In the wake of the John Hopkins story, there has been speculation that principal Claud Effiom may be on the way out — a notion further fueled by the quick addition of former St. Petersburg High assistant principal Barry Brown to the Hopkins staff.
But superintendent Julie Janssen said in an interview last week that Effiom will definitely be the school's principal next fall.
"That school cannot afford another new principal," she said.
Effiom came on last year, on the heels of interim principal Bob Poth and, before him, Maureen Thornton, who was ousted after an internal investigation determined she created a hostile work environment, practiced sloppy bookkeeping and used her position for personal gain. Former superintendent Clayton Wilcox appointed her principal in 2005.
Over the past three weeks, many have said that Effiom, who was acting principal at Kennedy Middle last year, didn't get the support he needed. Janssen seconded that view.
"He's so competent in so many areas, maybe no one recognized he needed more support than he was getting," she said. "You always have to look back and say, 'What could have I done better for him?' "
Added Janssen: "I'm putting some people there who have a different kind of experience, so they can learn from each other. Mr. Brown wants to learn a little more about academics. And what better a teacher than Claud? And Claud needs to learn about kids — tough kids. Barry and I had this conversation (about Hopkins): 'Doc, this is a campus full of kids like me.' He was at Lakewood when I was there. Tough kid. But just a good kid. You try to build a team by giving people value. And I certainly think Mr. Effiom has lots."