Assistant principal moved up
By JEFFREY S. SOLOCHEK, Times Staff Writer
BROOKSVILLE -- Just two weeks ago, schools superintendent Wendy Tellone gave Marcia Austin what seemed faint praise after naming someone else as principal of Powell Middle School.
Austin will be a principal some day, Tellone said, when the fit is right.
"I honestly didn't think I was going to be selected this year," Austin said of the three public school principal jobs coming open in Hernando County. "There are so many good candidates out there."
On Monday, Austin fit right in at J.D. Floyd Elementary School.
Tellone named the Parrott Middle School assistant principal to take the helm at Floyd starting July 1, after Janet Yungmann-Barkalow retires. Austin, 45, matched the school's needs going into the future, Tellone said.
She is the second first-time principal and the second black person Tellone has appointed principal in the past month. Tellone has said race is not an issue when seeking the best candidate, but she has acknowledged the need to diversify the district's administrative ranks.
Austin, who never has worked at an elementary school before, said she was nervous but excited about the prospects of leading the school where her two daughters -- now in college -- attended years ago.
"I am just looking forward to working with them and moving them forward in their quest to reach new altitudes," she said.
She planned to meet with the Floyd staff in mid March, after schools complete the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test.
Austin's appointment also affected the search for a new principal at Hernando High School, where Elaine Sullivan will retire when the academic year ends. Austin had been a finalist for that job, along with Hernando High assistant principal Rick Wilson and Central High assistant principal Betty Harper.
Personnel director Barbara Kidder said the field will remain with two finalists, whom Tellone will interview Wednesday. No other candidates will be added to the short list, she said.
Austin has a master's degree in education from Fordham University in New York and a bachelor's degree in mathematics from St. Francis College in New York. She is pursuing a doctorate in education leadership from Nova Southeastern University.
She has been assistant principal at Parrott since 1996. In that position, she has been in charge of curriculum and the code of conduct. From 1990 to 1996, Austin was a math teacher and department chairwoman at Central High School.
She is married and lives in Spring Hill.
-- Jeffrey S. Solochek covers education in Hernando County and can be reached at 754-6115. Send e-mail to email@example.com .
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