Nearly two years after hiring him, Pinellas County School Board members want to make sure superintendent Kevin Hendrick doesn’t leave anytime soon.
On Tuesday, they’ll consider extending his contract through June 2028.
“In a time where we’ve seen many school districts struggling to find great leaders, it’s in our teachers’, staff and students’ best interest to ensure Mr. Hendrick continues to lead our district,” board member Stephanie Meyer said Thursday.
Others echoed the sentiment.
“He’s the right leader at the right time for Pinellas schools,” board chairperson Laura Hine said. “He’s extraordinary.”
Board member Eileen Long said Hendrick has exceeded expectations since succeeding Mike Grego as the district’s top administrator. Having grown up in Pinellas, he understands the community and its needs, she said, and he has propelled the system forward.
Hendrick is a 1994 Largo High School graduate who taught at district high schools and served as a principal before moving to the district office as chief academic officer. He was named superintendent in May 2022.
The board’s evaluation of his performance makes clear its pleasure with his work. Completed in October, but not released publicly until this week, the evaluation shows board members rated Hendrick with 4s (meets expectations) or 5s (outstanding) on all seven of its criteria.
The areas were establishing a strong relationship with the board, updating the strategic plan, holding “listen and learn” sessions to inform the community about district activities, improving avenues for family engagement, deepening trust with the public, agencies and organizations, enhancing communication and ensuring fiscal responsibility.
Hendrick received only one 3, or satisfactory, rating. It came from Meyer over finances. She opposed the administration’s budget for fiscal 2024, saying she wanted to see more spending cuts.
Overall, though, Meyer joined other board members in praising Hendrick. She said he has “proven his commitment to excellence for all,” and expected to support the contract extension.
Added Long: “I really think we hit a home run with him.”
If approved, the action would add three years to Hendrick’s contract, but otherwise not change the terms of his employment. It does not include any provision for a raise to his $290,000 annual salary.
Hendrick oversees Florida’s eighth-largest school district, with about 84,000 students, 15,000 employees and a budget of $1.8 billion.
The board generally gives the superintendent and other administrators a raise equal in percentage to the one it negotiates with other employees, which this year was 4.5%.