Howard’s condition improves
SEBRING - Almost two months ago the local education community, Sebring High School in particular, was shaken when Sebring High Assistant Principal James “Jim” Howard was critically injured in a traffic accident. The two-vehicle accident occurred on the afternoon of April 19 on U.S. 27 just north of the Sebring city limits. The other driver, Victoria W. Grant, 61, died in the crash. After the accident, Howard, 66, was transported to Lakeland Regional Medical Center. He was transferred to Tampa General Hospital in May. Howard was in “good condition” Thursday at Tampa General Hospital, according to hospital Public Relations Manager Ellen Fiss.On April 22, the first day of school following the accident, Sebring High held a voluntary Prayer at the Pole gathering at the school’s flagpole in support of Howard. The “Prayers for Jim Howard” Facebook page offered updates noting Howard’s slow, but continuing progress. A May 20 posting on Howard’s progress prompted 211 “likes.” A June 3 posting stated, “Everyday progress. The family greatly appreciates all the prayers and kind words over the past several weeks.” A posting soon after the accident stated that Howard was two months away from retiring, but Deputy Superintendent Rodney Hollinger said Thursday he believed Howard has a little more time before retirement. Superintendent Wally Cox’s Administrative Roster for 2013-14, which is on the school board’s June 18 agenda, shows Howard as assistant principal at Sebring High on leave of absence. With a student enrollment at more than 1,500, Sebring High has been staffed with three assistant principals. In addition to Howard, Cox’s 2013-14 Administrative Roster shows three other assistant principals: Sandra Johnson, Ilene Eshelman and Michael Haley. Cox’s administrative secretary Pat Kules said Johnson, who was an assistant principal at Avon Park High, has been transferred to Sebring High on an interim basis to fill in while Howard is on leave of absence.