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Seventeen Pasco schools will resume classes with new principals

LAND O'LAKES — When classes resume this month, 17 schools will open their doors with different principals than the person who led the school a year ago.

The shuffling continued as recently as last week, when Superintendent Heather Fiorentino announced Ridgewood High and the Schwettman Education Center would get new principals, and the search would begin for a new leader at Wesley Chapel High.

Here's a rundown of who's in charge now.

Schwettman Education Center: Randy Koenigsfeld, who spent the past six years as Ridgewood's principal, is returning to run the alternative school that he led from 1998 to 2003. Fiorentino said she wanted an experienced leader at the helm as the district undertakes a revamping of its alternative education program.

Ridgewood High: Andy Frelick, who has run Wesley Chapel High for the past decade, will replace Koenigsfeld.

Wesley Chapel High: Position being advertised.

Anclote High: This brand new high school will debut with Monica Ilse in control. Fiorentino plucked Ilse from Land O'Lakes High, which she had run for three years. This marks Ilse's first opportunity to open a new school.

Centennial Elementary: Cindy Harper came out of retirement to take over Centennial when the post became available. She left the district three years ago after holding several administrative jobs, including most recently the principal job at Wesley Chapel Elementary. She taught education classes at Saint Leo University during her time away.

Moon Lake Elementary: Elise Landahl could become the school's first principal in three years to last an entire academic year if she makes it through to June. She moved from the assistant principal's post at Anclote Elementary to take the helm at Moon Lake in the spring, becoming the school's fifth principal in a year.

Watergrass Elementary: The district's new elementary school opens with Scott Mitchell as principal. He moved over from Centennial Elementary. An administrator since 1999, Mitchell also has worked at Denham Oaks and Wesley Chapel elementary schools.

Centennial Middle: Jim Lane makes the move to this east Pasco school after seven years leading neighboring Pasco Middle. Lane hadn't planned the transfer, but was asked if he would be interested after Tom Rulison retired from Centennial. He said he looked forward to the challenges that come with change.

Pasco Middle: Kim Anderson, who lives in Zephyrhills, accepted a transfer to Pasco Middle after having led Pine View Middle for two years. She was an assistant principal at Centennial Middle before joining Pine View.

Pine View Middle: Jennifer Crosby takes the reins of the school where she began as a teacher 14 years ago. She most recently served as assistant principal at Wesley Chapel High School.

Land O'Lakes High: Ric Mellin moved into the school over the spring, becoming Land O'Lakes High's third principal in five years after Ilse left to run Anclote High. He had been principal of Mitchell High since 2005.

Mitchell High: Jim Michaels is Mitchell's third principal in five years, replacing Mellin. Michaels had spent five years at River Ridge High as principal before this appointment. He was a Mitchell assistant principal before taking the River Ridge job.

River Ridge High: Maria Swanson takes her first principal job at the school where her children attended and where she began her career in education. Swanson served as assistant principal at Wiregrass Ranch High before moving over to River Ridge in the spring, taking over for Michaels.

Zephyrhills High: Steve Van Gorden made no secret of wanting to lead Zephyrhills when it became clear that principal Gerri Painter would retire at the end of the year. His plans got accelerated with Painter abruptly resigned after spring break. Van Gorden, who lives in Dade City and serves on the City Council there, had been principal at Hudson Middle.

Hudson Middle: Phil Kupczyk took the helm at Hudson Middle in the spring, replacing Van Gorden. Kupczyk spent one year as assistant principal at Crews Lake Middle before taking this leadership role.

Cox Elementary: Yvonne Reins moved in to lead Cox as it continues to make slight progress toward getting out from under federal sanctions for failing to make adequate yearly progress. She replaces Leila Mizer, who decided to leave the school after 13 years of limited success. Reins, previously principal of Sunray Elementary, speaks Spanish, a plus at this heavily Hispanic school.

Sunray Elementary: Lee Anne Yerkey took her first principal job at Sunray after helping lead Richey Elementary to strong academic gains as that school's assistant principal. She has worked in Pasco schools since 1993.

Seventeen Pasco schools will resume classes with new principals 08/01/09 [Last modified: Saturday, August 1, 2009 11:19am]

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