Thursday, February 22, 2018
Education

Principal to become assistant superintendent for middle schools

Marcy Hetzler-Nettles, the principal at River Ridge Middle School since 2014, will become the Pasco County School District's next assistant superintendent for middle schools.

Hetzler-Nettles emerged as the leading candidate after superintendent Kurt Browning met with several applicants from both inside and outside the district. Browning recently reorganized his leadership team, re-establishing the assistant superintendent for middle schools position after four years without one.

"(Deputy superintendent) Ray (Gadd) and I interviewed eight candidates for this position and are both in agreement that Marcy is the candidate that will serve our middle schools very well," Browning told School Board members.

Hetzler-Nettles, 47, taught at Wesley Chapel High and has been an assistant principal at three county high schools since joining the district in 2004. Her spouse, Carin Hetzler-Nettles, is principal at Cypress Creek Middle-High School, but district officials said a different assistant superintendent would supervise Cypress Creek.

CHARTER DELAY: A charter school group that spent five years seeking access to Pasco County now has no plan to open in 2017.

Pasco Charter Academy, which has ties to Charter Schools USA, won a contract to open in Pasco in 2016 after enduring a School Board denial, a lengthy battle over terms and other disputes. It decided not to open this past fall, lacking a location, and now has asked to delay its starting date for another year.

School district officials recommended the School Board approve the request. But they've also advised that time on the five-year contract is ticking away.

"The second planning year does not extend the term of this contract," superintendent Kurt Browning wrote in his agenda item. "Failure to open the school within two years is good cause for termination of this charter."

The group already has backed out of Pasco County once, in 2014, when it could not find a school site to its liking.

HELPING HAND: Once upon a time, when it had more space available, Mittye P. Locke Elementary School ran a clothes closet for area families.

"There's no longer a clothes closet, but there's definitely a need," parent involvement coordinator Andrea Morrow said.

Last Saturday, the school again opened its doors to children and parents to get any needed attire. With the help of a Wisconsin-based nonprofit group, the school collected more than 3,000 new items to distribute.

"We had our school pay for shipping with ABC funds," Morrow said, referring to the district's charitable support program. "Since we are a Title I school, we have a lot of families with clothing needs."

Because the endeavor takes significant time and effort, Morrow said, leaders from other area campuses declined to join in this time. But its success means many more might take part in similar activities in the future.

Mittye P. Locke also is looking at how it can expand its efforts. Some parents mentioned that they have lightly used clothing they might be able to donate, and so staff members have started talking about a clothing swap later in the year.

ON THE DOCKET: The lawyer for two groups challenging the Pasco County School Board's recent attendance boundary revisions has asked for more time to prepare his case.

In filings with the Division of Administrative Hearings, attorney Robert Stines of the Phelps Dunbar law firm has requested "at least 30 days" beyond the current scheduled hearing dates of Feb. 27 and Feb. 28 to conduct discovery and otherwise get ready for his case, which alleges the board did not follow proper rule-making procedures in its rezoning effort.

Stines noted that he has a trial scheduled in the days leading to the current dates, and suggested the district will not be prejudiced by this "reasonably short continuance."

District officials, however, have made clear they plan to proceed with their open enrollment school choice efforts, which began Feb. 1. They have suggested that a delay — which some rezoning opponents sought from the outset — could hinder the district's time line to grant students' requests.

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

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