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Symbol crash

Opinion of The Suncoast News
Published:   |   Updated: May 16, 2013 at 09:26 PM

A week after receiving the go-ahead to reshape the top of the school district's administrative pyramid by reducing the number of assistant superintendents to two from four, Superintendent Kurt Browning named the people to fill those two assistant posts. Browning named Ray Gadd assistant superintendent for administration and operations, and Amelia Van Name Larson as assistant superintendent for student achievement.

To some, Gadd is best known as the administrator who coordinated the school district's successful effort to convince the Pasco electorate to approve the Penny for Pasco special sales tax in a 2004 referendum. In 2009, then-Superintendent Heather Fiorentino declined to renew the contract of Gadd, who at the time was assistant superintendent for support services. Van Name Larson resigned earlier this year after Fiorentino tried to reassign her from her job as supervisor in curriculum and instructional services to an elementary school assistant principal.

Many Gadd supporters suggested Fiorentino, a Republican, wanted him out because he was a holdover from the administration of her predecessor, Democrat John Long. Van Name Larson's backers said she was targeted by Fiorentino because she was supporting Browning over Fiorentino in the Republican superintendent primary, which Fiorentino denied.

We're not saying Gadd and Van Name Larson aren't good choices for the two assistant superintendent posts. Still, the symbolism of their speedy return can't be overlooked.

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