A middle school principal is being tapped for the top job at Gibbs High School in St. Petersburg.
Interim Pinellas County school superintendent John Stewart is recommending that Stephanie Adkinson, the principal at Tyrone Middle School in St. Petersburg, replace Kevin Gordon, who is stepping down as Gibbs principal this month to become a provost at St. Petersburg College.
The School Board is expected to vote on the recommendation next week.
"She comes highly recommended from just about every district staff member to whom I spoke," Stewart said.
"I'm really flattered and humbled at the same time," said Adkinson. "And then it turns to bittersweetness because we worked so hard as a staff at Tyrone."
Gordon is credited for beginning a turnaround at Gibbs, which earned an F grade in 2009 and has been under state oversight. The school got a C last year.
Adkinson worked at Pinellas Park High for 19 years, all but two of those as a teacher. She was an assistant principal at Morgan Fitzgerald Middle for six years before becoming Tyrone's leader in 2003. Tyrone earned two B's and six C's during her tenure.
Both Stewart and Adkinson said that big challenges remain for Gibbs. Tops on the priority list: improving reading skills.
The percentage of Gibbs students reading at grade level or above last year was 36 percent, the same as it was in 2007. The percentage of nonmagnet students reading at grade level last year was 9 percent.
"We really, really want to continue that journey, as far as pushing that reading initiative with the kids," Adkinson said. "But certainly I will have to listen to staff and see what they're thinking is, to see what some of their suggestions are."
Adkinson was making $90,763 annually at Tyrone. It hasn't been determined what her salary at Gibbs would be.
Stewart is also recommending that Robin Mobley, an assistant principal at Gibbs, become acting principal at Tyrone. Mobley was an assistant principal at Tyrone before moving to Gibbs.
Ron Matus can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 893-8873.