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Jeff Branscome writes about Spotsylvania County schools. You can email him at

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Covert chosen to become principal of Florida school

UPDATE: Dr. Covert talks to the Herald-Tribune in Sarasota, Fla.


Stephen P. Covert, the Spotsylvania County school division’s executive director of human resources, has been chosen as the next principal of Pine View School in Sarasota County, Fla.,  Sarasota County schools spokesman Scott Ferguson said.

Covert, 41, previously served as a principal in Spotsylvania. He was formerly assistant superintendent for human resources, but the position was downgraded for this year as a result of former Superintendent Shelley Redinger’s streamlining efforts.

Covert became one of three finalists for the Pine View post on Feb. 11, according to the Herald Tribune in Sarasota.

Covert will receive $119,419 in Florida, Ferguson said. He currently earns $136,445 in Spotsylvania.

Pine View  is a school for intellectually gifted students in grades 2 through 12. Its current principal retires at the end of the school year.

Pending Sarasota County School Board approval, Covert begins July 1, Ferguson said.


Below is the statement just issued by the Sarasota County school division.

Sarasota County Schools News

New principal named for Pine View School, will start July 1

NEXT PINE VIEW LEADER: Stephen Covert has been named the next principal of Pine View School. Pending School Board approval, Covert will succeed longtime Pine View Principal Steve Largo July 1.

 SARASOTA – Superintendent Lori White has named a Virginia educator as the next principal of Pine View School in Osprey. Stephen Covert, 41, who currently serves as executive director of Human Resources for Spotsylvania County Schools, is scheduled to begin July 1 as principal of the school, pending School Board approval. He will succeed Steve Largo, who has been principal of Pine View since 1988. The school serves intellectually gifted students in grades two-12.

“I am being entrusted with a unique gift,” said Covert. “Pine View is one of the most widely recognized and acclaimed schools for gifted students in the nation. I also know I have some big shoes to fill as Steve Largo retires, but I couldn’t be more excited to build on the school’s reputation and success.”

The principal search process began with a site analysis at the school in November. Pine View students, parents, staff and community members were invited to attend two meetings to give their input about the qualities they would like to see in their next principal. A panel of interviewers, including Steve Cantees, executive director of High Schools for Sarasota County Schools, Sonia Figaredo-Alberts, executive director of Pupil Support Services, other district and school administrators, Pine View teachers, a parent and a student, met with six finalists for the position. Cantees and Figaredo-Alberts considered the input from those sessions and narrowed the field. After another round of interviews with the remaining candidates, including meetings with Superintendent White, Covert emerged as the top contender.

“Dr. Covert is an excellent choice as the next principal of Pine View,” said Cantees. “It was no easy task to find someone who will fit that school community as well as Steve Largo has for 25 years, but with help from parents, students, staff and administrators, I believe we’ve accomplished it.”

Figaredo-Alberts said, “Dr. Covert truly understands gifted education and recognizes the importance of addressing the various components of giftedness: intellectual, social and emotional.”

Covert began his career in 1993 as a Spanish teacher at Spotsylvania High School. For the Spotsylvania district he also served as assistant principal and as principal of high schools and middle schools, and as director of Human Resources and assistant superintendent, before being named executive director of Human Resources in July 2012. Covert has served as an adjunct faculty member at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Va., and a collateral faculty member at the Central Virginia Leadership Academy at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond. He was a member of the Gifted Advisory Board for the Spotsylvania district.

Covert earned a doctorate in Education and a master’s degree in Education, Administration and Supervision from Virginia Commonwealth University. He has a bachelor’s degree in Spanish Language and Literature/Geography from Mary Washington College (now known as the University of Mary Washington).

Covert and his wife Amy have two sons: Benjamin, 9, and Barrett, 4.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for me and my family,” said Covert. “I’m so impressed with how warm and welcoming people have been. We look forward to becoming a part of this community.”