Sunday, June 24, 2018
Education

Principal replaced at struggling West Zephyrhills Elementary School

Pasco County superintendent Kurt Browning has replaced the principal at West Zephyrhills Elementary School, hoping to stave off the need for a state-mandated improvement plan at the school.

Scott Atkins, principal of A-rated Sand Pine Elementary for the past four years, will take over, effective June 1.

Atkins will replace Charlene Tidd, who was transferred to an assistant principal post at Watergrass Elementary on April 3.

Assistant principal Peggy Gilbert is running the school in the meantime.

"West Zephyrhills is one of those schools that is very close to the turnaround option list," Browning said. "Scott provides the leadership that will propel West Zephyrhills to where it needs to be."

Student performance on state testing has declined in recent years at West Zephyrhills, with its school grade slipping to a D in 2016. Atkins, who had not asked for a transfer, said he looked forward to bringing new ideas to improve outcomes.

He said a review of data indicates work can be done to raise the results of the lowest-scoring children, including the provision of added academic supports.

"I definitely feel we can get them off the (differentiated accountability) list," Atkins said. "I'll certainly look forward to that challenge."

Browning suggested that he intended to hand-pick a new principal for Sand Pine, talking around questions about whether he would advertise for the job.

"We're going to put the right-fit principal at Sand Pine," he said.

Contact Jeffrey S. Solochek at (813) 909-4614 or [email protected] Follow @jeffsolochek.

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