SAN ANTONIO — Pasco schools superintendent Heather Fiorentino usually looks to district insiders to lead local schools.
Most often, she taps current principals or assistant principals with experience at more than one school. Only rarely does an outsider capture her attention.
Kay Coe is one of those exceptions.
Coe, principal for the past decade at Nixon Elementary in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, is Fiorentino's selection to run San Antonio Elementary, which has been without a principal since April. Vanessa Hilton, the former principal, was promoted to district curriculum and instruction director, and has been doing both jobs in the interim.
Coe, who has a daughter who teaches in Pasco County, has been in the principal pool for a couple of years.
Assistant superintendent David Scanga said Coe's experiences in Iowa make her a great fit for San Antonio.
"She is very impressive," Scanga said. "She comes with great qualifications."
She was her district's 2010 elementary administrator of the year, and its 1996 reading teacher of the year. Her school won a 2009 national Blue Ribbon for high achievement. Coe also is well versed in some key projects San Antonio has undertaken, including Response to Intervention and professional learning communities.
She was not available Friday to comment for this story, but in her application letter to the district she wrote:
"I have had a very successful career, love being a building principal and seek new opportunities for personal and professional growth. I believe my leadership skills, passion for making a difference, and my ability to create school-wide systems that ensure success for all would be an asset to any school system."
Her name goes to the School Board on Tuesday for approval. She is expected to arrive here later in June.
Jeffrey S. Solochek can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (813) 909-4614. For more education news, visit the Gradebook at www.tampabay.com/blogs/gradebook.