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Board members praise the school chief in his first evaluation. A pay raise is likely now.

In his first evaluation, superintendent Mike Grego received near-perfect marks and glowing praise from the Pinellas County School Board.

Board members credited Grego for his devotion to students, school visits and focus on academics. He also was lauded for being "visible, engaging" and a "gentleman." Chairwoman Carol Cook called him one of the best superintendents in Florida, "if not the best."

Board members will discuss Grego's evaluation at their work session Tuesday. According to his contract, a rating of satisfactory or higher entitles him to a raise. He'll likely get a 5 percent boost on his $240,000 base salary, or about $12,000 more.

In his first year, Grego, 56, pushed for struggling students to spend more time in school. He introduced Summer Bridge, a six-week summer program aimed at curbing learning losses between school years, particularly among low-income children. It drew more than 6,000 students.

Promise Time, another new program, provides students in 28 schools with an extra hour or more of instruction after each regular school day. Both programs are voluntary.

He introduced Bridging the Gap, a plan to eliminate the achievement gap between black students and their peers. It calls for intensive monitoring of struggling black students, pairing them with mentors, and making sure they are invited to enroll in advanced classes and take college placement exams.

Grego also pushed, through negotiations with the teachers union, to increase starting teacher pay to $40,000 a year. Teachers got a 5.6 percent raise, on average, this year, while other employees received a 5 percent raise on average.

Board members ranked Grego's performance in eight categories, including areas such as student achievement, safety, personal integrity, fiscal responsibility and communication. He was ranked one to five, with five being "outstanding."

Three board members - Terry Krassner, Linda Lerner and Peggy O'Shea - gave Grego perfect marks in every category. Board member Robin Wikle gave him perfect marks in all but two, while Cook gave him the highest ranking in all but one.

Board member Janet Clark ranked Grego as "meets expectation" in five categories and "outstanding" in three. Board member Rene Flowers gave him his lowest mark, which was still a "satisfactory," in the area of business services and technology. She said in her remarks: "We are working towards the superintendent's vision of technological efficiency throughout the district."

Grego's overall ratings for each category averaged a four or above.

He said the evaluation process had been a good one, particularly his private meetings with individual board members.

"We've had some terrific sit-down conversations," he said.

Contact Cara Fitzpatrick at or (727) 893-8846. Follow her on Twitter @Fitz_ly.