Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Job postings for Lacoochee Elementary draw few fresh faces

LAND O'LAKES — The Pasco County School District's effort to restaff struggling Lacoochee Elementary School fell short in its first attempt, despite offering cash incentives.

A five-day job posting to fill the school's 35 teaching slots attracted 42 applications, more than half of whom were existing Lacoochee faculty members. Only Pasco school district employees were invited to apply. Ads for principal and assistant principal drew the current office holders.

"We are going to reopen the application period for the teachers … to get a larger pool," district spokeswoman Linda Cobbe said Wednesday. "We haven't made up our minds as to whether or not we're going to readvertise the administrative positions."

The district could face some intense scrutiny if it decides to stick with the existing leaders, who joined Lacoochee in 2010.

State rules for schools that earn three straight D grades, as is expected of Lacoochee, require replacement of the principal and assistant principal if they've been at the school more than a year.

The rules also call for a "comprehensive search" for a new principal "with a clear record of turning around a similar school."

"Posting something publicly for only a few days, nobody is going to interpret that as a thorough search for a replacement," said Joe Follick, Florida Department of Education spokesman.

The State Board of Education ultimately will judge the district's turnaround plan, he said, adding that it's premature to say whether the process meets expectations. In analyzing the proposal, though, Follick said: "if a school has struggled to the point it needs a turnaround plan, one of the first places a district should be looking is to replace leadership at the school."

In its plan, submitted to the state on Tuesday, the school district notes that it advertised each instructional and administrative position with the goal of recruiting "the most talented staff." It has offered signing bonuses of $2,500 for the first year, with the potential of getting $10,000 for staying through a third year.

At the same time, the plan keeps open the option of keeping principal Shirley Ray and assigning her a principal coach, Kara Smucker, who brought Gulf Highlands Elementary from an F to a C in one year

"Justification would include positive feedback from the staff and an improvement in reading" at Lacoochee, the plan states. "The principal also has been instrumental in assisting with a community partnership grant. With coaching, there has already been an improvement in …instructional feedback that the current principal provides teachers."

The language is similar to the district's February draft plan. In the state's response to that proposal, officials noted that because Ray had been at Lacoochee more than one year, "you will need to provide significant justification for not replacing her."

Other districts have an eye on how the process unfolds.

Job postings for Lacoochee Elementary draw few fresh faces 05/01/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, May 1, 2013 9:04pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Trigaux: How Moffitt Cancer's M2Gen startup won $75 million from Hearst


    TAMPA — A Moffitt Cancer Center spin-off that's building a massive genetic data base of individual patient cancer information just caught the attention of a deep-pocketed health care investor.

    Richard P. Malloch is the president of Hearst Business Media, which is announcing a $75 million investment in M2Gen, the for-profit cancer informatics unit spun off by Tampa's Moffitt Cancer Center. Malloch's job is to find innovative investments for the Hearst family fortune. A substantial amount has been invested in health care, financial and the transportation and logistics industries.
  2. A boat lays on its side off the shore of Sainte-Anne on the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe, early Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017, after the passing of Hurricane Maria. [Dominique Chomereau-Lamotte | Associated Press]
  3. 7.1 magnitude quake kills at least 149, collapses buildings in Mexico


    MEXICO CITY — A magnitude 7.1 earthquake stunned central Mexico on Tuesday, killing at least 149 people as buildings collapsed in plumes of dust. Thousands fled into the streets in panic, and many stayed to help rescue those trapped.

    A woman is lifted on a stretcher from of a building that collapsed during an earthquake in Mexico City, Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017. [Rebecca Blackwell | Associated Press]
  4. FHP seeks semitrailer truck driver that left fiery wreck on I-75


    TAMPA — The Florida Highway Patrol is looking for the driver of a semitrailer truck that sped off from an Interstate 75 crash that left another car burning on Tuesday afternoon.

    Troopers were looking for the driver of a semitrailer truck that sped off from an accident scene on Interstate 75 in Tampa on Tuesday afternoon that caused a car to catch fire. [Courtesy of Florida Highway Patrol]
  5. Joe Maddon gets warm reception in return to the Trop

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The night was arranged to honor former Rays manager Joe Maddon in his first visit back to the Trop, and the standing ovation from the bipartisan crowd and scoreboard video tribute seemed proper acknowledgments of his hefty role in the Rays' success during his nine-year stint.

    Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon (70) talks with reporters during a press conference before the start of the game between the Chicago Cubs and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017.