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Pinellas school board extends superintendent Janssen's contract

LARGO — Pinellas County school superintendent Julie Janssen will be in charge for three more years.

Despite early divisions over whether to extend Janssen's contract, the School Board voted 7-0 to keep her on through September 2013.

"We are telling the district that we believe in her leadership," board member Mary Brown said, "and we believe she will do the job that we have entrusted her to do."

Janssen, who was hired in September 2008, has a $200,000 contract that was due to expire in June 2011. In her short tenure, she has led the district through a number of controversies, but Tuesday's vote indicates she has managed to maintain board support.

Originally, three board members — Janet Clark, Robin Wikle and Linda Lerner — said they had concerns over lengthening Janssen's contract by two years and three months as she had requested.

But on Tuesday evening, Clark, the board chairwoman, said she decided to support Janssen's request after thinking about how she "went to bat for our district" by opposing legislation that would have eliminated teacher tenure and placed teachers on year-to-year contracts.

Janssen met privately with Gov. Charlie Crist to urge him to veto Senate Bill 6, which he did.

"I truly believe that without some of your conversations with the governor, Senate Bill 6 might have been passed," Clark told Janssen at the board meeting.

Both Clark and Wikle said they felt it was important to send a message of cohesiveness to employees and parents that they support Janssen.

Lerner said Tuesday night that she would also stick with 2013.

After the meeting ended, well-wishers hugged Janssen and offered her congratulations. The superintendent said she didn't think the vote was a message of support for her alone.

"I'm just very, very pleased that they had the confidence in our leadership team," she said.

Asked how long she'd like to continue to oversee the district's 138 schools, she said, "As long as they'll have me I guess."

Pinellas school board extends superintendent Janssen's contract 04/20/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, April 20, 2010 10:58pm]
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