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Elementary principals’ contracts not renewed

BRADENTON — Manatee County School District Superintendant Tim McGonegal has not renewed two principals’ contracts for the upcoming school year.

Oneco Elementary Principal Marian Summers and Braden River Elementary Principal Randy Mungillo were recently asked to resign their administrative posts at the end of this school year due to “performance related issues.”

Summers has been principal for about a decade at the school on State Road 70.

McGonegal cited student Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test scores as the reason he asked Summers to resign from the school, which has maintained a “C” grade during the past five years.

“We have not seen a progress in FCAT scores like we wanted to,” McGonegal said after Monday night’s school board meeting.

Mungillo has been head administrator for the past five years at Braden River Elementary on River Club Boulevard in East Manatee.

Although that school has maintained an “A” grade during the past five years, McGonegal would not go into detail on Mungillo’s nonrenewal.

But he did say it was based on performance issues.

Both administrators, whose contracts run on a yearly basis, have been given an opportunity to work elsewhere in the district.

McGonegal said Summers plans to retire, while Mungillo — a former guidance counselor and physical education teacher — has opted to return to the classroom.

During Monday night’s school board meeting, Braden River Elementary fifth grade teacher Robert Gorley told board members he was shocked and saddened Mungillo’s contract was not renewed.

“I have no idea why,” said Gorley, who spoke on behalf of some staff members at the school. “He’s been awesome.”

During his tenure at Braden River Elementary, Gorley said, Mungillo has been a logical, fair leader whose main interest is the education and welfare of students.

The percentage of the school’s students on free and reduced lunch has more than tripled since Mungillo was hired as principal, Gorley said, yet the school still maintains high academics and success.

The school, he added, turns away up to 40 students a year due to popularity.

“And during our school’s $8.3 million site reconstruction, his leadership has allowed for as seamless a transition as possible,” Gorley said.

“If Mr. Mungillo has areas that need improvement, give him the area to improve,” Gorley said. “We do not want to lose our leader, our partner. We want to retain Mr. Mungillo as our principal.”

This isn’t the first time McGonegal has declined to renew principals’ contracts.

Last year former administrators Scott Cooper, Buffalo Middle Creek; Debbie Valcarcel; Palmetto High; and Mike Horne, Southeast High, were asked to resign.

Horne was later rehired after protests from teachers. He retired in March.

In other business Monday, board members eliminated the attendance zone at Rowlett Elementary. That means students are no longer assigned to the school just because they live nearby. Instead, they will attend either Samoset or Orange Ridge elementaries, both within walking distance.

The change opens up space at Rowlett for students from other parts of the county, said Danny Lundeen, the district’s director of student demographics.

One reason Rowlett is so in demand is because it’s a magnet school — a public school with specialized courses like math-sciences or performing arts programs created to attract students from across the county. Of the 908 students at the school at 3500 Ninth St. E., 645 are from outside its attendance zone and 263 live in the zone, Lundeen said.

Students currently zoned to the school would be allowed to stay and finish there. Empty seats would be created by the graduating fifth grade class and by residents who move out of the zone.

“Even if it’s 50 years from now and you live in that area, you would still have the priority to attend that school,” school board member Barbara Harvey said.

Also Monday night:

n Todd Richardson, an assistant principal at Rowlett Elementary, was appointed as principal of H.S. Moody Elementary School for the 2010-11 school year. Richardson, 36, replaces Tom Wailand who retires this school year after 35 years in the district. Richardson was hired in the district as a teacher in 1996.

n District officials rescheduled for June 10 a public hearing regarding a mandatory uniform policy for district students. They also postponed a public hearing on a proposed policy that would create more peanut-free schools here. A new date was not announced on Monday.

n Board members named Bayshore High School’s gymnasium after Coach Jan Brady. Brady is a former math teacher and basketball coach.

n Students from the Oneco Elementary School Gifted Program displayed a project entitled: “Stop Girl Bullying.”

n The board recognized 20 students who attended the 2010 State Science & Engineering Fair in Orlando last month. They were selected from 1st Place Category winners at the Lockheed Martin Manatee Regional Science & Engineering Fair which took place in January. Finalists are: Andrew Klein, Michael Milkovich, Katherine Zimmerman, Colton Glyder, Kimberly Bolta, Kevin Lyons, Erica Zampello, Hunter Brown, Bryce Register, Landen Thomas, Ethan Howell, Connor Yaryura, Cameron Mailloux, Cameron Young, Cassandra Alley, Jessica Zimmerman, Kaili Hartman, Katty Pierre-Charles, Kathryn Raines and Coral Nimz.

n Board members proclaimed May 8-15 as National AmeriCorps Week.