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Schools

New principals lay down lofty goals for students

Scott Fritz wants to see students boost their reading scores and maintain their already strong levels in math and writing.

By MICHAEL A. MOHAMMED
Published March 23, 2007


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NEW TAMPA - Scott Fritz opened Riverview's Giunta Middle School two years ago.

Next week he will take the reins of Wharton High School.

Although sad to leave Giunta, Fritz said he is excited about a chance to "get another education."

"I think experience is the most important thing, and I think the experience I've been given makes this the natural, progressive step," he said.

He said Wharton's students already score well in math and writing, strengths he hopes to maintain.

This year, Fritz plans to focus on raising the high school's reading scores.

He shrugged when asked about the difference between middle- and high-schoolers.

"Kids are kids," he said. "Of course, high school kids have a lot on their plate."

Like middle-schoolers, though, "they still want approval."

Fritz grew up in Lutz and graduated from Gaither High School in 1987. He holds a bachelor's in sociology from the University of South Florida, and did his postgraduate work at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Myers.

He started out teaching students with learning disabilities at Eisenhower Junior High School, then taught students with emotional disabilities at Horace Mann Middle School.

In 2003, he became principal at Benito Middle School before moving to Giunta in 2005.

Fritz, who is 38, lives in Brandon. His wife, Anna Ruth Fritz, teaches at Hugo Schmidt Elementary, where 8-year-old son Reese attends third grade. Daughter Natasha, 13, is in sixth grade at Giunta.

Students are comfortable with Fritz, said Maria Goode, who works in the Giunta front office and has a son in the school. Many write him notes when they are upset about something or to apologize for misbehaving.

He believes visibility is the key to his easy rapport with kids.

"If they see you, when they know you care, they'll talk to you," he said. "As a leader, you have to be smart enough to know when to shut up and listen."

He does so, he said, while rarely raising his voice.

"You don't have to be a screamer or a hollerer," he said. "Sometimes you can say things softer."

Fritz at first fought the urge to become a teacher. "I realized money was not something they throw at educators," he said. He considered law but realized he loved to teach.

"This is my niche," he said. He relishes "getting everything taken care of in the time you have to do it, making sure it all gets done and done right."

Michael A. Mohammed

CARROLLWOOD - Congratulatory bouquets of flowers and bright helium balloons still blanketed Teresa Campbell's office days after the Hillsborough County School Board announced her appointment as principal of Essrig Elementary School.

She'd taken home armsful of flowers already, but more kept coming.

"We've really got a great staff," she said. And the staff, she said, feels just like family.

Campbell has been Essrig's assistant principal for the past four years and officially takes the principal position on Monday.

Essrig's former principal, Karen Zielenski, was appointed principal at James A. Hammond Elementary School, scheduled to open in August on the Walker Middle School campus.

As her successor, Campbell plans to "stretch students" at the A-graded school to perform at even higher standards.

Coming from a family full of educators, Campbell said, "Education is our life."

Campbell started in the Hillsborough County school system as a fifth-grade teacher at Egypt Lake Elementary in 1991.

She would later teach third and first grade at Egypt Lake before becoming a reading resource teacher there.

"Working with (kindergarten through fifth-grade) students, I got a good understanding of each grade level's needs," she said.

Campbell, 37, lives in Odessa with her family: husband, Kyle, and their two children, Wesley, 9, and Chloe, 6, who attend Northwest Elementary School.

Amber Mobley

[Last modified March 22, 2007, 08:06:03]


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