BROOKSVILLE — Superintendent Bryan Blavatt has tapped new leaders for two Hernando schools that will lose principals to retirement next month.
Lisa Braithwaite, assistant principal at Suncoast Elementary, will move up to the school's top spot when longtime principal Jean Ferris leaves June 30.
Barbara Kidder, an assistant principal at Explorer K-8 in Spring Hill, will take over nearby Fox Chapel Middle School for Margaret "Tizzy" Schoelles, who also retires at the end of June.
"It was tough," Blavatt said. "There were exceptionally good groups of finalists for each of the positions."
Braithwaite and Kidder have at least one thing in common: They both started with the district at Suncoast, Kidder in 1994 and Braithwaite in 1996Braithwaite, 40, served as a teacher there until 2002, when she was named assistant principal. She has held that post ever since. "She's demonstrated skill as an assistant principal," Blavatt said.
Braithwaite said she is excited to achieve her long-term goal to become a principal at the elementary level, and all the better at the school she knows so well.
"I think it's going to be a real seamless transition for the faculty and staff as well as the families that have been a part of Suncoast," Braithwaite said.
Kidder, 55, started as a dropout prevention teacher at Suncoast and was named assistant principal at Fox Chapel in 1999. She moved to district headquarters in 2002 as supervisor of human resources, then served as human resources director before being named director of labor relations and professional standards in 2005.
Kidder applied for superintendent in 2007. Wayne Alexander got the job and two years later asked Kidder to help out by serving as assistant principal at Explorer, which opened in 2008 and saw a challenging first year marked by overcrowding. Kidder applied for the district's resurrected assistant superintendent post last year.
"I just feel very excited and blessed to have this opportunity to go home," Kidder said of her return to Fox Chapel.
The hirings are the first administrative assignments for Blavatt, who started April 1.
Tony Marrero can be reached at (352) 848-1431 or [email protected]