Wednesday, Jan 28, 2015

Principals plan early exits

Jeff Schmucker Hernando Today
Published:   |   Updated: May 7, 2013 at 05:49 PM

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The district superintendent isn't the only one who will be making this year his last with two school principals slated to leave before the end of the school year.

Superintendent Bryan Blavatt confirmed Wednesday that Central High School Principal Joe Clifford and Challenger K-8 Principal Sue Stoops would be leaving their posts sometime between February and March.

Although Clifford couldn't be reached for comment, Stoops said she is leaving at the end of the current semester.

Blavatt said their departure in the school year is due to the timing when both entered into the Deferred Retirement Option Program.

Their leaving puts him in a difficult position, Blavatt said, since he will have to select their replacements while planning on leaving the district at the end of the 2012-13 school year.

"It's kind of tough to come in January or during the second semester and appoint a new principal knowing they're going to work for someone else," Blavatt said. "Having to make that selection mid year also creates its own set of problems, but we'll advertise and obviously select who we think are the best candidates."

He added that he expects school board members to determine when to begin searching for his replacement sometime this year.

Stoops said she has difficulty thinking about this semester being her last at Challenger after having worked with many of her staff for roughly 20 of the 35 years she's worked in the district.

She said that she decided not to return to the school after the end of the semester rather than leave closer to when students would be taking standardized tests.

Although there are aspects of the job she loves — and others she won't miss at all — Stoops said saying goodbye to the people will be the most difficult.

"Some days are exciting. Some days are terrifying because I'm not sure what I'm going to do," Stoops said. "It's sad because I'm just going to miss the kids and people I've worked with for so many years. That will be the toughest part."

Other school leaders expected to leave during or after the 2012-13 school year are: (352) 544-5271

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