Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

St. Petersburg College taps Gibbs High principal to lead downtown and midtown campuses

ST. PETERSBURG — Kevin Gordon, the Gibbs High principal who is widely credited for jump-starting a turnaround at the long-troubled school, is headed for a top post at St. Petersburg College.

SPC has tapped him to be provost of the downtown and Midtown campuses, replacing Yvonne Ulmer, who is retiring as the campuses' chief executive officer. The two campuses have a total of 3,200 students. He'll begin work Nov. 28.

"St. Petersburg College has worked closely with Gibbs High as Kevin and the Gibbs staff helped their students make impressive gains," SPC president Bill Law said in a written statement Friday. "We know Kevin will bring that same energy and vision to his new role at the college."

"It's bittersweet," Gordon, 47, said about leaving Gibbs, which has about 1,400 students. "It's my alma mater. It's been an absolute labor of love."

Gordon's departure comes at a sensitive time.

Gibbs' test scores and graduation rates are improving, but it remains on "intervene" status, the most dire category in the state's accountability system.

"There were always those who were concerned (about whether) the trend will continue, even with Kevin," said School Board member Lew Williams. "We need to be certain that we get someone who can continue in the direction the school is going."

Former superintendent Julie Janssen recommended Gordon for Gibbs in 2009, just as it became the district's first-ever F-graded high school.

Gordon, a former track and basketball star at Gibbs, boldly promised the next grade would be a B.

He zeroed in on student discipline, promising to confiscate turned-on cell phones and personally cinching up students' droopy pants with zip ties. On academics, he worked closely with the state Department of Education, which put Gibbs under intense oversight.

The result: Gibbs earned a C last December, falling short of a B because of incomplete data. Its FCAT scores this year were among the fastest-rising in the district.

Still, huge challenges remain.

The positive trend lines belie the fact that Gibbs' scores remain among the district's lowest. In reading, 9 percent of its non-magnet students scored at grade level or above last year — the same percentage as the year before.

"If I could have my druthers, I'd keep Kevin there," said interim superintendent John Stewart. "But it's awfully hard to ask a man to turn down a job like a provost at a college."

Gordon said the work at Gibbs is far from done, but momentum will continue. He said teachers and students have bought into new ways of doing things. He noted the state oversight team still visits regularly.

"It wasn't Kevin by himself," he said. "Everyone made the changes at Gibbs happen."

Stewart said it's too early to know who will be Gibbs' next principal. He said he may recommend an acting principal before taking a harder look at a permanent replacement.

Gordon, who will receive his doctorate in educational leadership at the University of South Florida in December, made a base salary of $91,878 as principal. He applied for two district-level administration jobs this year: regional superintendent and chief turnaround officer. Both were given to someone else.

At SPC, Gordon will make $121,177 a year.

Ron Matus can be reached at matus@sptimes.com or (727) 893-8873.

St. Petersburg College taps Gibbs High principal to lead downtown and midtown campuses 10/21/11 [Last modified: Saturday, October 22, 2011 12:23am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rays make Hechavarria trade official

    Blogs

    Here is the release from the team ...

     

  2. Jones: Will Tampa Bay hit a Hall of Fame dry spell now?

    Lightning Strikes

    Marty St. Louis may lack the Hall of Fame stats, but two scoring titles, an MVP award and clutch goals should count for a lot. (Dirk Shadd, Times)
  3. SeaWorld shares drop Monday to 2017 low after disclosure of federal subpoena

    Tourism

    The Orlando parent company of SeaWorld and Busch Gardens theme parks saw its stock drop 3.5 percent Monday to $15.10, its lowest price of this year.

    Killer whales perform at Shamu Stadium at SeaWorld in Orlando in 2011, before public pressure was placed on the theme park company to curtail its orca shows.SeaWorld has since announced an end to the traditional killer whale entertainment  at its theme parks. [AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack]
  4. Update: Scientology cancels planned mock FBI raid on downtown building

    Special Topics

    CLEARWATER — The Church of Scientology planned to film a mock FBI raid on a downtown building Monday afternoon, but the actors and cameras never showed up to the location disclosed to the city.

    According to Clearwater Police, the Church of Scientology plans to hold a mock FBI raid at 3 p.m. Monday at this vacant building at 305 N Fort Harrison Ave. Police announced the raid in advance to alert the public. They said they did not know the reason for the event. [Google Earch image]
  5. Support for gay marriage surges, even among groups once wary

    Human Interest

    NEW YORK — In the two years since same-sex marriage was legalized nationwide, support for it has surged even among groups that recently were broadly opposed, according to a new national survey.

    People gather in Washington's Lafayette Park to see the White House lit up in rainbow colors on June 26, 2015, the day the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage legal. In the two years since same-sex marriage was legalized nationwide, support for it has surged even among groups that recently were broadly opposed, according to a new national survey released on Monday, June 26, 2017. [Associated Press]