Pinellas schools attract a varied field of candidates for superintendent

Most have doctoral degrees, and five have been superintendents elsewhere. The School Board will narrow the list next week.

Tampa Bay Times | By Marlene Sokol | April 14, 2022

Applicants from around the nation and across the globe are vying to be the next superintendent of Pinellas County Schools.

The 19 packages posted after the midnight Wednesday deadline included five with experience as superintendents, although most have led systems much smaller than Pinellas.

Fifteen have doctoral degrees, a stated preference for the Pinellas job. Eight have experience as educational administrators in Florida.

Whoever is chosen in May will replace longtime superintendent Mike Grego, who is leaving at the end of the school year.

Pinellas County school Superintendent Mike Grego
Pinellas County school Superintendent Mike Grego [ DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD ]

“There are some some very good candidates in the field,” said Andrea Messina, executive director of the Florida School Boards Association, which is assisting with the search.

School Board members will begin to narrow the field when they meet on April 20 at 9 a.m.

Seven of the candidates have significant experience in Florida.

Stephanie Davis is an assistant principal at Dunedin High School. Chris Dunning is principal of Wendell Krinn Technical High in Pasco County and has led schools in all age levels.

Theodore Dwyer, now chief accountability officer for Pittsburgh Public Schools, worked from 2009 to 2017 as manager of evaluation for Hillsborough County Public Schools. Ann Hembrook is an area superintendent for Marion County Public Schools in Florida. She has also worked in Orange and Brevard counties.

Kevin Hendrick is the associate superintendent of teaching and learning services for Pinellas County Schools.
Kevin Hendrick is the associate superintendent of teaching and learning services for Pinellas County Schools. [ Pinellas County Schools ]

Kevin Hendrick, now the Pinellas district’s associate superintendent for teaching and learning, is expected to get a close look, as community members suggested him numerous times in a survey the district conducted in February. Hendrick has been with the district since 2008.

Pasco County Assistant Superintendent Kim Moore [ Tampa Bay Times ]

Kim Moore is an assistant superintendent for career and innovative programs in Pasco. Before that, she was principal of Tampa’s Middleton High and then director of administration for the Hillsborough district.

Michael Ramirez, now deputy superintendent for the Denver Public Schools, spent seven years in the office of school performance and accountability in Broward County.

Five applicants have served as superintendents in smaller school systems outside the state.

Andrew Rynbergoversees 17 schools in Western Europe for the U.S. Department of Defense. He also spent four years as an assistant superintendent in Florida’s Indian River School District.

Matthew Malone was superintendent of Fall River Public Schools in Massachusetts. Before that, he led the Brockton and Swampscott districts, also in Massachusetts.

Ellen Solek has led the Connecticut districts of Bristol and East Haddam. She is now interim superintendent of the Connecticut Technical Education and Career System.

Arthur Stellar has held the superintendent position in seven school systems, including a stint as acting superintendent in Boston. He has a consulting firm now, and he was a candidate for the Pinellas job in 2012.

Adam Taylor led a district consisting of six schools in Rutland City, Vt.

The rest of the field includes educators with a variety of backgrounds.

Dawn Childress is a principal in Fort Smith, Ark. Rafaela Espinal is an assistant superintendent in the New York City Department of Education.

Barbara Hagerty is the associate dean of technology innovation at Stockton University in New Jersey.

Sherrell Hobbs is president and CEO of Victory Educational Solutions in Fort Lauderdale. Formerly she was assistant superintendent at Ypsilanti Community Schools, a small district in Ypsilanti, Mich. Before that, she was an educator and administrator in the Detroit public schools.

Tracy Johnson is an assistant superintendent and chief of human resources for the Keller Independent School District north of Fort Worth, Texas.

Jeffrey de Leon’s experience is largely in business and consulting. For three years he was president of FLET University, a distance university.

Jason Spencer is director of school leadership for Cincinnati Public Schools.

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