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Leon Schools Chief Gives First Day An 'A'

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On Monday, Leon Schools Superintendent Jackie Pons made his annual first-day-of-school, whirlwind tour, a tradition he began in 2006.  It's a ritual the embattled politician hopes to honor for at least another four years.

Sabal Palm Elementary Vice Principal Jameeka Wallace was all smiles when Pons rolled up to inspect the troops. Teachers looked relaxed and students looked focused, despite a last-minute rush.

“Friday we had orientation held from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., we had about 60 new families, new families to register, on Friday.”

In Melinda Bryant’s second-grade class, Pons was a familiar face. At least to one potential supporter.

“I saw you on TV. Did I look good? Uh huh. Good. I like that. I saw you reading a book to us. I was reading a book. So that’s cool.”’

Pons spent a total of 30 minutes at the Southwest side school before darting off for the rest of the tour. Pons said opening day was going smoothly across the district.

“What you try to do when you’re running for office, is, the number one thing you need to focus on, is having a smooth opening, and doing the job and being a superintendent every day. The other stuff usually takes care of itself.”

Pons the politician also took a moment to brag, calling Leon schools the top ranked majority-minority district in the state.

A Miami native, former WFSU reporter Jim Ash is an award-winning journalist with more than 20 years of experience, most of it in print. He has been a member of the Florida Capital Press Corps since 1992.