Dr. Michael Grego named 2018 Florida Superintendent of the Year
Nov. 29, 2017
The announcement was made Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2017 by Sen. Bill Montford, CEO of the Florida Association of District School Superintendents, and Robert Runcie, president of the Florida Association of District School Superintendents and superintendent of Broward County Schools, during a joint meeting in Tampa with the Florida School Boards Association.
“Dr. Grego empowers those around him to take risks,” said Rene Flowers, Pinellas County School Board Chairperson. “Dr. Grego’s willingness to embrace all sectors of the community is to be commended. His systems-focused approach to improving our school district is resulting in increased student achievement, improved operations and revered academic programming. He is focused on growing greatness at all levels.”
Dr. Grego is a visionary leader and educator whose career spans more than 35 years. He was named superintendent of Pinellas County Schools in September 2012.
Dr. Grego began as a teacher with Hillsborough County Schools and advanced to become the Assistant Superintendent for Technical, Career & Adult Education, and Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum & Instruction. After 28 years with Hillsborough, Dr. Grego was selected as Superintendent for the Osceola County school district, which saw dramatic improvements under his leadership, especially among minority students.
Under Dr. Grego’s leadership, Pinellas County Schools achieved districtwide accreditation and has received national recognition. In 2015, the Learning Counsel honored Pinellas as one of the top 10 districts in the nation for its digital curriculum strategy, and Pinellas was named a Ford Next Generation Learning Model Community, a milestone designation for preparing high school students for success.
For the last two years, the Brookings Institution ranked Pinellas County Schools as the top in Florida and in the top 10 nationally for districts offering the best choices for parents. In 2017, Pinellas earned a top-10 ranking in the Digital School Districts Survey for exemplary use of technology. The same year, Pinellas was named one of only eight Great Districts for Great Teachers by the National Council for Teacher Quality.
Under Dr. Grego’s leadership, the graduation rate has climbed to 80.1 percent, an 8.2 percent increase since 2012-2013, and the highest in district history. During that time, the graduation rate for black students in Pinellas increased 9.1 percentage points and the graduation rate for Hispanic students increased 12.7 percentage points. In 2017, the number of A and B schools increased from 43 to 51. And over the past two years, the number of D and F schools dropped significantly.
During his tenure, Dr. Grego has implemented numerous initiatives to extend learning time and increase achievement. These include Summer Bridge, a six-week summer learning program, and Connect for Success, which provides take-home laptops for students at Title I elementary schools. His efforts to develop Summer Bridge inspired Florida Trend magazine to name him one of its “People to Watch” in 2013.
Dr. Grego has aggressively worked to eliminate achievement gaps. In 2013, he collaborated with district leaders and community members to launch the Bridging the Gap strategic plan aimed at closing the achievement gap between African American students and their peers. He led initiatives to increase achievement and provide intense support for lower performing schools. Dr. Grego led the development of new policies and practices to improve behavior and reduce suspensions. As a result, out-of-school suspensions dropped 41.8 percent and referrals dropped 30.3 percent in three years.
Dr. Grego has focused on expanding opportunities for students to challenge themselves, encouraging more students to participate in rigorous coursework, including Advanced Placement courses. Since 2013, Pinellas County Schools saw a 40.8 percent increase in the number of AP exams taken. During that same period, there was a 42.5 percent increase in the number of AP exams with a score of 3 or higher. Over the past year, the district saw a 10.8 percent increase in exams taken and a 12.1 percent increase in exams with scores of 3 or higher. Hispanic students saw a 12.9 percent increase in the number of exams scoring 3 or higher and African American students saw a 23.9 percent increase.
Drawing on his background in career education, Dr. Grego advanced opportunities for students to prepare for college and careers. Under his leadership, the number of industry certifications earned by students has increased from 2,222 in the 2011-12 school year to 13,234 in the 2016-17 school year.
Recognizing that science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) professions are among the fastest growing career fields, Dr. Grego promoted the development and expansion of before- and after-school STEM Academies. The district now offers 250 STEM Academies, nearly 5 times as many as were offered when they were launched in 2013-14. Science Labs have been established in elementary schools, allowing students in grades 2-5 access to hands-on opportunities to master science concepts.
Dr. Grego has been recognized at the state and national level for his innovation and leadership. In 2013, he was a finalist for the Florida Department of Education’s Florida District Data Leader of the Year Award. In 2014, Dr. Grego received an inaugural Whitney M. Young Jr. Leadership Award from the Pinellas County Urban League for his commitment to the community.
In 2016, he received the USF College of Education Dean’s Lifetime Achievement Award. The same year, he was recognized by the Board of Directors of Personal Enrichment through Mental Health Services with the 2016 Pacesetter Award in the Special Recognition category; and his outstanding leadership was recognized when he was selected as a finalist for the Green-Garner Award from the Council of the Great City Schools.
In October, Dr. Grego was named the 2017 Florida Art Education Association Superintendent of the Year. And earlier this month, Dr. Grego was selected as the Superintendent of the Year by the National School Foundation Association.