A look back at Dr. Diana Greene’s tenure as DCPS superintendent

The school board and Greene agreed Tuesday to her early retirement

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Following the announcement of her early retirement amid turmoil, News4JAX is taking a look back at Dr. Diana Greene’s five-year tenure as superintendent of Duval County Public Schools.

Greene helped raise funds for school improvements, oversaw the renaming of schools that honored Confederates and addressed a scathing grand jury report that accused the district of underreporting crimes.

Dr. Greene led the school district through tumultuous times, from a pandemic to a recent flurry of allegations about the coverup of teacher abuse and problems reporting misconduct to the state that’s led to an external investigation.

MORE: Story behind Dr. Greene’s departure: a teacher’s arrest, a state investigation and politics

Under Greene’s leadership, Duval County voters approved a half-cent sales tax that the district said would raise about $1 billion over 15 years to improve security and replace and repair aging school buildings amid cuts in state funding. Voters also approved a one-mill increase to support increased teacher pay.

City Councilwoman Brenda Priestly Jackson took time at a school board Tuesday to say thank you.

“Each of us is better because Dr. Greene passed along this way and took on the tough fights and challenges,” she said.

Once a year, Greene would return to the classroom in a show of support for educators.

In 2020, school leaders faced an unforeseen challenge in the COVID-19 pandemic. DCPS leaders reported the virus led to the deaths of at least 11 DCPS teachers and staff. As the state ordered school campuses closed, Dr. Greene spearheaded at-home learning in the district, arranging for lesson plans and laptops to be dropped off at students’ homes.

She also joined the school board in 2021 to defend the district’s mask mandate with opt-outs amid questioning from the Florida education commissioner at the time.

Also, that year, a scathing grand jury report found DCPS police were underreporting crimes to the state, resulting in the resignation of the agency’s police chief and the district announcing officials were improving their reporting process.

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Greene was hired to lead Duval Schools in the summer of 2018. By the next year, her DCPS bio says school performance grades showed remarkable growth, with the number of “A” rated schools growing by almost 30%.

A few years later, she’s leaving her contract early amid scandals, including an allegation from the Florida education commissioner that 50 cases of misconduct were not reported to the state in a timely manner under the law. Dr. Greene said she didn’t know about the late reporting and pledged to look into the matter and take action.

While some board members wanted to wait for more information before approving Greene’s proposed early retirement Tuesday, others were ready for her to move on.

“Now we have 50 incidents that we were just reported… dating back three years,” said school board member Charlotte Joyce. “That is a lack of leadership.”

“It is very difficult to part ways with somebody who has done good work on behalf of students,” said school board member Lori Hershey.

Dr. Greene was also named Florida Superintendent of the Year in 2021. The state education department cited the improvement in graduation rates during her tenure, as well as the narrowing of the achievement gap between the district’s white students and those in underrepresented categories.

Greene is set to retire from the district on July 24.

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I-TEAM and general assignment reporter