Martinez Middle School principal leaves, district will not say why.

There is no investigative file, the district says. It is not clear what his job is now.
Shown in 2007, Brent McBrien was the principal of Webb Middle and Davidsen Middle School before he was moved to Martinez Middle School in 2017.
Shown in 2007, Brent McBrien was the principal of Webb Middle and Davidsen Middle School before he was moved to Martinez Middle School in 2017. [ FLYNN, KATHLEEN | St. Petersburg Times ]
Published Sept. 24, 2019|Updated Sept. 24, 2019

LUTZ — Brent McBrien left his job last week as principal of Martinez Middle School, an A-rated school in the suburbs of Lutz.

District leaders did not describe the circumstances, and would not say anything Tuesday about his job status except that it is “active.”

McBrien, a school district employee since 1993, earned $102,324 in the last school year, according to district records. Before Martinez, which he took over in 2017, he held the top jobs at Webb and Davidsen middle schools.

A message went out to Martinez families Thursday from area superintendent Marcos Murillo that said:

Principal Brent McBrien will no longer be at Martinez Middle School. This action is not related to the safety of our students. Because this is ongoing we cannot share more details. I will be working to bring in a new leader for Martinez Middle School. Please be assured the community will be part of the discussion as we appoint the next principal.

The district also took the unusual step of deleting McBrien, 49, almost immediately from the school website.

This is not the first recent case of a principal leaving his or her post without prompt disclosure about the circumstances.

Glennis Perez was taken out of Spoto High School in February. Six months later the public learned, through Office of Professional Standards records, that she had been accused of numerous improper acts including falsifying enrollment records and encouraging struggling students to move to alternative schools, with the possible motive of protecting Spoto’s school grade and graduation rate.

The district waited a full five weeks between the time it was presented with evidence about Perez and when it initiated a professional standards investigation. Superintendent Jeff Eakins explained at the time that it was best to perform an administrative review first to assess whether the professional standards investigation was warranted.

When the formal investigation was over, Perez was allowed to resign in lieu of being dismissed, as the district had planned. She moved on to a job at the Village of Excellence charter school.

In McBrien’s case, Arja said there is no ongoing investigation, either administrative or through professional standards. Arja also said there were no records of texts or emails to School Board members explaining the Martinez situation. And, she added, McBrien has no prior professional standards file.

Board member Lynn Gray, however, said she had a phone conversation with Eakins about McBrien. She said the superintendent told her that McBrien made “a personal, bad decision” that he “could not stand behind.”

Reached by phone, McBrien declined to comment on the situation, except to acknowledge that “it’s been a tough one all around.”