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Months after rape allegations, Walker Middle School will get new principal

TAMPA — When Walker Middle School makes a fresh start in August, it will do so with a new principal.

Kathleen Hoffman, who led the school through its hardest spring following allegations of a brutal locker room rape, will retire this summer from Hillsborough County schools.

Four students have pleaded not guilty to adult charges of sexual battery, accused of raping a 13-year-old classmate on four occasions at the school with a broom and hockey stick.

The incidents, which occurred between March and May, prompted calls for the district to quickly implement a comprehensive policy to combat bullying.

But Lewis Brinson, assistant superintendent for administration, said Hoffman had been considering retirement for some time, and her decision had nothing to do with the locker room incident.

On Tuesday the School Board is slated to choose a successor to lead the Odessa school. Brinson said a replacement has not yet been chosen, with final interviews scheduled for Monday.

Among the candidates are eight assistant principals in the Hillsborough County school district, as well as a substitute teacher and another employee. Three principals from Pennsylvania and Georgia, and assistant principals from Ohio and Polk County have also applied.

Reach Tom Marshall at tmarshall@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3400.

Months after rape allegations, Walker Middle School will get new principal 07/08/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, July 8, 2009 11:41pm]

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