New Mainland Principal to Rebuild Trust

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — School administrators are trying to rebuild trust at Mainland High after investigations into its principal led them to take the unusual step of replacing her just a week before the start of the school year.

  • Tim Huth appointed Mainland principal a week before start of school
  • Previous principal, Dr. Cheryl Salerno, was subject of 2 investigations
  • School Board chairman says he has full confidence Huth will rebuild trust
  • PREVIOUSLY:

The Volusia County School Board announced last week that after a second investigation into Dr. Cheryl Salerno, she would be replaced by Tim Huth, a former Mainland principal who was also recently a candidate for the interim superintendent position now occupied by Tim Egnor. 

Salerno had received a reprimand after an investigation into the distribution of mock AP exams taken by hundreds of students without their knowledge. However, School Board Chairman Carl Persis said she was placed on leave after another investigation into a yet undisclosed issue.

“I have full and total confidence in Tim Huth serving as the principal of Mainland High School,” Persis said Monday, the first day of classes across the county.

Some parents were happy with the change in leadership at Mainland. Jenn Reilly, a mother of one of the students who took one of the mock AP tests last year, claims her daughter is still hesitant. 

“Molly doesn’t trust her teachers,” Reilly said. “There’s been so much deceit and misguiding that it’s hard to rebuild.”

Persis understands that and hopes Huth helps restore faith in the school this year. 

“We know that when that bond of trust has been broken that you don’t just patch it overnight, but I think through his actions once they see him and see the way he speaks, but not just his words, but really the way he models it, they will know that Tim Huth has the best interest of students at heart,” Persis said.

Reilly said she’s prepared to give Huth and the rest of the new administration the benefit of the doubt.

“I think we have the tools in place to rebuild what’s been lost. It’s just going to take a lot of time, I think,” Reilly said.

In a phone interview, Huth said he’s happy that students are back in school, and the attitude on the first day of school is great. 

“I am excited about returning to Mainland High school and returning to help our community make our students successful,” he said.

Despite only being named principal a week before the start of the school year, Huth said he doesn’t think he’s at a disadvantage, because he was principal there before and understands the school.

As for the second investigation into Salerno, more information about the details of that will become public record Thursday. According to Persis, the investigation revolved around “inconsistencies in the master schedule” that were discovered during the first investigation.

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