Pinellas County School officials have begun the search for a new principal at Seminole High School following Rick Misenti’s surprise retirement announcement on June 27.
His last day was July 2.
Misenti, 52, ended a 31-year career with the district as a teacher, coach, assistant principal and principal, to be with family in Hartford, Conn.
His son Kyle, who graduated recently from Stetson University College of Law, is moving to Connecticut to practice and Misenti has a number of other family members in the state.
“I’m doing this to get closer to my family,” said Misenti. “I’ve had this in the back of my mind for a while.”
Misenti was principal at Seminole for six years. He also served previously as principal at East Lake for seven years and Osceola for five years.
He led both East Lake and Seminole from being “C” schools to “A” schools in one year.
Misenti said he is most proud of the academic success Seminole students have achieved under his watch but also will remember fondly a number of other key moments.
“There were a lot of things that put a smile on my face,” he said. “Marching with the band next to the tuba section two years ago in the Rose Bowl Parade was one, all of the state championships we won in sports is another, and having the teacher of the year (Robin Ladd) a few years ago, as well as a finalist each year I’ve been here.”
Misenti was named the Seminole Chamber of Commerce Boss of the Year in 2002 and this past fall was named outstanding high school Principal of the Year by the Florida Association of School Administrators and the Florida Department of Education.
He credits the community for the success the school has enjoyed.
“The love and support that our parents have for their children has mirrored their performance at this school,” Misenti said. “This is a tremendously supportive and wonderful community that I had the honor to administer to and I wish them the best the next school year.”
Among other things, Misenti was a big supporter of the arts, band and music programs at Seminole.
“Hopefully the person to take over at SHS will be one of the same level of support,” said Dan Wood, director of bands at Seminole High School, in an e-mail to band boosters. “I know a huge reason why I have been teaching high school band for 13 years and survived in the ever-demanding world of public school education has been because of Rick Misenti. The schools that he has been principal of have always had active and strong music programs. They were able to continue, grow and develop under his administrative care.”
Misenti played baseball and soccer at Eckerd College where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in 1976. His first job was teaching English at Northeast High School where he also coached football, baseball, track and baseball. He later moved to Countryside High School and was its first baseball coach before returning to Northeast as an assistant principal.
Misenti was principal at Osceola High from 1988 to 1993, East Lake from 1993 to 2000 and Seminole from 2000 to this year.
“I’m looking forward to spending a lot of time with my family – a lot of time,” said Misenti. “I’m really looking forward to it.”