School District Promotions and Nomination Questioned, Some Say Direct Conflict
HERNANDO – There was no shortage of drama in the halls of the Hernando County School Board Tuesday, as concerned parents delivered 3-minute speeches on such topics as opting out of the Florida Standards Assessment (FSA) and issues with the Exceptional Student Education (ESE) program.
Tempers flared at one point during the meeting when sources say well-known community critic, Dennis Purdy, called Board Member Gus Guadagnino an expletive, resulting in his immediate removal.
Eyebrows began to rise when Pam Everett stepped to the podium and began reading the school board’s policy on relatives working together in the same district. Although it is not automatically prohibited, the policy does state that employees working under the direct supervision of another would be a conflict. That’s exactly what Everett says happened when former Central High School Principal John Stratton was promoted to Director for Academic Services on August 9th. Stratton’s wife Kristina Stratton is principal of Westside Elementary, which would be a direct conflict if she reported directly to her husband. Of course John’s job description says he has a variety of responsibilities including providing support to assistant principals, secondary programs and the technology Information Services Department. Spokesperson Karen Jordan tells RNRF that Mr. Stratton will not be supervising principals, but there may be a bigger problem.
Less than a week after John’s promotion, his wife Kristina was nominated for Hernando County’s Outstanding Leader of the Year.
Everett and others concerned over the announcement aren’t questioning Karen’s accomplishments; they just feel the timing smells a little fishy.
We asked School Board Member Mark Johnson what he thought of the controversy and although he wasn’t positive, he says the decision may have been made long ago. He also believes school principals will be reporting directly to the newly appointed Deputy Superintendent Gina Michalicka who incidentally was the former Director of Academic Services and Principal of Westside Elementary. They may also report directly to Superintendent Lori Romano.
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