Pinellas County school officials plan to announce today a shake-up that could change the leadership at several schools this fall.
Superintendent Julie Janssen and deputy superintendent Jim Madden said Wednesday that they've spoken to 25 to 30 employees since Friday about changing up principals and assistant principals at some campuses.
"We're trying to really look at the best fit for our schools," Janssen said.
She said she couldn't confirm just yet what schools are in play.
But when asked about rumors at John Hopkins Middle School in St. Petersburg, Janssen said it is one school under discussion.
Disciplinary issues at John Hopkins launched it into the news this spring. But Janssen said in March that she supported keeping principal Claud Effiom in place.
Janssen and Madden said Wednesday that they plan to have a list of changes prepared by this afternoon to share with the Pinellas School Board and media.
Under the new scenario, some schools could lose an assistant principal. But the total number of assistant principals in the district is unlikely to change.
The point of the change is not to save positions, Janssen said, but to match employee strengths and personalities with the needs of schools.
School Board members will have to vote on any reappointments.
Pinellas County is heading into a tough year of intense budget cuts coupled with academic challenges that have four south Pinellas high schools under state oversight due to poor student test scores.
Yet Janssen has already told School Board members she doesn't plan to make principal changes at Boca Ciega High or Dixie Hollins High, two of the three D schools where extra intervention is planned in 2010-11. Paula Nelson will continue leading Boca Ciega and Michael Bohnet will remain principal of Dixie Hollins.
At the third school, Lakewood High, Janssen already announced retiring principal Dennis Duda would be replaced with Osceola Middle principal Bob Vicari.
About all the hubbub, talk and worries at local schools nervous about the changes, Janssen said she understands and hopes to fill the information gap soon.
"We're not holding out, I promise," she said. "And we've heard so many rumors ourselves. Some of them are so off base."
Rebecca Catalanello can be reached at email@example.com or (727) 893-8707.