BROOKSVILLE — Five of the six candidates in the running to take over the reins at Nature Coast Technical High School already work for the Hernando school district, and the sixth used to work there.
Three of the semifinalists already have assistant principal experience at Nature Coast, the county's only magnet high school.
An eight-member screening committee has narrowed down an initial field of 14 applicants to take over as principal, assistant superintendent Sonya Jackson said Monday.
The committee — composed of Nature Coast teachers and administrators along with other district staffers — will interview the candidates Thursday with hopes of submitting two finalists to superintendant Wayne Alexander, possibly that day, Jackson said.
All five of the in-house candidates who applied made the cut.
The six semifinalists:
• Dianne Azzarelli, a former curriculum specialist for the district, was assigned to an assistant principal position at Explorer this year. Azzarelli served as an assistant principal at Nature Coast from January 2005 to November 2007.
• Joy Green, who had served as assistant principal at Nature Coast since 2006, was reassigned this year to the same position at Powell Middle School.
• Toni Ann Noyes served as an assistant principal at Nature Coast when it opened in 2004 and stayed until last year, when she took her current job as principal at West Hernando Middle School.
• Sue Lisk has served as assistant principal at Central High School since 1999.
• Carmine Rufa, the assistant principal at West Hernando Middle, has held assistant principal posts at Powell Middle and Springstead High schools.
• Paul Clemons is principal at East Ridge High in Clermont and has years of experience in Hernando. He worked at Springstead High from 1992 to 2004, holding teacher, guidance counselor and coach positions. He also taught at Hernando High and West Hernando Middle.
Ken Pritz, principal at Hernando High and one of the screening committee members, said the committee was united in its decision to give preference to in-house candidates but not at the expense of quality.
Pritz noted that one candidate already has worked as a principal and the other five have all held No. 2 spots at local schools.
"The assistant principal experience is the best experience you can have as far as trying to become a principal," he said.
The pay range for the position is $76,860 to $87,438, depending on years of experience and education level.
Jackson, formerly the district's executive director of school services, had been tapped by superintendent Wayne Alexander to take over at Nature Coast. She would have replaced Margaret "Tizzy" Schoelles, who was reassigned to Fox Chapel Middle School.
But Jackson applied to be the district's second in command and was selected by Alexander for the job last month.
When he moved Schoelles, Alexander also reassigned Green to Powell Middle School. Green said Monday that she felt compelled to try to return to the Nature Coast "family."
"I'm a high school person," she said, "and that's my home."
Tony Marrero can be reached at email@example.com or (352) 848-1431.