Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

New Hernando school superintendent focuses on first 100 days

Lori Romano has impressed board members.

Lori Romano has impressed board members.

BROOKSVILLE — With school cranking up again Monday for thousands of Hernando County students, newly appointed superintendent Lori Romano has made one thing clear:

She wants to be right there with them.

During the first two days of the new school year, Romano and her two assistant superintendents plan to crisscross the county, visiting each of the district's 23 schools, meeting with students and making their presence felt throughout the district.

"I'm trying to show that we are in this together — that we are a team," she said.

Since taking over as superintendent July 1, Romano has been working at breakneck speed to establish herself in the district. She has met with School Board members, district-level administrators, and community members and organizations. Perhaps most impressively, she already has toured nearly all of the district's schools, conducting two-hour-plus meetings with each principal.

Her efforts are part of her 100-day entry plan, an extensive document Romano created to guide her initial days as a first-time superintendent.

The 10-page plan aims to address three primary goals: developing a strong relationship with the board, assessing the state of the district and meeting with all relevant internal and external parties.

More than a month into the job, School Board members seem pleased. At the end of Tuesday's meeting — Romano's second as superintendent — board members spoke highly of her early efforts.

"Everywhere I've gone, they're talking about Dr. Romano," said board member John Sweeney.

He called her early efforts "really, really impressive."

Board member Gus Guadagnino agreed.

"I'm extremely happy the way you've been out in the community," he told her. "I've seen you all over the place. Happy to see you out there."

Board member Cynthia Moore commended Romano's efforts and her approach to the job.

"I think she's following her plan well," she said. "I think she has a good plan."

So what's in the 100-day plan?

A lot.

While much of it is focused on learning about the district in a general way, Romano identifies some specific areas she wants to highlight and review.

She plans to regularly review attendance data, eventually making recommendations as to how the district can improve student attendance. She will establish a team to review the district's graduation rate and implement initial steps to improve the rate, an area she identified as a problem when she came into the district.

She also will examine the dropout rate, another problem area, and take initial steps to improve that number.

Though she will target these numbers, the 100-day plan doesn't include specific goals to reach. Those will come later.

"The purpose of the entry plan is not about specific initiatives," she said.

Aside from student achievement issues, Romano plans to revamp the way the district communicates with the outside world.

In fact, it's already changing.

Romano has put in place a public information officer — Roy Gordon — as the central point of contact, requiring all media queries to first go through him. The district is also in the early stages of creating a Facebook page to help disseminate its messages, modeling the page closely after the one established by the Pasco County School District.

While many districts across the state have embraced this form of social media, several board members voiced concern about it. Board Chairman Matt Foreman has raised questions about the legal ramifications. Moore noted it was a change from past practice.

"It used to be we recommended that nobody go on Facebook," she said. "That's what every teacher was told when they started teaching here."

By the end of her first 100 days, Romano plans to create a "comprehensive summary" of the information she learned during her tour. She will provide an assessment of the organization and identify any changes she feels need to be made.

Romano said she believes Hernando has all the factors needed to be an A district — not the C it currently holds.

"I will bring my cabinet together to look at the data and formulate a plan to get us to be an A district again," she said.

Danny Valentine can be reached at dvalentine@tampabay.com or (352) 848-1432. On Twitter: @HernandoTimes.

New Hernando school superintendent focuses on first 100 days 08/16/13 [Last modified: Friday, August 16, 2013 4:59pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Southern Heritage group draws fire for posting personal information of Confederate statue opponents

    Politics

    TAMPA — Curtiss Wilson is an 89-year-old Tampa resident who fought in the civil rights movement.

    A report by Save Southern Heritage Florida includes the "affiliation" of more than 100 people who spoke at the July 19 commission meeting in favor of removing  the Confederate monument from in front of the old county courthouse in Tampa. People on the list say the report was meant to intimidate and harrass opponents of the monument. Save Southern Heritage director Doug Guetzloe said the report is "opposition research" meant to to inform elected officials about who was speaking on the issue.
[Save Southern Heritage Florida]
  2. Gen. Votel interview: 'A bit of a stalemate' in Afghanistan, but a chance to optimize gains there

    Military

    In developing the plan for the war in Afghanistan that he announced Monday night, President Donald Trump consulted with advisers including his military leaders throyugh their chain of command.

  3. Water Street Tampa unveils illustrations showing downtown's transformation

    Business

    TAMPA — Water Street Tampa, the sweeping, 50-plus acre redevelopment project in Tampa's urban core, has unveiled new images and video of what the downtown district will look like upon completion.

    Strategic Property Partners released a conceptual image of what the Tampa skyline will look like once its redevelopment of 50-plus acres of downtown will look like. [Photo courtesy of  of SPP]
  4. Bill Nelson shares Rick Scott's cautious stance on Confederate monuments

    Blogs

    On the issue of Confederate monuments, Sen. Bill Nelson is taking the cautious route of Gov. Rick Scott.

  5. St. Pete Beach to vote on loosening drinking rules for hotel guests

    News

    ST. PETE BEACH — The city commission will vote Tuesday night whether to allow alcohol on the beach.

    Registered hotel guests would be able to drink alcoholic beverages at their cabanas on the beach under a new rule the St. Pete Beach City Commission is considering. [Times files]