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Pinellas School Board member objects to choice of facilitators for Janssen session

LARGO — Pinellas County School Board member Linda Lerner has raised concerns about some of the plans for a meeting next week in which the board will discuss the job performance of superintendent Julie Janssen.

The meeting on Thursday is expected to air concerns the board has about Janssen's leadership. Janssen said Tuesday she'd welcome such a discussion, but suggested a "facilitator" be present to help guide the conversation.

Board chairwoman Carol Cook said she liked the idea. It would allow her the opportunity to be more involved in the conversation without, she said, appearing to steer the discussion in one direction or the other because of her usual role shepherding meetings.

So, on Thursday, Cook confirmed she'd asked state Sen. Bill Montford of the Florida Association of District School Superintendents and Wayne Blanton of the Florida School Boards Association to be present.

Now, board member Lerner said that's not what she had in mind. After learning the news, Lerner sent an e-mail to the other board members, Janssen and board attorney Jim Robinson saying she was "very surprised and distressed" by the choice.

"I think they're both extremely qualified executive directors," she said Friday. "I just don't understand what their role is going to be. And two of them? I don't think that's what the board asked for."

Lerner asked that if other board members also have concerns that they talk to the board's secretary.

Cook did not return a phone call for comment Friday. But on Thursday, she told the Times she felt the two men come with an important knowledge base: "It's people who really know the job and how it's supposed to work," she said.

The meeting takes place at 9 a.m. Thursday at the district's headquarters in Largo.

Pinellas School Board member objects to choice of facilitators for Janssen session 06/17/11 [Last modified: Friday, June 17, 2011 9:19pm]
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