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Pinellas schools superintendent Julie Janssen says news of tiff is news to her, School Board attorney

Janssen says news of tiff is news to her and attorney

You might have heard about growing tensions between Pinellas County schools superintendent Julie Janssen and School Board Attorney Jim Robinson.

The situation seemed to be getting bad enough that board members raised concerns three weeks ago during an open discussion of Janssen's job performance.

But when the board convened during a workshop Thursday to, among other things, discuss superintendent-attorney relations, Janssen told board members they were working it out themselves.

"Really and truly," Janssen said, "it was news to us that we were ever having a tiff."

Board members appeared relieved that the two sides were talking about how best to organize the attorney's office without their public guidance. But when chairwoman Carol Cook prepared to take the matter off the agenda, board member Robin Wikle pressed for just a few minutes to be able to pose several questions she wants the two sides to agree upon.

Among them: Who on the administrative team can talk to the attorney? Is Janssen satisfied with the assistance she's getting? How will legal advice be communicated to the board? And how will it be communicated to the leadership team?

Janssen took notes as Wikle spoke. "Great questions," she said after Wikle finished.

Robinson said those questions were among the things he and Janssen discussed in a meeting Wednesday. He said they both "share a mutual optimism" that the matters will be resolved.

"I don't think this is an organizational issue," Robinson said. "It's a people issue. It's a relationship issue. … I can say that virtually all of the problems I can think of would have been avoided with earlier communication."

Merit Scholars aplenty in the Tampa Bay area

The Tampa Bay area racked up 89 National Merit Scholarship winners this year, including 76 from traditional public schools. Widely considered to be the best and brightest academic All-Stars, this year's winners include 26 from Pinellas, 56 from Hillsborough, six from Pasco and one from Hernando. Since early April, the National Merit Scholarship Corp. has released four separate lists of winners, the latest coming out this month.

New principals are called to the office

The Pinellas County School District has announced new principals for several elementary schools, pending School Board approval on July 26.

At Oakhurst, Kelly Kennedy is moving up from assistant principal to replace Nanci Wilson, who retired.

At Seminole, Diane Cato is transferring from her position as principal at Lake St. George Elementary to replace Randall DeVries, who has also retired.

And Christine Porter will be the new principal at Melrose Elementary in St. Petersburg. Porter is currently the magnet coordinator at both Bay Point Elementary and Bay Point Middle. She'll be replacing Oscar Robinson, who is retiring.

Times staff

Pinellas schools superintendent Julie Janssen says news of tiff is news to her, School Board attorney 07/16/11 [Last modified: Friday, July 15, 2011 7:05pm]
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