Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Three administrative appointments announced for Hernando schools

BROOKSVILLE — The Hernando County School District announced three high-level administrative appointments Wednesday, including a new K-8 school principal, an interim high school principal and a new director of student services.

The decisions aren't short on intrigue.

Superintendent Bryan Blavatt appointed Mary-Grace Surrena to the student services position after a review committee said Surrena, a school psychologist, was the best person for the job.

Surrena previously had held the job for eight months, but lost it in May when Blavatt decided against reappointing her. He appointed Felita Lott, who left at the end of June to take a job in Pinellas County. The position was left vacant.

Surrena had been groomed for years to take over the director's position from Jim Knight, who retired in September 2011 after two decades in the job.

In June, he spoke out before the Hernando School Board in opposition to Blavatt's decision not to reappoint Surrena.

"I have never known of one administrator in this district that was demoted in less than one year," Knight said. "Prior to tonight, all were given a year to improve or placed in a different school or in a similar position."

Knight said Surrena had received nothing but excellent or outstanding evaluations.

Surrena said at the time she was planning on pursuing her legal options. And in a letter to the School Board and Blavatt, a lawyer for Surrena, Karen Gaffney, said that her client was wrongfully not reappointed and was discriminated against because of her gender.

Blavatt had said Surrena was "too nice" for the position and that "there was a perception out there that she was too soft," the letter said.

Blavatt said on Wednesday he was assured by his staff that Surrena was the best available candidate for the post.

"Obviously, the staff vetted her and made that decision," he said. "It's never been a situation involving my personal feelings or whatever. If she's the best person out there at the present time, then I've got to do it."

Surrena has been with the district for 24 years.

"I'm very excited to have the opportunity to serve the district in a leadership position again," she said.

Blavatt also made two high school principal announcements.

Retired principal Marvin Gordon will be the interim principal at Central High School, replacing retiring principal Joe Clifford as the district continues to look for a permanent replacement.

Clifford's last day is Jan. 26.

Blavatt again said he accepted the review committee's recommendation, which was to not recommend any of the 12 candidates who applied. They didn't name any finalists.

"It's not alarming," he said. "I think a lot of it is timing."

He said leaving midyear is more complicated, with many principals not wanting to exit their current schools.

The district will advertise the position again.

Gordon, who retired in 2011, was most recently a principal at Spring Hill Elementary and before that was a longtime principal at Parrott Middle School. He was also a Hernando High principal.

At Challenger K-8 School of Science and Mathematics, assistant principal Michael Maine will take over for retiring principal Sue Stoops. He was one of three assistant principals with the school.

Danny Valentine can be reached at dvalentine@tampabay.com or (352) 848-1432. Tweet him @HernandoTimes.

Three administrative appointments announced for Hernando schools 12/19/12 [Last modified: Wednesday, December 19, 2012 8:09pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. The Iron Yard coding academy to close in St. Petersburg

    Business

    ST. PETERSBURG — The Iron Yard, a code-writing academy with a location in downtown St. Petersburg, will close for good this summer.

    Instructors (from left) Mark Dewey, Jason Perry, and Gavin Stark greet the audience at The Iron Yard, 260 1st Ave. S, in St. Petersburg during "Demo Day" Friday, Oct. 7, 2016, at The Iron Yard, which is an immersive code school that is part of a trend of trying to address the shortage of programmers.  The academy is closing this summer.  [LARA CERRI   |   Times]
  2. Florida's unemployment rate drops for fourth straight month

    Markets

    How low can Florida's unemployment go? Pretty low, according to the state's latest unemployment numbers. The Sunshine State's unemployment rate dropped to 4.1 percent for June, down from 4.3 percent in May, state officials said Friday morning.

    Florida's unemployment level dropped to 4.1 percent in June from 4.3 percent in May. |  [Times file photo]
  3. 20 great images from around the globe for July 14 to July 21

    World

    Photos of the week for July 14 - July 21: A giant sinkhole swallows homes in Florida, a desperate rescue attempt in Karachi, synchronized swimmers competing in Budapest, a rainy rugby match in Australia, a smiling O.J. Simpson in Nevada and more.

    A lobsterman's boat leaves a gentle wake as he motors out of a harbor on a foggy morning, Friday, July 21, 2017, in Boothbay, Maine. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)
  4. Is sinkhole damage sinking Tampa Bay property values?

    Real Estate

    On a scale of desirability, the house for sale on Whittner Drive in Land O' Lakes would rank fairly low. It's a short sale; it sits on an unstabilized sinkhole and it's within a few miles of two houses that collapsed into a gargantuan hole July 16.

    A gated community in Hernando's Spring Hill area, Pristine Place has long been susceptible to sinkholes with nearly a third of its houses with documented sinkhole damage by 2012. Today, however, many houses with repaired sinkhole damage are selling for more than houses without any issues. [WILL VRAGOVIC   |   Times file photo]
  5. Disabled Tampa man takes his story to center of health care debate

    National

    Michael Phillips was hunting demons Monday night when the news broke: The Senate health care bill was dying.

    (Left) Karen Clay, 64, operates a medical ventilator to help her son Michael Phillips, 36, breath. Michael has spinal muscular atrophy and is confined to his bed. He can breath only with the aid of a machine. Here, they are photographed at their Tampa home Wednesday, July 19, 2017. Michael and his family have been closely watching the upcoming health care vote and how it would affect them.