Advertisement
  1. News
  2. /
  3. Gradebook

Hillsborough’s Achievement Schools will lose their leader

Tricia McManus will become a deputy superintendent in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
Tricia McManus, an assistant superintendent for the Hillsborough County School District, rolled out the district's new Achievement Zone plan for struggling schools at a community meeting in 2018. The word "zone" was removed early on. [MARLENE SOKOL | Times]
Tricia McManus, an assistant superintendent for the Hillsborough County School District, rolled out the district's new Achievement Zone plan for struggling schools at a community meeting in 2018. The word "zone" was removed early on. [MARLENE SOKOL | Times]
Published Dec. 13, 2019
Updated Dec. 13, 2019

TAMPA — The leader of Hillsborough County’s ambitious Achievement Schools project is leaving at the end of the school year for a job in North Carolina.

Tricia McManus has been appointed deputy superintendent of the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools.

McManus said she did not seek out the job, has mixed feelings about leaving Hillsborough, and insisted on being able to remain in Hillsborough until the school year ends.

Her departure comes at a time of uncertainty, as Hillsborough is searching for a new superintendent to replace Jeff Eakins.

It was Eakins who in 2018 introduced the Achievement Schools project, which seeks to bring equity to a system that has pockets of high-poverty and high-minority schools showing disappointing results. It was Eakins who placed McManus, an assistant superintendent, in charge of the program, which serves 50 schools..

McManus said the Winston-Salem district faces challenges similar to Hillsborough, and that her job there will focus on the same equity issues. She said she looks forward to working for Winston-Salem superintendent Angela Hairston. “She always keeps kids first,” McManus said.

When asked if the leadership uncertainty in Hillsborough was a factor in her decision to leave, she said that it was.

"I have to be sure whoever I am working for is going to push the equity agenda," she said on Friday. "And not knowing did a play a part in that."

McManus, 51 joined the school district in 1990. She began her career as a fourth grade teacher at Forest Hills Elementary. She served as principal of Just Elementary when that school was on the outskirts of North Boulevard Homes, a large public housing complex in West Tampa. She later was promoted to a leadership development position before launching the Achievement Schools project.

In a letter to her colleagues this week, McManus expressed her commitment to the project and its goals.

“In the year 2019, it is hard to believe that we still have achievement gaps between different demographic groups of students,” she wrote. “It is hard to believe that most of our chronically under performing schools are serving students of color in our most marginalized communities. And it is hard to believe that we continue to have disparities and inequities that keep groups of students from showing what they are truly capable of and that is absolute greatness.”

Achievement, an expansion of Eakins' previous Priority and Elevate initiatives, struggled early on with teacher shortages and skepticism from leaders of the African American community.

The district responded with a bonus plan for teachers who accept jobs in the most disadvantaged schools.

McManus and her team also smoothed relationships with their most vocal critics.

Joe Robinson, second vice president of the NAACP's Hillsborough County branch, praised McManus on Friday and said he respects her desire to advance in her career.

“She put up with us, and now she’s leaving us?” He said. “It’s a void.”

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. State Rep. Wyman Duggan, a Jacksonville Republican, presents his bill to create a "do not hire" list for any school employee who has been terminated, or resigned in lieu of termination, from employment as a result of sexual misconduct with a student. [The Florida Channel]
    The measure would apply to district, charter and private schools.
  2. Students grieve at Pine Trails Park, near the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., one month to the day since 17 students and staff were shot dead there, March 14, 2018. [SAUL MARTINEZ  |  New York Times]
    A roundup of stories from around the state.
  3. Addison Davis, the superintendent of Clay County District Schools, was chosen Tuesday as the new Hillsborough County school superintendent. [OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times]
    The School Board’s vote is unanimous for Davis, who calls himself “an accelerator.”
  4. In this Feb. 14, 2018, file photo, students hold their hands in the air as they are evacuated by police from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., after a shooter opened fire on the campus. (Mike Stocker/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP, File) [MIKE STOCKER  |  AP]
    But this year’s bill may provoke fewer fireworks than the bitter debates seen in the past two sessions.
  5. Rep. Anthony Sabatini presents his bill to create school board term limits to the Florida House PreK-12 Innovation subcommittee on Jan. 21, 2020. [The Florida Channel]
    The idea would require a three-fifths vote in each chamber before it could appear on the ballot.
  6. Left to Right: Ryan Petty and Andrew Pollack talk about the death of their daughters during the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland before a meeting in the Capitol in Tallahassee. [SCOTT KEELER | Tampa Bay Times] [Scott Keeler]
    Ryan Petty replaces Andrew Pollack, both Parkland parents. Pollack recently moved to Oregon.
  7. Pat Hall of the League of Women Voters speaks with Addison Davis, a finalist for Hillsborough Schools Superintendent, on Jan. 16 at Rampello K-8 School in Tampa. [MARLENE SOKOL  |  Times staff]
    In a last-minute push, members of the League of Women Voters want the School Board to explore Addison Davis’ possible ties to Charter Schools USA.
  8. Michael Maine is the Hernando County School District senior recruiter. [Hernando County School District]
    The district has on average 39 teacher openings.
  9. Carrie Wilson, a counselor at Challenger K-8 school, was named the 2020 teacher of the year for the Hernando County School District. [Hernando County School District]
  10. Children participate in a sorting exercise during activities in a pre-K  class in Tampa.
    A roundup of stories from around the state.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement