LARGO — The Pinellas County School District's No. 2 administrator announced Tuesday that he will retire June 30 after 25 years with the district.
Deputy superintendent Harry Brown surprised School Board members gathered for a workshop with the news that he has accepted a position as principal of Renaissance College, a private International Baccalaureate school in Hong Kong.
"I've been wanting to get back to teaching, and I've wanted to do that in an IB school," said Brown, who was IB coordinator at Palm Harbor University High from 2001 to 2004. "It's been a wonderful run. It just comes down to the fact that I want to work with kids again."
Brown, 46, came to Pinellas in 1984 as a teacher at Northeast High School. He taught at St. Petersburg High and Lealman Discovery before becoming an assistant principal at Largo High in 1995.
Then-superintendent Clayton Wilcox promoted him to deputy superintendent for curriculum and instruction in 2006.
As deputy superintendent, he created the office of advanced studies and academic excellence and supervised the AVID program, which challenges minority students to take Advanced Placement classes and other accelerated coursework.
Superintendent Julie Janssen told board members she has no plans to replace Brown, whose annual salary is $128,600. Instead, Janssen said, she will rely on assistant superintendent Jim Madden, who is in charge of student assignment.
"It's going to be tough," Janssen said. "Harry and I go so far back he's like one of my kids."
School Board member Linda Lerner, whose son graduated from the IB program at St. Petersburg High in 1992 when Brown taught there, said she's happy for him even though she's sorry to see him leave.
"It's a loss," Lerner said, "but I think it's something he really wants to do. And he'll do it well."