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New Hernando school has 14 candidates for principal

BROOKSVILLE — Fourteen educators are in the hunt for the top job at Hernando's newest school.

Among the hopefuls for the principal post at Winding Waters K-8 are six internal applicants.

"The field is fairly good, from what I can see," superintendent Bryan Blavatt said Wednesday. "I've looked at the trees and the branches, now I have to look at the leaves."

The internal applicants:

• Bev Chapin, principal at Eastside Elementary in Brooksville.

• Rob Dill, assistant principal at Challenger K-8 in Spring Hill and the lead administrator for Quest Academy for the Gifted.

• Lillian DiTucci, assistant principal at Explorer K-8 in Spring Hill.

• Troy LaBarbara, assistant principal at Central High in Brooksville.

• Carmine Rufa, assistant principal at West Hernando Middle in Brooksville.

• Jamie Young, assistant principal at Powell Middle School in Spring Hill.

Of the internal applicants, Chapin has the most administrative experience in Hernando. She took her first assistant principal job at Deltona Elementary in 2001 and moved up to principal in 2005. She was reassigned to Eastside in 2008.

Rufa has served as an assistant principal since 2002, with a year at Springstead High and five years at Powell before moving to West Hernando.

DiTucci landed her first assistant post in 2005 at Deltona. She stayed there for two years and then served two years at Westside Elementary before moving to Explorer.

Young is in her third year at Powell. She previously served as assistant principal for two years at Eastside.

LaBarbara has been at Central since 2009, his first school administrator post.

Dill is the most recent hire, joining the district last summer to take his current job at Quest, but has about a decade of school administrator experience on his resume.

The external applicants are:

• Liz Bretz, a principal for an alternative school in Sangamon County, Ill.

• Nick Campagna, a former school administrator who most recently served as a K-8 assistant principal in Danbury, Conn.

• Christine Cobb, a K-12 principal in White Pine County, Nev.

• Kathleen Crown, a former principal who now serves as educational quality manager for Catapult Learning in Jersey City, N.J.

• Paul J. Eichelkraut, who most recently served as assistant principal for a K-12 alternative school in St. John the Baptist Parish, La.

• Paul S. Kirk, a former school administrator and district superintendent who serves as testing director for Savannah-Chatham County Schools in Georgia.

• Iveta Maska, assistant principal at Fox Hollow Elementary in Port Richey.

• Deborah S. Rife, who most recently served as a principal for Blanchard Valley Schools in Ohio.

A committee headed by assistant superintendent Sonya Jackson will review the applicants and recommend three finalists for Blavatt to interview. As an acting principal, Chapin will also be interviewed. The tentative date is March 11.

The K-5 portion of Winding Waters will open in the fall, and those students will likely begin to fill in the middle school grades in 2012.

Tony Marrero can be reached at (352) 848-1431 or

By the numbers

The Winding Waters K-8 principal's job:


total applicants.

6 applicants already work for the Hernando district.

1 applicant works for Pasco County schools

7 applicants are from out of state.

3 finalists will be chosen from the field.

New Hernando school has 14 candidates for principal 02/23/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, February 23, 2011 8:02pm]
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