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Hernando County School District Superintendent Announces Retirement

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In a surprise announcement at the end of the school board meeting on Tuesday, April 9, School Superintendent John Stratton disclosed that he intends to retire at the end of the current school year.

In earlier business, student school board representative Rylee Rhineberger reported on the activities of the various schools over the past few weeks.

Endeavor and Discovery Academy, the county’s alternative school, presented to Pasco Hernando State College (PHSC) funds for a $15,000 endowment scholarship for students to pursue higher education. The Hernando Education Foundation facilitated the efforts of the school advisory council, staff, and community to raise money through various fundraisers.

In addition, the board recognized the Hernando High School Girls’ Wrestling team as State Champions, as well as individual young women who won state titles in Weightlifting.

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Ms. Tammy Brinker, CEO of the Hernando Education Foundation, announced that the organization is conducting its annual campaign to raise $100,000 for the county schools. Two fundraisers coming up are the Aim For Education Event on May 18 and the Summer Reading Environmental Bash on June 22. For more information go to www.hernandoeducationfoundation.org. The board approved the Foundation’s budget to award monetary donations to a number of schools.

The next item on the agenda was the approval of changes to the Half-cent Sales Tax Resolution. The board unanimously approved these changes. This resolution will go before the voters in November.

During the public comments, several citizens voiced their concerns about books in the school libraries that they believed were inappropriate for students.

After closing comments by the school board members, Superintendent Stratton announced his retirement.
In his statement, Stratton commented, “As superintendent, I have continuously worked to keep the focus on the educational opportunities our school district provides to our students and the ways that we, as a district, can improve and, in turn, make our community stronger. I have never felt that political games have any place in determining how we educate our students.”

He continued, “The focus on the negative has been detrimental to our schools in more ways than one. If you spent time in a classroom recently, you immediately understand the barriers facing education and you are also in awe of the magic our educators create daily.”

In addition, Stratton stated, “To the Hernando County staff, I say to you, ‘Be bold, keep doing what you are doing’…Your work, day in and day out, makes a difference for our community, our schools, our students, our families.”

He concluded, “I know it is time for me to move on to the next chapter.”

The announcement was met with gasps and stunned silence from the people in attendance at the meeting.

Current school board Chairman Linda Prescott stated, “Our district under his leadership has excelled and will continue to move in a positive direction because of his efforts and progressive ideas.”

Board member Mark Johnson remarked, “I’m not surprised that he’s leaving and I wish him the best of luck.”

Board member Gus Guadagnino commented, “Mr. Stratton has been with the district for many years. In every position he has had, he exceeded expectations. Mr. Stratton will be greatly missed.”

The other board members, Susan Duval and Shannon Rodriguez were not available for comment.

[Photo courtesy of the HCSD]
[Photo courtesy of the HCSD]

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