87.4 F
Spring Hill
Wednesday, May 22, 2024
HomeEducationHCSB To Negotiate with Pinder for Interim Superintendent

HCSB To Negotiate with Pinder for Interim Superintendent

- Advertisement -

The Hernando County School Board has picked a potential successor as interim superintendent. Whether that person actually accepts the position is now a matter of negotiation.

During a board meeting on Tuesday, by a vote of 3-2, assistant superintendent of business and support services Ray Pinder was tabbed to enter talks with the school district to become the interim replacement for John Stratton, who announced his retirement earlier this month, effective at the end of the school’s fiscal year on June 30.

“I believe that we shouldn’t be looking elsewhere,” said the board’s vice chair, Susan Duval. “It needs to be internal and we have two assistants who are well-versed in this district, have been here a long time, who have been in a variety of positions and know this district inside and out.”

Assistant superintendent of teaching and learning Gina Michalicka was also mentioned as a candidate and particularly received high praise from board member Shannon Rodriguez. However, speaking in front of the board, Michalicka declined consideration.

- Advertisement -

“At this time my decision is to remain in my position that I’m currently in and to finish the work that I’ve been doing,” Michalicka said. “That doesn’t mean down the road in the future I wouldn’t revisit that, but at this current time and just some of the situations that we have in front of us with an election coming up and various things, I feel it’s in my best interest to stay in the position that I’m in.”

Conversely, Pinder told the board he would be open to negotiations for the interim position. Duval, Gus Guadagnino and board chair Linda Prescott voted in favor of Pinder, while Rodriguez and Mark Johnson voted for former Parrott Middle School and Moton Elementary principal Brent Gaustad.

Whether Pinder or someone else takes the job, it will only be on a one-year interim basis due to two spots on the board being up for election this year. Johnson proposed a six-month contract, but others pushed back that a full year was necessary.

“To go just six months would be a very unstable move,” Duval said. “It needs to go through at least the minimum of the school year in order for this new board, which will be a new board by at least one member, they will have the opportunity to watch this person in action, work with this person who is in action for a time period that’s reasonable. Six months and a month-to-month is just instability at its worst.”

“A good interim superintendent affords the board time to determine what exactly we are looking for in a permanent hire, not something we do just on a moment’s notice,” Rodriguez said. “They maintain stability during this transitional period.”

The board was in unanimous agreement to stay within the district for now, though that topic still brought about some controversy.

“I believe that under the circumstances, you’re not going to get anyone of good quality to come to Hernando County,” Guadagnino said. “We’ve got a reputation out there that a professional person is not going to come knocking on our door too quickly.

“I believe that education as a whole is going to change so dramatically. I believe that in the next five years education is going to change faster than it has in the last 50 years. And I think we need to have someone that knows our ground and knows both sides of the house, whether it be the economics and the operation and all that.”

Rodriguez chastised Guadagnino for his negative comments, saying he was “acting like a pharaoh” for attempting to strong-arm the board. The two later had a heated exchange, where Guadagnino defended his statement by citing state legislators when they called for Stratton to step down last year, as well as some board members calling for a vote of no-confidence. These actions stemmed from Stratton’s handling of an incident involving a transgender teacher making threats, which drew national media attention.

Chris Bernhardt
Chris Bernhardt
A resident of Spring Hill since 1986, Chris graduated from Springstead High in 1999 before moving on to earn a bachelor’s degree in journalism at the University of Central Florida. In summer of 2003 he joined the staff at Hernando Today, working at the paper for 11 years as a sports reporter, the last three as sports coordinator in charge of the paper’s sports coverage. After an initial 3-year stint with Hernando Sun, he spent four years as a staff sports reporter at the Citrus County Chronicle. Follow on X @cpbernhardtjr.
- Advertisment -

Subscribe to our newsletter

To be updated with all the latest news, offers and special announcements.

You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the link in the footer of our emails. For information about our privacy practices, please visit our website.
We use Mailchimp as our marketing platform. By clicking to subscribe, you acknowledge that your information will be transferred to Mailchimp for processing.

Most Popular