JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – In its policy handbook, the hiring of a superintendent is described as “the most important and fundamental responsibility of the Duval County School Board.”
After Tuesday’s announcement that Dr. Diana Greene will retire early from her role as Duval County Public Schools superintendent, discussions began about who will fill the most-consequential role in Duval County’s education system.
In delivering remarks following Tuesday’s emergency board meeting, Dr. Kelly Coker said the board will look for, “a leader who comes to us ready to refocus us on student achievement and the health and well-being of every child we serve.”
Greene will leave the position at the end of the current school year, June 2, and be paid roughly $130,000 as a severance arrangement. Her official retirement date is in late July.
DCPS’ superintendent is a position appointed by the seven-member school board, and while they conduct a wide-ranging search they’ll have to appoint an interim to fill the position in the meantime.
Board members are set to meet on May 16 to discuss both who will take over in the interim and who will lead the search for Greene’s permanent replacement.
Board member April Carney, while she was still a candidate in August 2022, was asked what she would prioritize if she were tasked with helping find Greene’s replacement during her term.
“I believe that our superintendent needs to be supporting parents and teachers and keeping a transparent and open atmosphere with our public schools,” Carney responded. “We also need a superintendent that is a lover of the city and wants to see the city thrive and realizes that the decisions that we make as a district affect the entire city.”
Duval Teachers United president Terrie Brady started teaching in Duval County in 1979 and has seen 12 different people occupy the superintendent role, both on a permanent and interim basis.
“The decisions that are being made should not be political,” Brady stressed. “What it should be is a very thoughtful process, with seven committed board members to get the best that can possibly get for this next superintendent.”
Rachael Tutwiler Fortune is the president of the Jacksonville Public Education Fund and said whoever takes over for Greene will need to serve, not only as a strong leader for one of the nation’s largest school districts but also serve as an ambassador of public education to the general public.
“One of the things that has been a key part of our success in recent years is the extent to which the superintendent has been able to really effectively bridge partnerships across the community and to make sure that we’re able to work right alongside our educators in making the much-needed progress for our city,” Fortune said.
Coker released the following statement to News4JAX Wednesday:
“The Duval County Public School Board has a strong tradition of engaging the community before making highly significant decisions. The selection of a new superintendent is definitely in that category.
In the near future, our board will appoint an interim superintendent. We will then have conversations with students, parents, teachers, school leaders, and community members to hear their voices regarding the qualities our next superintendent must bring to refocus the district on academic achievement, ensure our schools are safe, and build programs that ready all of our students for their future.”Dr. Kelly Coker, Chairwoman, Duval County Public School Board