School sup't insists retirement is his idea

Ed Pratt-Dannals says he'll help Duval County School Board find his replacement

Published On: Feb 27 2012 04:41:22 PM EST   Updated On: Feb 27 2012 09:18:05 PM EST
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

For the first time since Friday night's email announcement that Ed Pratt-Dannals' contract as superintendent of Duval County schools would not be renewed, the 36-year veteran of the school district says he's simply retiring.

"I'm not being fired, ousted, resigning or any other terminology," Pratt-Dannals said Monday.

The veteran educator said he's discussed the idea of retiring at the end his current contract with School Board members for several months. Board members say Pratt-Dannals leaving the position in December is a mutual decision.

Pratt-Dannals says despite the unprecedented financial challenges the district has faced, he believes there are many successes to celebrate

"I'm very proud of the fact that we have increased the academic achievement during the last five years with 85 percet of our schools reaching an A, B or C category," Pratt-Dannals said. "Despite the challenges and, at times, frustrations of the job, I wouldn't have traded it for anything in the world."

WATCH: Pratt-Dannals talks about the $100 million reserve fund recently found

"Ed's done a great job of leading the district and really creating a great foundation for us," Board Member W.C. Gentry said. "But we really felt like, at this point, we really needed to look for a leader that would hopefully transform the district and move us to a different level."

While board members say Pratt-Dannals has done a good job, they also say they want a new face with new perspective. The outgoing superintendent says he will help the board as it conducts a nationwide search for a new leader of the nation's 21st largest school district, and as they also consider making other key administrative hires.

Parents have mixed feelings about the departure of Duval County's third school superintendent in eight years.

"I think he could've done better. He could've fought more for the education of our children," parent Deborah Gore said.

"I'm a bit surprised, but with the way the School Board is these days, nothing should surprise anyone anymore," said parent Jeff Luckey.

After his retirement in December, Pratt-Dannals says he hopes to continue teaching or in consulting in the education field.