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New superintendent of Pinellas County Schools credits student-centered culture for retaining teachers

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Teacher shortages are worrying school systems across the country and the Tampa Bay area, but the situation is not dire in Pinellas County.

There’s a lot going on in the state’s seventh-largest school district. The new Superintendent credits a strong student-focused culture for retaining teachers.

Kevin Hendrick cites the $57 million renovation currently underway at Clearwater High School as an example.

“This is something every student in our school district deserves, and slowly but surely we will get all our facilities this way. Clearwater has been around for over 100 years. “We were just going to do a one-year upgrade because our newest campus is over 70 years old. We’re going to upgrade,” the new superintendent told FOX 13’s Allie Corey.

Hendrik has worked in the district for 23 years and graduated from Largo High School. Most recently, he served as principal and principal of Northeast High School in St. He Pete.

Hendrick said one of his biggest challenges is getting standards back to pre-pandemic levels. The district isn’t worried about staffing shortages, so he’s confident the district can do it.

But we still need more than 100 teachers.

“We have one vacancy per school, so we can keep track of that,” Hendrick pointed out.

more: School Day for New Pinellas County Superintendent

Hendrick believes there’s a reason Pinellas County hasn’t addressed the extreme teacher shortages seen in other districts.

“I think this school district in particular has done a really good job from the school board to keep the focus on what our students need. and the teacher said it was,” he explained.

Pinellas County Superintendent of Schools Kevin Hendrick

The starting salary for a teacher in Pinellas County is $48,675, slightly higher than Hillsboro’s $47,500.

“It is important to keep our teachers,” Hendrick said. is being collected.”

“This is probably the most exciting thing I’ve come back from a break,” says world history teacher Keith Ray.

He said Culture at Clearwater High School is proud to be a teacher.

“We have great kids. We will be back for them. We have great staff. It’s a big deal,” Ray said.

With its shiny new classrooms and state-of-the-art building, Clearwater High School Principal Eric Krause is excited to welcome his students and staff back.

“There’s a lot of movement, but the teachers have done a great job. The kids are very resilient. You can always go from Druid to Gulf, Gulf, Bey, and back, but eventually you’ll learn.” It’s going to be a beautiful place to be,” Krause said.

Construction at CHS will continue for another year or so, but the leaders are focused on the finish line.

“We believe this demonstrates Pinellas County Schools’ commitment to providing our community and children with the best learning spaces and the most innovative learning experiences possible,” Krause said.

Superintendent Hendrick says that means letting teachers do the work.

“You can close the door and put on a show every day for 180 days, so you have to take care of that and make sure your teachers understand it. No need to stress about it. What makes teaching so magical is the connection in the classroom,” Hendrick smiled.