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Colorado's largest school system has tapped the top educator in Everett, Wash., as its new superintendent. Jane Hammond will take over leadership of the 87,000-student Jefferson County district, west of Denver, in July.

She has been the superintendent of the 17,000-student Everett district near Seattle since 1992.

Nancy J. McNally, the president of the Jefferson County school board, praised Ms. Hammond for her work in Everett, where she was "constantly in evaluation mode," asking if children were meeting high standards. "It just resoundingly was plain she was the best fit," Ms. McNally said.

Ms. Hammond, who replaces the retiring Wayne Carle, will be paid $130,000 a year.

The Orange County, Fla., schools will also have a new superintendent for the next school year. Dennis Smith is leaving the top job in the 23,000-student Irvine, Calif., schools for the Orlando-area system, the nation's 16th-largest.

Orange County board members praised Mr. Smith for his leadership skills and his communicative style. His salary will be $160,000 a year. The current superintendent, Donald Shaw, is paid $119,640.

Mr. Shaw announced in November that he would leave at the end of June, a year before his contract expires. The fast-growing district of 130,000 students has been embroiled in controversy over dilapidated modular classrooms. ("Resignation Follows Portable-Classroom Flap," Nov. 27, 1996.)

Elsewhere in Florida, Broward County Superintendent Frank Petruzielo barely survived a vote of confidence by the school board there early this month.

The board's slim 4-3 endorsement left the 178,000-student district's chief in a precarious position. "If he doesn't mend his ways ... he'll have to look for another" job, board Chairman Abraham Fischler, who voted in favor of Mr. Petruzielo, said in a recent interview.

At issue was the superintendent's tight control over information and a perceived lack of responsiveness to board members.

"Communication is a major problem," Ms. Carter said.

Board members, including Ms. Carter, gave the superintendent a favorable performance review in February. He has 20 months left on a five-year contract as head of the Fort Lauderdale-area system.

"I've been an urban superintendent for seven years ... and there are going to be bumps in the road like this," Mr. Petruzielo said last week. "I'm confident that whatever concerns individual board members have, we can work through it.''

--BESS KELLER [email protected]

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