BROOKSVILLE — Weeks after telling five high-level district staffers that their contracts with the Hernando County schools would not be renewed, superintendent Lori Romano is shaking up the lineup of school-level administrators.
"We're a C district, and we're trying to move to be an A-rated district," said Romano, explaining that the moves are intended to further that goal.
Along with changes to 14 assistant principal jobs, Romano has transferred Michael Maine, principal at Challenger K-8 School of Science and Mathematics, to struggling Spring Hill Elementary School.
Former Powell Middle School principal Jamie Young will return to a school-level job — principal at J.D. Floyd K-8 — one year after Romano had appointed her to the newly created position of district executive director of teaching, learning and technology.
Floyd's current principal, Rick Markford, will become an assistant principal at Springstead High School.
Markford and Young, whose job was just below the level of an assistant superintendent, both face salary cuts of more than $9,000. Maine's salary will drop by $3,000.
School district spokesman Eric Williams said Young was moved because Romano "had a new vision for what needed to happen in (Young's) departments and needed to make a personnel change in that position."
Williams, as well as School Board members who had been told about the moves, compared the transfer of Maine to that of former Brooksville Elementary School principal Mary LeDoux, who was moved to Eastside Elementary two years ago and raised that school's state grade from F to C.
Spring Hill Elementary, an A school five years ago, received a D from the state for the 2013-14 school year, the most recent grade available.
"I don't think anybody viewed it as a demotion when Mary went to Eastside to turn that around," said School Board member Matt Foreman. "Though I'm sure Michael is somewhat sad to leave Challenger, I imagine he is excited for the chance to turn around Spring Hill."
Neither Maine, Markford nor Young returned telephone calls from the Times requesting interviews.
Maine's pay cut reflects his transfer to an elementary school from a K-8. To make up for that loss, he may be allowed to take on paid supplemental duties, such as coaching assistant principals, Williams said.
Foreman said Young previously had proven herself to be a good principal at Powell.
"I think it's really great that she is willing to be part of the team and take on this job," he said.
Romano said she reassigned Young because "she is a very strong school-based administrator."
The shuffling of assistant principals is designed to make sure administrative teams at each school have a full range of specializations, Romano said.
"We wanted to make sure we had balanced teams that could problem-solve together," she said.
It is typical for superintendents to make changes in principal jobs at the end of each school year, said School Board member and longtime Springstead High principal Susan Duval.
But including the assistant principal moves, said School Board member Beth Narverud, "there does seem to be a lot of change very quickly."
The district-level staffers previously removed included both of Romano's assistant superintendents. Halfway through the 2013-14 school year, she also reassigned a previous assistant superintendent, Ken Pritz, to manage the district's warehouse.
Pritz's contract was not renewed at the end of the year, a move he has challenged in the courts. Romano spent several hours testifying last week during an ongoing hearing to determine whether Pritz should be temporarily reinstated.
Contact Dan DeWitt at email@example.com; follow @ddewitttimes.