Top PBC school district official stripped of his power

By Al Pefley - bio | email

A top school district official -- stripped of his power.

Jeffrey Hernandez has been reassigned to another job within the Palm Beach County School District. Hernandez was the school distrct's Chief Academic Officer until this week, when he was given a different job, working with low-performing schools trying to raise test scores.

His critics are happy to see him reassigned, but are not ready to call it a victory just yet.

Lisa Goldman says her phone has been ringing off the hook. Goldman, a Wellington parent, who started a Facebook group called "Testing is not Teaching", has been one of Jeffrey Hernandez's biggest critics.

And she's delighted that he's been reassigned and is no longer the Palm Beach County School district's Chief Academic Officer. "To know that he's not driving the ship right now, not at the helm, is fantastic news."

Since the story broke Monday, Goldman says parents and teachers have been calling her practically non-stop to tell her how happy they are. "It's a fantastic Christmas present!"

"Do you view this as a victory?" we asked. "I'm hesitant to use the word 'Victory,'" Goldman responded.

In recent weeks, Jeffrey Hernandez angered some parents and teachers when he unveiled a district-wide academic plan that included a standardized lesson plan and pacing that teachers had to follow, frequent testing for students and a team of administrators who monitored teachers to make sure they stuck to the plan.

Now that Hernandez has been moved to a different job, Goldman just hopes teachers in Palm Beach County Public Schools will be free to go back to teaching the way they used to, at their own pace. "I think without having Hernandez sitting in the driver's seat, pushing on the teachers, breathing down their necks I'm hopeful that the teachers will get to go back and do their work without having to look over their shoulders," Goldman said. Jeffrey Hernandez could not be reached for comment today.

He will continue to be paid his $180,000 a year salary by the school district.

According to superintendent Dr. Art Johnson, Hernandez is being placed in another job in which he will work with principals at about 30 of the district's low-performing schools to improve test scores.