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Two new principals appointed to lead Hernando schools

BROOKSVILLE — The Hernando County School District has appointed two longtime educators to fill the principal vacancies at Westside Elementary and West Hernando Middle schools — the latest appointments in a string of summertime administrative changes.

Lori Lessley, 51, will take over at West Hernando Middle, replacing Carmine Rufa. Lessley served as an assistant principal at West Hernando between 2011 and 2013 before moving to an assistant principal position at Springstead High School for a year.

She got her start in the Hernando schools in 1994 at Central High School, where she taught science courses, including Advance Placement Biology and AP Environmental Science. She also served as a science coach at Central.

Kristina Garofano, 36, has been tapped to lead Westside Elementary. She replaces principal Gina Michalicka, who has been promoted to the district office to become the supervisor of elementary programs.

Garofano, who served as assistant principal at Explorer K-8 School last year, taught at Westside for seven years before earning a master's degree in educational leadership in 2008. After working in several roles across the district, she served as an assistant principal from 2011 to 2013 at Winding Waters K-8 School.

With these two positions filled, almost all principal positions have been filled for the coming school year. A committee will begin interviewing candidates next week for the vacant principal post at Powell Middle School.

Contact Danny Valentine at or (352) 848-1432. Follow @HernandoTimes.

Two new principals appointed to lead Hernando schools 07/15/14 [Last modified: Tuesday, July 15, 2014 10:04pm]
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