards, admitted to a bit of disappointment at being shifted from her new professional development position after just a year

"(But) I know there's a plan and I'm committed to this district," she added. "Wherever they want me, I'll go."

Every administrator but one will have a new job next fall at the 1,952-student Explorer, which opened last fall under the weight of severe overcrowding. Current principal Dominick Ferello will be reassigned to Westside Elementary, and assistant principals Dana Pearce and Susan Roth have lost their administrative assignments, Alexander said.

Ferello said he was excited to be taking over at Westside for retiring principal Charles Johnson.

"Elementary is my love," he said, referring to his previous work as a principal in Broward County. "I really am thrilled. Westside is a great little school."

Ferello will be replaced at Explorer by current Fox Chapel Middle School principal Ray Pinder.

John Shepherd, current principal at the STAR center, will be moved to the job of assistant principal at Eastside Elementary.

Last spring, Alexander put the $1.2 million program on a list for possible elimination as a cost-saving measure. Officials say they aren't giving up on the center's 97 students, but are considering teaching them in a different location.

"We will be serving them," Jackson said. "We just need to figure out how we're going to go about doing that."

Among the other administrative changes announced this week, Nature Coast principal Margaret "Tizzy" Schoelles will assume the top job at Fox Chapel Middle School.

Curriculum specialists Jeff Yungmann and Dianne Azzarelli assume assistant principal jobs at Nature Coast and Explorer respectively, while Powell Middle School assistant principal Michael Varn will be replaced by Joy Green.

Tom Marshall can be reached at or (352) 848-1431.

Fast facts

New faces in the Hernando Schools

Explorer K-8

Ray Pinder, principal; Barbara Kidder and Dianne Azzarelli, assistant principals

Nature Coast Technical High

Sonya Jackson, principal; Jeff Yungmann, assistant principal

Fox Chapel Middle

Margaret Schoelles,

Westside Elementary

Dominick Ferello, principal

Eastside Elementary

John Shepherd, assistant principal

Powell Middle School

Joy Green

Hernando schools: administrative changes are like musical chairs 04/01/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, April 1, 2009 11:58pm]
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