Tuesday, May 22, 2018
Education

Pinellas chooses new principal for Campbell Park Elementary following racially tinged email

LARGO — Kathleen S. Young-Parker, principal of Cypress Woods Elementary in Palm Harbor, has been tapped to lead Campbell Park Elementary in St. Petersburg following the investigation of former principal Christine Hoffman for issuing a racially insensitive directive to the school staff.

The Pinellas County School Board is expected to vote on Young-Parker's transfer at next week's regular School Board meeting. The change would be effective June 1 for the 2017-18 school year.

Young-Parker, 45, spent two years as the district's director of elementary education before she was appointed principal of Cypress Woods in 2013. She previously worked at Campbell Park as an assistant principal long before the school was under a turnaround process, although her exact dates of employment there could not be immediately confirmed. She has also served as principal of Lakewood and Highland Lakes elementary schools.

Pinellas school superintendent Mike Grego said Young-Parker was a "great choice" to lead Campbell Park.

"First of all, she has a real passion to do this kind of work," he said. "She truly is an accomplished principal. She fit the bill for Campbell Park. She's from that community and lives within that community."

Grego said Young-Parker worked to have all of her teachers at Cypress Woods receive a gifted teaching endorsement. The school, he said, has "record numbers" of students earning a top score of five on the Florida Standards Assessments in English language arts and math.

"She's truly a mover in the educational realm," he said.

Campbell Park is a predominantly black school, and Young-Parker is black. But Grego said race was not a factor in the appointment.

He said her presence would "bring some stability" to the school.

School Board member Terry Krassner, a retired Pinellas principal, said she knew Young-Parker to be a leader among principals for best practices and staying on top of research.

"She's as genuine as they come," she said. "I've always held her in high esteem."

School Board member Carol Cook said she plans to vote in favor of Young-Parker's appointment.

"Everything that I have seen of her has been very professional, very child-oriented, and I think it will be a good move," she said.

District spokeswoman Lisa Wolf said Hoffman is still under investigation for writing to Campbell Park staffers in an April 18 email that "white students should be in the same class" as the school created classroom rosters for the next school year.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act prohibits schools from segregating students "on the basis of race, color, or national origin in making classroom assignments."

Hoffman has since transferred to district headquarters pending the outcome of the investigation. Grego said Tuesday that he instructed District Attorney Laurie Dart to seek a third-party investigator to review the case.

"I want another set of eyes on this," he said.

Contact Colleen Wright at [email protected] or (727) 893-8643. Follow @Colleen_Wright.

 
Comments
Hillsborough school district, teachers move closer to pay deal

Hillsborough school district, teachers move closer to pay deal

TAMPA — The Hillsborough County School District and its teachers’ union moved closer to resolving their salary dispute during Monday’s negotiating session — but stopped short of reaching an agreement.The teachers, who have spent this school year work...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Parents score victory in effort to make travel safer for Westchase students

Parents score victory in effort to make travel safer for Westchase students

TAMPA — Hillsborough County school leaders call it courtesy busing, but to Lauren Hawkins it’s more a matter of life and death.More students living close to their schools in the Westchase community used the Hillsborough school district’s courtesy bus...
Published: 05/21/18
Eckerd College hosts a royal celebration of its own

Eckerd College hosts a royal celebration of its own

A day after England’s royal wedding between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, St. Petersburg hosted a royal celebration of its own. Among the estimated 500 graduates to receive an Eckerd College diploma at Sunday’s graduation ceremony held...
Published: 05/20/18
Updated: 05/21/18

Hooper: SEL lends a solution to the increasingly toxic world of kids

An incident recently arose between students at Jesuit High School and Academy of the Holy Names that involved allegations of cyberbullying, homophobia, misogyny and assault.It only involved a fraction of the students at two of Tampa’s most prestigiou...
Updated: 5 hours ago
At vigil, another school mourns: ‘It is hope in the face of tragedy that brings us together today.’

At vigil, another school mourns: ‘It is hope in the face of tragedy that brings us together today.’

SANTA FE, Texas - They gathered here by the dozens Friday evening, wearing their school colors, T-shirts that said "Texas Tough," while huddling under the shade of a gaggle of pine trees, not 11 hours after the first shots were fired.They came to pra...
Published: 05/19/18
‘I always felt it would eventually happen here’: A Santa Fe High School survivor’s reaction to the shooting

‘I always felt it would eventually happen here’: A Santa Fe High School survivor’s reaction to the shooting

Paige Curry tried to keep calm Friday morning as a gunman tore through her Santa Fe High School, eventually killing 10 people and injuring another 10. The 17-year-old watched as a girl nearby panicked. Curry, herself terrified, considered running out...
Published: 05/19/18
Class of 2018: Meet the valedictorians and salutatorians for Pinellas private high schools

Class of 2018: Meet the valedictorians and salutatorians for Pinellas private high schools

Before they could get away, we asked the top graduates at Pinellas County’s private schools to write a Twitter-length paragraph about what’s on their mind. We suggested they reflect on the past or the future, or talk about the people who helped them ...
Published: 05/18/18
Class of 2018: TBT’s Anita Morgan rises above abuse to thrive

Class of 2018: TBT’s Anita Morgan rises above abuse to thrive

TAMPA — For those who fear there is no hope, or help, or heart left in this world, there is the story of Anita Morgan.There are any number of life-wrenching places to begin …In the middle of the night, in the back of a police car, cruising over the b...
Published: 05/18/18
Class of 2018: TBT’s Anita Morgan rises above abuse to thrive

Class of 2018: TBT’s Anita Morgan rises above abuse to thrive

TAMPA — For those who fear there is no hope, or help, or heart left in this world, there is the story of Anita Morgan.There are any number of life-wrenching places to begin …In the middle of the night, in the back of a police car, cruising over the b...
Published: 05/17/18
Updated: 05/18/18
Florida teacher accused of drowning raccoons in class placed on leave

Florida teacher accused of drowning raccoons in class placed on leave

A Florida teacher was placed on administrative leave after school officials were told that he had students help him drown wild raccoons during class.A 14-second video published by CBS affiliate WKMG showed a group of students filling a tub of water u...
Published: 05/17/18