New principal named at Moton Elementary School

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BROOKSVILLE — The Hernando County School District has hired an administrator from Lake County to take over as the principal at troubled Moton Elementary School.

Joe Frana, who has 25 years of experience as an educator, including as a principal at an elementary school in Lake County, was selected partly at the recommendation of a school-based interview committee.

Frana has experience improving the performance of schools and "an irrepressible spirit of positivity," according to an announcement released by Hernando School District spokeswoman Karen Jordan.

The district also named an assistant principal for the school, Cari O'Rourke, who is currently assistant principal at Westside Elementary, which in the last school year improved its state grade from a D to a B.

A previous principal at Moton, Mark Griffith, and assistant Anna Jensen were removed from the school during a district investigation last spring. The school's grade also slipped to a D, and it is the only Hernando elementary school on the list of the 300 lowest-performing schools in the state.

Griffith's supporters at the school said he was handicapped by a shortage of resources, including teachers and aides in the school's classes for students with learning disabilities. Jamie Young, who was named to replace Griffith in the spring, made the same claim when she abruptly resigned from the job at the beginning of the school year. Superintendent of schools Lori Romano said the school receives the same level of support as other schools with similar populations.

Retired principal Marvin Gordon served as interim principal at Moton after Young's departure.

Contact Dan DeWitt at [email protected]; follow @ddewitttimes.

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