Pasco schools superintendent Heather Fiorentino is down to just days on her tenure, with Thanksgiving break approaching and the swearing in of superintendent-elect Kurt Browning set for Nov. 20.
She sent a brief note of thanks to all district employees on Tuesday for their hard work and support during her eight years in office. The system faced many challenges, Fiorentino wrote, but everyone worked as a team to keep children's education the top priority. "We made a profound impact on the lives of children in our community," she wrote.
Read on for the full text of her message.
As we approach Thanksgiving, I would like to thank you for all your service you carry out each and everyday as you share your talents and skills with our students and district. I am thankful I had the privilege to work together with you as Superintendent for the last eight years. Your dedication to our students, flexibility in meeting ever-changing mandates and most importantly, your passion for helping children has moved this district forward with positive results.
Although our district faced many challenges over recent years, I am proud of the way we worked together to prioritize the needs of students and believe we made a profound impact on the lives of the children in our community. While we always strive to be the best in the state, I am proud through your efforts that we were ranked the top-performing school system in the Tampa Bay area and secured record high increases in our graduation rate of 88.5% (which is well above the state and national average).
Thanks to your patience, we were able to deal with overcrowding as we opened 20 new schools. We also established at least one career academy at every high school and increased access accelerated learning opportunities, ensuring that all children are challenged. The District staff changed Board agendas to be more transparent for the public and are moving forward with the ERP system to facilitate the flow of information between all business functions within the District and our stakeholders. These are only a few of the accomplishments that are a direct result of your collective efforts, and I am confident that our school system will continue to shine under the next administration because of the hard work of our entire team.
As I move on to a new chapter in my life, I will take with me many fond memories of employees, students and other stakeholders. You have enriched my life in countless ways and I will cherish the work we have done together. Again, thank you for your service to our students. I wish you great success as you continue to strive for excellence in education.
With sincere appreciation, Heather Fiorentino, Superintendent