Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pinellas schools to investigate administrator's role in hiring of daughter's boyfriend

LARGO — The Pinellas County School District will investigate a troubled administrator who played a role in the hiring and employment of her daughter's boyfriend.

Janet Hernandez was the director of professional development last school year when she helped hire Michael Hernandez (the same last name is a coincidence) for a special teaching job at Gibbs High School. District officials told the St. Petersburg Times for a Sept. 21 story that she did not disclose the close, personal nature of their relationship.

Schools spokeswoman Andrea Zahn said in an initial e-mail Monday that there was no pending investigation. About an hour later, after the Times asked why no investigation was planned, Zahn sent a second e-mail, saying she had a chance to talk with deputy superintendent Jim Madden.

"He has had an opportunity to confer with staff and review relevant information and has decided that his office will investigate the handling of the matter in question," she wrote.

School Board chairwoman Janet Clark, reached after the initial e-mail, said she assumed there would be an investigation — and that there needs to be one.

"If it were a teacher, if it were anyone else, there would be an investigation," Clark said. "Maybe we are wrong. Maybe there was nothing inappropriate about (Janet Hernandez's role). But … an investigation would tell us."

Michael Hernandez, who had been dating Janet Hernandez's daughter for at least two years, was a highly regarded science teacher in Hillsborough County when he wrote to her, seeking an administrative job in Pinellas. As head of professional development, Janet Hernandez oversaw the process Pinellas uses to determine who can be an assistant principal.

Janet Hernandez wrote a reference letter for Michael Hernandez and contacted another reference on the district's behalf. The Gibbs job he landed was considered an extension of the professional development office. It was not posted for applications.

Records show Janet Hernandez later signed off on three part-time jobs for him.

Board policy bars employees from holding employment relationships that create conflict between "his/her private interests and the performance of his/her public duties."

Michael Hernandez is now an assistant principal at Northeast High.

Janet Hernandez's job is in flux. Superintendent Julie Janssen, who knows Janet Hernandez from graduate school, wrote her a glowing recommendation when she applied to work for the district in 2008. But employees in professional development said she created a climate of fear and chaos. Janssen removed her over the summer and recommended she become director of dropout prevention. But the School Board shot down that move on a 5-2 vote.

Janssen is now recommending that Janet Hernandez become a program specialist in special education, working out of Richard L. Sanders School in Pinellas Park. That job was not posted, either.

"We don't always post all positions, particularly when we are seeking alternative placements," said Harriet Konstantinidis, the interim assistant superintendent for human resources. "In this situation, the directive was to seek an alternative placement for Dr. Hernandez."

The School Board will vote on the new job Oct. 12.

Ron Matus can be reached at or (727) 893-8873.

Pinellas schools to investigate administrator's role in hiring of daughter's boyfriend 09/27/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, September 28, 2010 9:12pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Jones: Bucs need success to get national respect


    Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones offers up his Two Cents on the world of sports.

    No respect

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter walks the field during the second day of mandatory minicamp at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday, June 14, 2017. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times
  2. Hopes fade after landslide destroys Chinese village (w/video)


    Crews searching through the night in the rubble left by a landslide that buried a mountain village under tons of soil and rocks in southwestern China found 15 bodies, but more than 110 more people remained missing.

    Vehicles and people line a road leading to the site of a landslide in Xinmo village in Mao County on Saturday in southwestern China’s Sichuan Province. More than 100 people remained missing after the village was buried under tons of rocks and soil.
  3. Rookie Jake Faria dissatisfied with performance in Rays' loss to Orioles

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The rookie pitcher walked to his locker Saturday after tossing the fourth quality start in as many tries to begin his career. He held the potent Orioles bats to three runs and for six innings gave his team a chance to win.

    Orioles third baseman Manny Machado tags out the Rays’ Mallex Smith at third after a rundown in the first inning.
  4. Thousands converge in two St. Pete locations celebrating LGBT rights

    Human Interest

    ST. PETERSBURG — Tom Rockhill didn't know what to expect Saturday, but by noon people were knocking on the door of his bar Right Around the Corner in Grand Central.

    (From left to right) Emma Chalut 18, gets a rainbow sticker on her cheek from her sister Ellie, 15 both of Jacksonville before the annual St. Pete Pride parade in downtown St. Petersburg on Saturday. This year the route was changed from the Grand Central and Kenwood area to Bayshore Drive.
[EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times]
  5. Retired Florida Supreme Court Justice Parker Lee McDonald dies

    TALLAHASSEE — A former Florida Supreme Court justice, who wrote a decision that prevented lawyers from excluding jurors because of their race, has died.

    Former Florida Supreme Court Justice Parker Lee McDonald died Saturday, the court said in a statement. He was 93.