LARGO — It’s been 21 months since Superintendent Michael Grego took the helm of the Pinellas County school district, and school board members like what they’ve seen.
The board voted Tuesday to extend Grego’s contract until June 30, 2020 — five years longer than the current contract. The school board also can vote to extend his contract an additional year each June.
“We need stability,” board Chairwoman Carol Cook said. “That’s when we’re at our best.”
The new deal calls upon Grego to report on the school district’s goals and progress by July 1 each year, and he’ll be evaluated by the board before Oct. 1 each year. That timeline coincides with the district’s budget process, to ensure the budget is aligned to meet those goals each year, board members said.
As the third superintendent since 2008, Grego inherited a district in need of stability.
Grego, former superintendent of Osceola County, was hired for the start of the 2012-13 school year and took over for interim Superintendent John Stewart, who held the position one year. The board previously had fired Julie Janssen after three years as superintendent.
“I can say there’s a culture of stability going on right now, there’s a forward movement,” said board member Robin Wikle, who worked with school district attorney David Koperski on Grego’s contract. “We have crossed the tipping point, there’s a good spirit in the air and I’m not just saying that, it can be backed up with data.
“You read statistics about the average superintendent staying in their position four to six years, and we really wanted to send a clear message to our staff and 15,000 employees that, yes, Dr. Grego is going to be around for a while,” she said.
Unity and stability are critical to creating a high-performing school district, Grego said.
“I look forward to many, many more years working with you. I love this community and the students of this community, and I couldn’t ask for a better place to work every day,” Grego said. “I will not let you down.”