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Posted on November 22, 2016
TALLAHASSEE — Rocky Hanna expects his first day as Leon County School Superintendent to be a lot like his first day as Leon High School principal, just on a larger scale.
“I expect I’ll be putting out fires and working toward the future,” he said.
He won’t be sworn in until November 22, but life is already hectic.
“With 33,000 students and around 66,000 parents, there is a lot to be done,” Hanna said, “but that’s why I ran. I’m not scared to roll up my sleeves and get to work.”
“It’s important to me that when people look back at my time as superintendent, they say ‘Rocky did a good job.’” he said.
Hanna ran on a platform of eliminating wasteful spending, increasing teacher morale and autonomy and reducing testing, especially in the lower school. Those remain his priority as he looks forward to his first days as superintendent.
“I will evaluate different positions, departments and programs and I have some good ideas of where to find wasteful spending, but I really don’t want to elaborate until I get in there,” he said.
He wants to push the funding away from the wasteful areas and back into the classrooms.
He also wants to improve teacher morale by giving teachers more control over their classrooms. “I want to let our teachers be the professionals they were trained to be,” Hanna said.
Lower school children are under too much stress at too young of an age, according to Hanna.
“There is undue stress on our six and seven year-olds,” Hanna said. He explained that, yes, a lot of the testing was mandated by the state but the children are evaluated locally and given grades A through F based on the test assessment.
He said he will discuss eliminating letter grades and perhaps changing to a “pass/fail” format, possibly to as high as second grade.
“I want to have a conversation with our teachers and parents and figure out how we ended up here and determine if there is some middle ground we can reach (where children aren’t over tested but progress can be evaluated),” Hanna said.
Hanna won election Nov. 8 as Leon County Superintendent, unseating incumbent Jackie Pons.