Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

It's a return to roots for new Westside Elementary principal

SPRING HILL — Three decades ago, Nancy Kesselring began her Florida teaching career as a rookie at Westside Elementary. Now, she is coming back to lead the school.

Superintendent Bryan Blavatt has picked Kesselring for the principal post at Westside, a school rocked by controversy last year.

Though she has deep roots in the Hernando County school district, the 55-year-old Kesselring is now assistant principal at Fox Hollow Elementary in New Port Richey. The Westside position will be her first top spot.

"Excited doesn't even begin to sum up my feelings," the Spring Hill resident said Tuesday. "It is a dream finally realized."

Blavatt selected Kesselring over the other finalist, Jamie Young, assistant principal at Powell Middle School. A third finalist, an out-of state applicant, withdrew after landing another position.

"She offered the right fit," Blavatt said of Kesselring. "She's got great experience. She has a real enthusiasm for education and kids, and her record demonstrates she's all about teaching and learning."

A native of New Jersey, Kesselring taught for a few years at a Bahamas mission school before arriving at Westside in 1982. She moved to J.D. Floyd Elementary in Spring Hill in 1986.

Over the next 17 years at Floyd, Kesselring taught kindergarten, first and second grades and served as a media specialist and reading resource teacher. She earned a master's degree in childhood education along the way and in 2003 was promoted to assistant principal.

After four years and a couple of failed attempts to land a principal post in Hernando, she took the job at Fox Hollow with hopes that Pasco, as a larger district, would offer more opportunity.

It's a happy, unforeseen twist to get the job at Westside, Kesselring said, and while she doesn't plan on retiring anytime soon, she hopes to be able to finish her career there. She said her time at Fox Hollow — a Title I community school like Westside — will serve her well.

Kesselring said she is aware of the tension at Westside earlier this year when teachers wrote to the superintendent complaining about principal Dominick Ferello's leadership. Ferello, formerly principal at Explorer K-8, was in his first year at Westside after taking the place of longtime principal Charles Johnson.

Teachers said Ferello bullied staff and made unreasonable demands. Ferello denied those accusations, saying that teachers were unwilling to change the status quo. He volunteered for a reassignment and Blavatt moved him to the vacant assistant principal position at Eastside Elementary in Brooksville.

Kesselring, who is married and has a grown son, said her calm personality and sense of humor should help the school heal. "I have found (those qualities), coupled with my people skills, helps me be successful wherever I am," she said.

Despite a high number of students from low-income families, Westside performs well year after year and earned an A in Florida's state accountability system last year. Even with the turmoil this past school year, Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test scores remained high, according to results released Tuesday.

"This is a high-performing group of teachers, so they don't necessarily need heavy-handed direction, they just need leadership and the freedom to do what works well for them," Blavatt said.

That sounds fine to Kesselring.

"That's a wonderful position as an administrator to come into," she said.

Tony Marrero can be reached at (352) 848-1431 or tmarrero@sptimes.com.

It's a return to roots for new Westside Elementary principal 06/29/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, June 29, 2010 6:56pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Florida wrestling forefathers to be honored

    Human Interest

    TAMPA -- Nicole Alonso and Belinda Romano never had to worry about defending their fathers in a "my dad can beat up your dad" kind of argument.

    A building at the Boys Ranch in Live Oaks was once named in honor of Tampa wrestler Eddie Graham for his financial contributions to the residential care facility for troubled boys.
  2. Tampa's bid for fifth Super Bowl means secret and expensive promises to NFL

    Tourism

    TAMPA — Before Tampa is officially named the host of the 2021 Super Bowl, local organizers have 90 days to convince NFL owners the city can meet certain conditions.

    What are they? That's top secret.

  3. Meet Batman's 8-year-old sidekick, whose super power is vanquishing a brain tumor

    Human Interest

    First, he vanquished a brain tumor.

    Now, Ty Verbanas is preparing to help Batman take on a collection of evil villains.

    Zachary Hurst and TJ McDonnell, playing Alfred the butler and Batman,  welcome 8-year-old Ty Verbanas to the Florida Batcave.
 To inspire Ty as he faced brain surgey, a Florida nonprofit that delpoys super heroes promnised to train the boy as the Caped Crusader's sidekick.
  4. Westshore Marina District project takes shape with another acquisition

    Real Estate

    TAMPA — One of Tampa Bay's prime waterfront areas took another major step toward redevelopment Friday as WCI Communities bought 2.35 acres in Westshore Marina District.

    WCI Communities, Lennar's high-end subsidiary,has paid $2.5 million for 2.35 acres in the Westshore Marina District for 35 townhomes. WCI is under contract  to buy an additional 9.5 acres.
[BTI Partners]
  5. Watch a man steal a lawn mower by driving it off the lot in Clearwater

    Crime

    CLEARWATER — Police are looking for a man who drove a lawn mower straight off the Quality Motors lot on Gulf-to-Bay Boulevard last week.

    Clearwater police are looking for a man who drove a lawn mower off the Quality Motors lot on May 18. (Clearwater police)