LARGO — Two longtime Pinellas County education leaders will step down this week, but their presence will be felt for years to come, school board members said.
Former teacher Kim Black finishes her seventh year as president of the Pinellas County Classroom Teachers Association on Sunday, she told the board Tuesday. Term limits prevent her from seeking re-election.
Jim Myers, chairman of the Pinellas Education Foundation, a nonprofit organization of local business and community leaders, is ending his two-year term July 1.
“Mr. Myers has worked to maintain a very strong partnership with the school district,” board chairwoman Carol Cook said. “He stands up and is very humble and always gives credit to everyone else, but he has done so much hard work himself and I want to thank him for that.”
Myers, president and CEO of the Crown Automotive Group, will be succeeded by Cathy Collins, vice chairwoman of the foundation. Collins is also CEO of Meridien Research.
Black, who has advocated for Pinellas teachers statewide and in Washington, introduced her replacement, Mike Gandolfo, to board members.
Gandolfo graduated from the University of South Florida with a degree in business management and was the owner and operator of a restaurant for almost 18 years before going into teaching. Since earning a master’s degree in history and being hired by the school district in 2004, Gandolfo has worked as an eighth-grade American History teacher at Morgan Fitzgerald Middle School in Largo. He also is co-chairman of the teachers association’s human civil rights committee, sits on the union’s executive board and government relations committee, and represents the association at the Central Labor Council.
“This is going to be a very hard act to follow,” Gandolfo said. “Kim’s a very passionate leader, and I hope to be as good a leader as she was.”
Black asked school board members to continue their close relationship with the union in the coming years.
“Walking in as a new superintendent and having Kim there has been a joy, and has certainly been helpful for me to work through negotiations with staff or just get a heads up on things,” Superintendent Michael Grego said.
♦ Grego said nearly 12,000 students enrolled in the Summer Bridge summer school program — double last year’s number. About 8,000 are in elementary school, more than 2,000 are middle schoolers and about 1,000 are in high school. Summer Bridge runs June 17 to July 24.
Board members approved several principal hires: Belinda Atkins, assistant principal of Curlew Creek Elementary, to principal of Ozona Elementary; Daphne Miles, assistant principal at Garrison-Jones Elementary, to principal at Sunset Hills Elementary; Kristen Sulte, principal of Bay Vista Fundamental Elementary, to principal of Azalea Elementary; Kristy Moody, assistant principal to principal of Doug Jamerson Elementary; Shannon Brennan, assistant principal to prinicipal of Mildred Helms Elementary; Tammy Keiper, assistant principal at Plumb Elementary to principal at Woodlawn Elementary.
Board members approved an agreement to share student data with the Juvenile Welfare Board and the University of South Florida to study truancy and absenteeism patterns.