Sunday, December 17, 2017
Education

Veteran Hernando administrator named new principal Springstead High School

SPRING HILL — A familiar face will return to Springstead High School to take over one of Hernando County's top-performing schools.

On Tuesday, superintendent Lori Romano named current West Hernando Middle School principal Carmine Rufa to lead Springstead. He will replace Susan Duval, who is retiring after 11 years in charge.

The appointment marks the first time Rufa, a veteran of 17 years with the district, has been a principal at the high school level.

He said he was speechless when he got a call from Romano on Tuesday morning.

"I didn't know what to say," he said. "I'm just glad she is trusting in me to keep that school going as well as it has been going for Duval."

Rufa, 47, said he has big shoes to fill, but is happy to be going to a school that has a tradition of excellence, a number of good systems already in place and strong staff members.

Three of Springstead's four assistant principals are returning. Jeff Yungmann will take over one of the positions after working in the district office as a curriculum supervisor.

Rufa's ties to Springstead run deep.

He has taught physical education, health and coached at the school, and also briefly served as an assistant principal.

In addition, he comes with another perspective — as a father.

Rufa's oldest son, Dominic, 18, was Springstead's 2014 class valedictorian. His youngest son, Dawson, 15, will be a sophomore in the school's International Baccalaureate program next year.

Romano said Rufa has done fantastic things at West Hernando, where he has been principal since 2012. She noted that the school consistently has been one of the district's highest-performing middle schools.

She said he was the search committee's top pick.

Rufa said he will invest a lot of time to meet with current staff and get up to speed at Springstead. He also will focus on data analysis and building relationships.

"You've got to have both," he said.

Rufa's appointment means there is now an opening for the top job at West Hernando Middle.

In addition, there are principal openings at Endeavor Academy, the district's alternative school, and at Westside Elementary.

Westside's principal, Gina Michalicka, has been promoted to the district office to become the supervisor of elementary programs. She is considered a "principal on assignment," a move that allows her to maintain her current level of pay.

Danny Valentine can be reached at [email protected]

Comments
Top USF Health official leaves amid questions of assistant’s special treatment

Top USF Health official leaves amid questions of assistant’s special treatment

TAMPA — A high-ranking University of South Florida Health official has resigned amid internal concerns that he was giving special treatment to his assistant.After an internal investigation, USF System President Judy Genshaft was poised last month to ...
Published: 12/15/17
Hillsborough school district and its teachers are at a bargaining impasse, but still talking

Hillsborough school district and its teachers are at a bargaining impasse, but still talking

TAMPA — A months-long conflict over planned pay raises has moved to a new phase with the Hillsborough Classroom Teachers Association declaring a bargaining impasse with the public school district.The two sides, which began negotiations in late spring...
Published: 12/15/17
Pinellas schools sheltered thousands during Irma. Here’s what it cost

Pinellas schools sheltered thousands during Irma. Here’s what it cost

Three months later, the Pinellas County school district has totaled up the costs of operating 16 schools as shelters for 25,000 evacuees during Hurricane Irma.The district is asking the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, for a reimbursemen...
Published: 12/15/17
Love of science is the goal, now that every Pinellas elementary school has a lab

Love of science is the goal, now that every Pinellas elementary school has a lab

SEMINOLE — It was hard for the second-graders at Orange Grove Elementary to resist the urge to rush into the school’s science lab and tinker with the colorful objects neatly arranged on each table.Thursday was just their second time in the lab this y...
Published: 12/15/17
Florida lawmakers want stronger college free speech rules amid First Amendment flareups

Florida lawmakers want stronger college free speech rules amid First Amendment flareups

Rising up in defiance to Richard Spencer, hundreds of University of Florida students sounded off in a deafening chant."Go home, Spencer!" they shouted, as the exasperated white nationalist paced the stage, pleading to be heard.Were the students exerc...
Published: 12/13/17
Updated: 12/14/17
Hernando could be next stop for PACE Center for Girls

Hernando could be next stop for PACE Center for Girls

BROOKSVILLE — The new year could bring about new beginnings for at-risk girls in Hernando County.Pending a vote by the School Board next month, PACE Center for Girls, an alternative education program for middle- and high-school students, could open a...
Published: 12/13/17
Updated: 12/14/17

Pasco school district, employees reach contract agreement

The raises for Pasco County school district employees aren’t as high as anyone would like, but they’re now part of a signed tentative contract deal reached just before 6:30 p.m. Wednesday.If ratified by the staff and the School Board, the agreements ...
Published: 12/13/17
For Bexley students in Land O’Lakes, math skills go airborne

For Bexley students in Land O’Lakes, math skills go airborne

LAND O’LAKES — At Bexley Elementary School in Land O’Lakes, students are throwing paper airplanes — with the help of a high tech computerized launcher. They’re also bowling — with a little aid from computerized drones. And when they get around to it,...
Published: 12/13/17

Proposal to rollback early learning programs could bring Citrus into Pasco-Hernando coalition

Some Florida lawmakers have not hidden their desire to scale back the statewide number of early learning coalitions that oversee child care and preschool programs, including Voluntary Prekindergarten.The state Office of Early Learning has now issued ...
Published: 12/13/17
Brink Foundation, school district create Town ’N Country STEM hub

Brink Foundation, school district create Town ’N Country STEM hub

TAMPA — Elementary school students programmed an electronic mouse to make its way through a maze.Middle school students directed an electronic vehicle to stop on a dime, then use its arms to locate and lift a tiny cube.When the demonstration was done...
Published: 12/12/17
Updated: 12/14/17