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Principal changes at Martinez Middle and Strawberry Crest High

The School Board also suspended former Martinez principal Brent McBrien.
Toby Johnson is the new principal of Martinez Middle School. [MARLENE SOKOL | Times staff]
Published Oct. 15
Updated Oct. 16

TAMPA — Martinez Middle School has a new principal: Toby Johnson, who replaces Brent McBrien.

Johnson, the 40-year-old assistant principal at Memorial Middle School, will move to Martinez on Oct. 21.

Johnson joined the Hillsborough district in 2006 as a teacher at Madison Middle School. He then worked as an assistant principal at Coleman Middle before joining Memorial in 2017.

In a separate move, with no discussion, the board voted to suspend McBrien, 50, without pay.

McBrien was removed from A-rated Martinez on Sept. 19 because of a personal action that the district considered detrimental to his ability to do his job. The district has said all along that McBrien did not harm or endanger anybody at the school.

Records show that someone shared with Superintendent Jeff Eakins a website picture of McBrien that was considered inappropriate, given the nature of his job.

In a meeting with Eakins on Sept. 17, McBrien said he had not posted the photograph, and that he would instruct the website to make sure it was taken it down.

Nevertheless, the district placed McBrien on paid leave until Tuesday’s meeting.

The district issued this statement on the matter:

“Our Superintendent holds our leaders to a higher standard. After a concern was brought to the Superintendent’s attention, he determined Mr. McBrien’s conduct did not align with our district’s expectations. While this matter was not related to the safety of our students, his actions undermined his ability to lead in his school and his community.”

Also on Tuesday, the district named a new principal at Strawberry Crest High School, which is losing David Brown to the new high school in Balm, which later in the evening was named Jule F. Sumner High.

Christina Raburn is the new principal of Strawberry Crest High School. [MARLENE SOKOL | Times staff]

Christina Raburn, Strawberry Crest’s assistant principal for curriculum, will be promoted into the job.

Raburn has been a district employee since 2000, when she was hired to teach at East Bay High School.

She went on to jobs at Durant High and joined Strawberry Crest in 2009.

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