Principals Announced for Chocachatti and Suncoast

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Spring Hill - The Hernando School District has announced that starting July 1st, Dacey Hughes will be the new principal at Suncoast Elementary and Nicholas Pagano will take the lead as principal of Chocachatti Elementary School. Both administrators are currently serving as assistant principals at these schools and will bring continuity and a keen understanding of the culture and needs to their new posts.

Hughes has been the assistant principal at Suncoast Elementary since 2016. She replaces Scott Piesik, who has taken the position of principal at J.D. Floyd Elementary School, following the retirement of Joyce Lewis. Hughes has been an educator for 17 years. She joined the district in 2007 as a first grade teacher at Westside Elementary and then at Explorer K8 where she taught first and fifth grade. During her tenure at SES, Hughes successfully implemented a variety of initiatives that have contributed to the increase in student achievement and school grade, as well as worked with school staff to develop ways to positively impact school culture. Hughes was also named the Hernando School District’s 2024 Assistant Principal of the Year.

“I am so honored. Suncoast is my home and our staff make it a family,” Hughes said. “Working alongside Mr. Piesik and this team has allowed me to grow as a school leader and I am looking forward to collaborating with our parents and students to reach our school’s next milestones.”

Pagano, the assistant Principal at CES, replaces CES Principal Lara Silva, who retires this month. He has been an educator in Hernando County for 18 years, with seven of those years as an assistant principal. Pagano taught middle school math and was an ESE teacher at Powell Middle School, taught physical education at Challenger K8 and was an assessment coordinator at Nature Coast Technical High School, before becoming an assistant principal at Pine Grove Elementary in 2015. He has been Chocachatti’s assistant principal since 2021.

“Chocachatti is a school like no other and I am grateful to have been selected as its next principal,” Pagano said. “The CES community is proud of what we have accomplished. My role as principal will be to continue to empower faculty and staff in enhancing the learning of all students.”

“One of the most satisfying components of being a district leader is to watch strong administrators grow into excellent school leaders,” said Interim Superintendent Ray Pinder. “Both Nick and Dacey are leaders who bring a vision and a well developed plan to move their schools forward. We are excited to see what lies aead for their schools.”