JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The second of three finalists to become the next school superintendent of Duval County Public Schools was interviewed Thursday morning.
Dr. Diana Greene, current superintendent of the School District of Manatee County in Florida, spent two hours with the Duval County School Board.
By moving to a district with about 80,000 more students, Greene said, learning how to stay highly engaged with so many more schools would be her biggest challenge.
"Today, I engage especially with my low-performing schools. I’m highly engaged with those schools," Greene said. "But I’m engaged also in the arts, sports, and I want to do the same thing in Duval. My concern would be: How involved can I be?"
Greene told the board, that since she became superintendent in Manatee County in 2015, her accomplishments include:
- There were 19 D and F schools, and after her first year, that number was cut in half.
- The graduation rate went from 75 to 81 percent.
- She helped move the district out of nearly $800 million in debt.
- Class sizes were reduced.
- The arts were brought back.
- Teachers were given raises.
The School District of Manatee County's annual budget is $866 million. Greene told the board that she would make sure Duval County's finances are in a solid place.
She also talked about how she would support principals in Duval County. As Manatee County schools superintendent, Greene said, she sends birthday cards to principals, attends principal meetings and works with them to provide feedback.
Last weekend, Greene and the other two finalists met with focus groups that included students, which she said was eye-opening.
"I got the sense that they made determinations -- who they wanted for superintendent and what they wanted from the superintendent," Greene said. "It was very powerful to see their voices in a way that was refreshing, intelligent and thoughtful."
Greene told the board that, if selected, she would be in Duval County long term. She also said she is the right fit for the job.
Michael Dunsmore, superintendent for Wayne County Public Schools in Goldsboro, North Carolina, was interviewed Wednesday morning.
The school board's third and final interview will begin at 9 a.m. Friday with Erick Pruitt, area superintendent of the Houston Independent School District.
The board will then hold a special meeting at 4 p.m., when it is expected to name the next superintendent.