A dozen Pasco County schools will begin the 2010-11 academic year with different principals than they had at the start of last year. Here's a little bit about the new leaders.
Kara Merlin, Calusa Elementary
Past post: Assistant principal, Mittye P. Locke Elementary
Replaces: Deanna DeCubellis
Favorite way to relax: "I try to run every morning before work and I play volleyball once a week. I love spending time with my family — usually watching some type of sporting event because we are all huge Rays and Bucs fans."
Why she is a teacher: "Just like most teachers, I get personal satisfaction when others can accomplish something as a result of their interaction with me. I consider it a privilege to be a small piece of a child's journey into adulthood."
Hilda Martin, Chasco Elementary
Past post: Assistant principal, Deer Park Elementary
Replaces: Dolly Gauvey
Favorite movie: Pay It Forward
Favorite part of the school day: "I love content! I love the times when you assist students in learning new information. It is particularly exciting when they demonstrate that they grasp and/or apply the concepts taught."
Anna Falcone, Connerton Elementary
Past post: Assistant principal, Pine View Elementary
Replaces: New school
Favorite book: Anything by James Patterson
Primary goal for 2010-11: "High quality education is always a primary goal but opening a new school is very special. This year I will also be focusing on beginning wonderful traditions and memories at Connerton with the students, faculty, staff and community members."
Deanna DeCubellis, Cypress Elementary
Past post: Principal, Calusa Elementary
Replaces: Teresa Love
Favorite cafeteria meal: Nacho/taco day
Favorite part of the school day: "I have two favorite parts of the school day. One is when students are arriving each morning. I love greeting them and seeing the smiles on their faces as they anticipate the upcoming day. The other is when I spend time in classrooms talking with students about what they are learning."
Margie Polen, Deer Park Elementary
Past post: Principal, Gulf Highlands Elementary
Replaces: John Shafchuk
Editor's note: Polen did not respond for this story.
Angie Stone, Fivay High School
Past post: Principal, Sunlake High School
Replaces: New school
Favorite book: To Kill A Mockingbird
Why she is a teacher: "I love working with kids, love watching them learn, want to instill a love of learning and the belief that they can be successful if they work hard."
Jill Middleton, Gulf Highlands Elementary
Past post: Principal, Sanders Elementary
Replaces: Margie Polen
Favorite way to relax: "Curling up with my little one to watch a movie, watching my little one play dress up with her daddy, and reading a book that isn't 'required' reading."
Primary goal for 2010-11: "To make learning the priority, not teaching. We can do lots of teaching, but they need to be getting something out of it for it to really be quality teaching."
Teresa Holback, Hudson Middle School
Past post: Assistant principal, Bayonet Point Middle School
Replaces: Phil Kupczyk
Favorite movie: It's a Wonderful Life
How to deal with discipline: "I believe in being fair, consistent and firm. I believe in setting clear expectations and providing follow through."
Todd Cluff, Sand Pine Elementary
Past post: Assistant principal, Sand Pine Elementary
Replaces: Ginny Yanson
Favorite cafeteria meal: Mashed potatoes with turkey gravy lunch
Favorite part of the school day: "The morning as the students arrive. I try to greet them and make them smile. I laugh a lot with them as they pour onto our campus."
Garry Walthall, Sunlake High School
Past post: Assistant principal, Sunlake High School
Replaces: Angie Stone
Favorite way to relax: Triathalons and golf
How to deal with discipline: "Depends on the infraction. Starts with verbal reminders and the level of the consequence increases with the number of incidents."
Rick Saylor, Moore-Mickens Education Center
Past post: Principal, Irvin Education Center
Replaces: Steve Cox
Favorite movie: The Blind Side
Primary goal for year: "To continue the work that Mr. Cox did in making MMEC a place where all students have 'A Chance for Change' and a place where they can experience success."
Teresa Love, Odessa Elementary
Past post: Principal, Cypress Elementary
Replaces: New school
How to deal with discipline: "I believe in dealing with it positively, dealing with it individually. I think the more you communicate with them on a level they understand, and use love and logic, you're going to get a lot more from them."
Primary goal for 2010-11: "For everyone to have a successful year. That means I want the kids to enjoy school and I want to see significant learning gains. … I want the teachers to enjoy their first year at Odessa. … And I want the families to be happy that their kids are here."
Still vacant: Irvin Education Center