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Pinellas superintendent to retire at the end of the 2021-2022 School Year

Jan. 6, 2022

This morning, Pinellas County Schools Superintendent, Dr. Michael A. Grego, announced his intent to retire at the end of the 2021-2022 school year with his last day being July 1, 2022. Dr. Grego has served in public education in the state of Florida for 42 years, with the last 10 of his career as superintendent of Pinellas County Schools.

“Pinellas County Schools is an exceptional district because of the amazing staff, students, families and community that work together to achieve excellence. I am so proud of our collective accomplishments over the past 10 years,” Dr. Grego shared.  “Together, we have taken a district that desperately needed stability and brought a renewed focus on student achievement, district and school operations, facility modernizations and fiscal discipline. Collaboratively, we developed one of the highest achieving, most productive, accomplished and student-centered districts in the state and nation. But, like all great relay races, it is time to pass the baton. I am excited to watch the race continue at what I know will be an even greater pace of improvement. I am honored to have served the staff, students and families of Pinellas County and sincerely appreciate their support over the last 10 years.”

“Dr. Grego has done a truly outstanding job making Pinellas County Schools a national leader in public education,” added current School Board Chair Eileen Long. “I have served with Dr. Grego over the last five years and know he has given his all to the students and staff of Pinellas County Schools. He has served with honor, integrity and, above all, heart, and has always led with what is best for the students.  I am deeply saddened by the news, but I know Dr. Grego is leaving our district in a much better place than when he started, and I am confident our next superintendent has an exceptional foundation to continue our progress. Dr. Grego will be greatly missed, and I wish him much happiness in his retirement.” 

Board member Carol Cook added, “I had the good fortune of being on the Board when Dr. Grego was selected and have worked with him throughout his tenure with Pinellas County Schools. He has worked tirelessly to elevate the educational opportunities for all students and has never shied away from bold goals and decisions. He has fostered a culture of excellence throughout the district, and that shows in the results we are seeing with graduations rates, school grades and a multitude of other measurements. The mark of a great leader is that they build great leaders around them and leave behind an organization that is positioned for success.  Dr. Grego has done that, and while I am not happy about this news, I know the district is on firm footing thanks to his dedication and service. I look forward to working with him over the next six months to ensure students and staff have a successful 2021-2022 school year.”  

Under Dr. Grego’s leadership, Pinellas County Schools have seen remarkable improvement in all areas. When he arrived, the district established a strategic planning process that identified specific areas of needed improvement and held all employees including himself accountable for that improvement. 

In 2015, the district earned districtwide accreditation for the first time, and has maintained its accreditation status. 

The district’s overall graduation rate increased from slightly under 70 percent to 92 percent. Graduation rates for subgroups increased as well.  The Black graduation rate rose from 56 percent to 86.3 percent and the Hispanic graduation rate increased from 64 percent to 92 percent. Students with disabilities increased their graduation rate from under 40 percent to 83.8 percent and English Learners advanced from 48 percent to 91 percent. 

Schools that were failing when Dr. Grego arrived have all made improvements, specifically: Campbell Park, Fairmount Park, Maximo and Melrose elementary schools moved from an F to a C and Lakewood Elementary moved from an F to an A during a global pandemic. 

During his tenure, Dr. Grego developed a Board-approved, nationally recognized Bridging the Gap plan to eliminate the gap between Black and non-Black students in six key areas and hired the district’s first Minority Achievement Officer to oversee the plan, its work and outcomes. Over the past ten years, positive progress has been made with increases in the graduation rate, student achievement, advanced coursework and minority hiring; and decreases in student discipline and ESE identification. 

Additionally, he led the creation of a district Hispanic Achievement Council to oversee the academic advancement and opportunity of all Hispanic students.  As a result, Pinellas County’s Hispanic students have significantly increased enrollment in honors and advanced college-level classes and achieved a graduation rate of 92 percent matching the district’s overall rate. 

Summer learning opportunities were created under his leadership including the signature Summer Bridge programming which provides engaging learning activities over the summer to put students on a stronger path to success when the next school year begins. During this same time period, he established innovative STEM learning programs at every school across the district. These experiences for students became signature initiatives that were replicated across the state. 

The district significantly increased access and enrollment for all students in honors and college-level courses such as Advanced Placement, Dual Enrollment, Cambridge AICE and International Baccalaureate programs, with the belief that students will rise to the challenges put before them. Since the 2012-2013 school year there has been a 79 percent increase in the number of students taking a college-level course while in high school with over 13,000 students engaging in accelerated courses in 2020-2021.   

