Superintendent steps down from a big district as turnover keeps churning

Superintendent turnover is churning in several Florida districts and across the country as school boards continue to make changes in leadership.

Diana Greene
Diana Greene (Duval County Public Schools)

Superintendent Diana Greene will leave Florida’s Duval County Public Schools in the coming weeks after having served in the post since 2018, according to multiple reports. Her departure comes just two years after she was named her state’s Superintendent of the Year.

The Duval County school board voted 4-3 to approve a severance agreement with Greene, whose contract was renewed last summer but had become embroiled in a controversy over teacher misconduct, News4Jax reported. In March, the Duval County School Police Department arrested a performing arts high school music teacher on suspicion of lewd conduct involving a student. Three other DA teachers were removed from classrooms but not charged, according to the station.

Greene will receive a $114,942 severance payment, News4JAX added.

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On the flip side of this ongoing wave of superintendent turnover are several new hires, including in some other big Florida districts that have seen high-profile departures.

Leslie C. Ricciardelli
Leslie C. Ricciardelli (Collier County Public Schools)

Late last year, Mark Mullins left his post as superintendent of Brevard Public Schools after his strength as a leader was called into question by a newly installed board, according to local reports.  The Brevard school board has now named Mark Rendell, a high school principal in the district, to replace Mullins. Rendell was formerly superintendent of Florida’s Indian River County Schools.

In a less controversial Florida situation, interim superintendent Leslie C. Ricciardelli has been named the permanent leader of Collier County Public Schools by a 3-2 vote of the district’s school board.

Elgin Card (Princeton City Schools)
Elgin Card (Princeton City Schools)

Ricciardelli—who replaces another former Florida superintendent of the year, the retiring Kamela Patton—served as Collier’s deputy superintendent, where she was responsible for financial services, school leadership and district operations, including transportation, nutrition services, safety and security, facilities and maintenance.

In another notable hire, 30-year educator Elgin Card has been named superintendent of Princeton City Schools near Cincinnati, Ohio. In 2012, Card became the first principal of color hired in a nearby district, Lakota Local Schools, where he currently serves as the senior director of diversity and inclusion.

And in Vermont, Wilmer Chavarria has been chosen as the next superintendent of the Winooski School District, replacing Sean McMannon, who is moving to the top spot at the Kingdom East School District. Chavarria, a multilingual educator who has worked as a principal and district-level director in other Vermont districts, is a former refugee who was born inside a fenced camp during the Sandinista-Contra war in Nicaragua.

Tracking superintendent turnover

In other K12 leadership shifts, there were lots of new hires:

  • Ben Collins, Park Ridge-Niles School District 64 (Illinois)
  • Marie Digirolamo, Ichabod Crane Central School District (New York)
  • Melissa R. Friez, Mt. Lebanon School District (Pennsylvania). Friez is currently the superintendent of the North Allegheny School District, also in Pennsylvania.
  • Richard Rivera, Weslaco ISD (Texas). Rivera previously served as the district’s superintendent from 1996 to 2011.
  • Robert Sormani, Manor ISD (Texas)
  • Randy Bridges, appointed interim superintendent of the Wake County Public School System (North Carolina). Bridges was previously superintendent of Orange County Schools and the Alamance-Burlington School System, both in North Carolina.

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Matthew Zalaznick
Matthew Zalaznick
Matt Zalaznick is a life-long journalist. Prior to writing for District Administration he worked in daily news all over the country, from the NYC suburbs to the Rocky Mountains, Silicon Valley and the U.S. Virgin Islands. He's also in a band.