Hernando School Board appoints temporary superintendent

The board voted to fire superintendent Lori Romano earlier this month. The members voted Tuesday to appoint longtime administrator John Stratton as her replacement through next year.
John Stratton will temporarily replace fired Hernando County schools Superintendent Lori Romano.
John Stratton will temporarily replace fired Hernando County schools Superintendent Lori Romano.
Published June 26, 2018|Updated June 27, 2018

BROOKSVILLE —A longtime Hernando County schools administrator who served in the cabinet of recently fired Superintendent Lori Romano will now serve as her temporary replacement.

John Stratton was appointed superintendent by a unanimous vote of the Hernando County School Board on Tuesday evening.

As executive director of business services for the district, Stratton was one of the few candidates considered by board members during Monday's special meeting to discuss filling Romano's spot. The board voted 3-2 to fire her on June 12.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Hernando School Board fires Superintendent Lori Romano after member says she 'lost the public trust'

Following the vote, board Chairman Mark Johnson called for a short break so that Stratton could take Romano's seat on the dais. As the departing superintendent stepped down, Johnson asked those in the audience to give her a round of applause.

"We're just going to keep moving forward with the great initiatives that have already been put in place and keep focused on increasing student achievement," Stratton told the Tampa Bay Times following the vote.

He will lead the district through November's election, when three contested school board seats will be decided. Meanwhile, current board members will start searching for candidates to permanently fill the superintendent post by this time in 2019, when Stratton's contract runs out.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Termination letter details Hernando School Board's reasons for firing superintendent

Stratton, 52, was hired by the district in 2005 as assistant principal of Challenger K-8 School Of Science And Math. He stayed in the position until 2008, when he became assistant principal of Central High School.

Next he was promoted to become principal of Endeavor Academy, the county's alternative school for at-risk students. He returned to Explorer K-8 and served as principal from 2010 to 2013. Then he was appointed as Central High's principal through 2016.

Stratton took his first district-level job as executive director of academic services in 2016. As executive director of business services, he serves as the district's chief negotiator in bargaining talks with the teachers union since July.

The new title earns him a boost in annual salary from $97,925 to $124,000 plus a $500 per month automobile allowance.

Contact Megan Reeves at Follow @mareevs.