One of Dr. Grego’s first moves upon arriving was to fund and place gifted education programs at every elementary school. Prior to this, students had to travel to regional sites and lost valuable instructional time.  With universal screening, the number of students, especially underrepresented students, significantly increased. Established the first elementary and middle gifted center program in St. Petersburg eliminating long bus rides for students and families who wanted to participate.

Most recently, the district established a comprehensive plan centered around early learning to address the needs of the county’s youngest learners. Over the last three years, the district implemented the Reading Recovery Program in partnership with the University of Florida, added more than 150 Voluntary Prekindergarten (VPK) sections so that all early learners develop a strong reading foundation and opened three Centers for Literacy Innovation to directly serve students who need deeper reading instruction. 

With a focus on educating the whole child, one of Dr. Grego’s top priorities has been the expansion of all performing and visual arts programs in the district.   He has worked tirelessly to grow elementary strings programs and middle and high school bands, choral and art programs and facilities.  He has supported the opportunity for students to compete throughout the United States as Pinellas arts programs are known and respected throughout the nation.  Most recently the district invested in a new performing arts coordinator position to increase articulation of music programs from elementary to middle and high schools. 

Dr. Grego also championed Career and Technical Education. Over the last ten years, access to Career and Technical education programs increased through career academies in all high schools and the additional programs at all middle schools. The district’s first technical high school, Richard O. Jacobson Technical High School at Seminole, opened in 2018 in partnership with the Pinellas Education Foundation. Due to its outstanding technical education reputation, the district received the largest donation in its history, $5 million from the Richard O. Jacobson Foundation, to support the school and build a new veterinary science building. Pinellas Technical College Clearwater underwent an expansive renovation and new partnerships were formed to establish programs in high-demand, high-wage fields such as computer programming and gaming, veterinary assistance and nursing.  

Over the last three years, the district has designed, built and implemented College and Career Centers in nine high schools with plans to expand to all high schools in the next two years to help students successfully compete and enter postsecondary education. The college centers will have significantly helped students gain access to all levels of postsecondary education including top-tiered universities such as Yale, Harvard, Stanford, Howard, military academies, visual and performing arts schools and more. 

Under Dr. Grego’s leadership, the district eliminated over 20 D and F schools and has increased the number of A, B and C schools.  Additionally, 22 schools exited state turnaround status during his tenure. Melrose Elementary was completely rebuilt, to include a community center for neighborhood use. Melrose Elementary now has a waiting list to enroll and plans to build an additional classroom wing to accommodate new students.

In addition to Melrose Elementary, the district established and implemented an aggressive school building modernization plan by investing over 750 million dollars to ensure all Pinellas public schools are world-class environments of learning. Many renovations included adding or updating existing education programs for students. Schools that opened or underwent improvements include Elisa Nelson Elementary School Center for Gifted Studies and Literacy Innovation; Kings Highway Elementary Magnet School of Technology; Midtown Academy Center for Gifted Studies, Arts, and Literacy Innovation; Orange Grove Elementary; San Jose Elementary; Pinellas Park Middle School; Tyrone Middle School Center for Innovation and Digital Learning; East Lake Middle School of Engineering; Richard O. Jacobson Technical High School at Seminole; Largo High School, including a new International Baccalaureate program; Clearwater High School; St. Petersburg High School; the Tarpon Spring High School Leadership Conservatory for the Arts; and Pinellas Technical College – Clearwater. Additionally, more than 500 portable classrooms have been eliminated across the district, beginning with the addition of two new classroom wings at Palm Harbor University High School (replacing 47 portables), and most recently with the construction of 18 modern, state-of-the-art classroom wings at a variety of elementary schools.

Finally, the district is working with the YMCA of Greater St Petersburg to build a YMCA/Pinellas County Schools Partnership Middle School scheduled to open for the 2023-2024 school year.

Administratively, Dr. Grego has worked diligently to attract and retain the highest quality administrators, teachers and support staff, increasing pay and benefits by more than 40 percent, one of the highest, if not the highest, increases in the state. 

Over the past 10 years, Pinellas County Schools and Dr. Grego have been recognized by the following organizations:  

District Recognition

  • Council of the Great City Schools, a consortium of the nation’s largest urban school districts
  • National Council for Teacher Quality: Great District for Great Teachers
  • Ford Next Generation Learning
  • Brookings Institute
  • Magnet Schools of America
  • Best Communities for Music Education
  • Districts of Distinction
  • Alliance for a Healthier Generation
  • Model Schools of America
  • S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Energy: Energy Partner of the Year 

Individual Superintendent Recognition

 The Pinellas County School Board will discuss and finalize a process to select a new superintendent.  Information about the process will be posted at