Marathon High principal Gracy leaving after four years

rmccarthy@keynoter.comMay 10, 2014 

Hammond Gracy is stepping down next month after four years as principal at Marathon High School.

Gracy said it's likely he'll head to Duval County (Jacksonville), where he was a principal before taking over for Harry Russell in Marathon in 2010. He's owned a home in Atlantic Beach since 1986.

"I've got four really good years here at Marathon and I have some opportunities coming up for our family," he said. "I have several opportunities in higher education and some private enterprise that are too good to turn down."

Gracy's contract runs through June 30, though he could leave the job before that date. He's already got 36 years in the Florida Retirement System.

"If another opportunity arises, I'd make an arrangement with the district. Depending on what I do, there's a possibility we stay in the Marathon area," he said, noting his three daughters are comfortable in the Keys school system.

Gracy said at Marathon, he focused on encouraging students toward more rigorous coursework.

"It's the same thing I did in Jacksonville I did here. One was the SpringBoard curriculum, two was the AVID program and third was open access to [advanced placement] courses," he said. "Instead of having people who block kids from getting into courses of rigor, you go out and get more kids."

SpringBoard is a language arts program created by the College Board Corp. that is essentially "pre-advanced placement work for the students." AVID stands for Advancement Via Individual Determination, a program started in California in 1980.

"It provides additional time and support to kids so they can move toward advanced coursework. It's a nonprofit corporation and they put together a system," Gracy said.

"There's a lot of good stuff going on at Marathon. I spent most of my time in large urban high schools, and I got some experience working at a small rural school, too," he said.

On May 27, School District Superintendent Mark Porter will recommend to the School Board his selections for principals for the next school year.

Porter wants Christina McPherson to transition from interim to permanent principal of Poinciana Elementary School in Key West. Steven Vinson and Kristy Bedell are respectively up for the assistant principal posts at Horace O'Bryant Middle School and Coral Shores High.

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