Pratt-Dannals to give final state of schools speech

Duval County superintendent to retire in December

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Superintendent Ed Pratt-Dannals

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - After five years as the superintendent of Duval County Public Schools, Ed Pratt-Dannals is passing the torch.

The School Board has tabbed Nikolai Vitti from Miami as the district's next leader.

Pratt-Dannals will give his final state of the schools speech Tuesday night.

In 2007, he took over as superintendent after some controversy with his predecessor. He was someone district staff were familiar with because he was already working as a regional superintendent for the school district.

During Pratt-Dannals' term, the graduation rate has significantly improved. Since he took over in 2007, it's gone up 19 percent.

In 2007, students in Duval County schools had more than 8,000 major conduct violations. So far this calendar year, that's been cut in half.

Pratt-Dannals has made it a priority to get more mentors in troubled schools. The number of mentors has doubled.

Pratt-Dannals has also had his fair share of controversy and difficult decisions. At one point, the state was threatening to step in and take over four of the county's failing schools.

Along with the downward economy came several years of budget cuts for public schools. Pratt-Dannals dealt with cuts in busing and magnet programs.

The latest controversy to hit the district deals with teachers being arrested in connection with sex offenses.

On the night of the superintendent's last state of the schools address, the School Board is expected to vote to begin the termination process for another teacher.

Michael Worrell, a teacher at Greenfield Elementary School, was arrested and charged with multiple counts of sexual abuse involving three boys.

Worrell is the fourth Duval County teacher in a year and a half to be arrested on charges of sexual misconduct.

Many have high hopes the district will continue to improve. The new superintendent Vitti will take over when Pratt-Dannals retires in December.

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