Duval County School Board member Darryl Willie reviews the qualifications for superintendent that the board will consider this fall.Duval County School Board member Darryl Willie reviews the qualifications for superintendent that the board will consider this fall.
Duval County School Board member Darryl Willie reviews the qualifications for superintendent that the board will consider this fall. | Will Brown, Jacksonville Today

Introducing the applicants for Duval schools superintendent

Published on October 17, 2023 at 7:32 pm

The Duval County School Board will whittle down the applicants for its vacant superintendent seat Wednesday afternoon during a special workshop.

The 10 candidates include two current DCPS employees, a longtime Clay County educator, a Clay County-based higher education advocate as well as men who have never worked in Florida during their education careers. They include an educator whose career has been focused on magnet students to a retired U.S. Army Colonel.

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A special board meeting is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Nov. 8 to choose the finalists. The finalists will be in Jacksonville on Nov. 16 and Nov. 17 for interviews and conversations with the board, community and other stakeholders.

The School Board has tentatively targeted Nov. 21 to select the next superintendent.

The candidates look to replace Diana Greene, who retired in July.

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Greene, who resigned after five years at the helm, was recruited from Southwest Florida, where she served as superintendent of the School District of Manatee County. Her immediate predecessors, Nikolai Vitti and Ed Pratt-Daniels, did not serve as superintendents before their appointments.

Pratt-Daniels devoted decades as a teacher, principal and administrator in DCPS before being tapped as the district’s leader. Vitti arrived from South Florida. The last full-time superintendent who was hired from outside Florida was Joseph Wise in 2005.

Jacksonville Today takes a look at the candidates below. School district data was taken from updated information provided by the National Center for Education Statistics.

Garrick Askew

Occupation: Assistant superintendent of operations, Clarke County School District, Athens, Georgia.

Career path: Executive director of school operations, Paulding County School District, Dallas, Georgia; executive director of high schools, Paulding County School District; principal, Lithia Springs High School, Lithia Springs, Georgia; principal, Yeager Middle School, Douglasville, Georgia; principal, Anita White Carson Middle School, Greensboro, Georgia.  

Notable: Has never worked in Florida, nor as a superintendent in his 22-year educational career; has served as a principal for rural, suburban and urban schools in Georgia.

Clifford Burns

Occupation: Superintendent, Andover Regional School District, Newton, New Jersey.

Career path: Principal, Shongum Elementary School, Randolph, New Jersey; assistant principal, Glen Meadow Middle School, Vernon, New Jersey; assistant principal, Valley Road School, Stanhope, Nnew Jersey.

Notable: Andover Regional School District is a 460-student district with a $19.8 million budget; has never worked in Florida.

Robert Cox

Occupation: Supervisor, magnet schools and programs, Hillsborough County Public Schools, Tampa.

Career path: Coordinator, grants and research, Hillsborough County Public Schools; Magnet Team leader, Hillsborough Public Schools.

Notable: Manages magnet program that includes nearly 20,000 students, 80 programs and 42 schools; worked in Hillsborough County Public Schools for entire 23-year education career.

Annie Cruez-Samuels

Occupation: Professor, Keiser University.

Career Path: Dean of academic affairs, Keiser University; director of education, Florida Career College; dean/director of education, Indiana Business College.

Notable: Created Keiser’s professional development training; has taught online courses for students in China; has never taught in K-12 schools; is a Clay County resident.

Michael Kemp

Occupation: Director of facility planning and construction, Clay County District Schools, Green Cove Springs.

Career path: Deputy superintendent, Hillsborough County Public Schools, Tampa; assistant superintendent for operations, Clay County School District; assistant superintendent of technology services, Bibb County School District, Macon, Georgia; vice president, Information Transport Solutions, Wetumpka, Alabama; assistant superintendent for student achievement, Glynn County Schools, Brunswick, Georgia.

Notable: Spent five years serving as consultant for private technology firm that served school districts in the Southeast; manages Clay County District Schools’ $90-million capital budget; leads Clay County’s $300 million school renovation and improvement program funded by half-cent sales tax passed in 2020; current and former Clay County Superintendents David Broskie and Addison Davis wrote letters of recommendation; is a St. Johns County resident.

Cheryl Proctor

Occupation: Deputy superintendent, Portland Public Schools, Portland, Oregon.

Career path: Chief academic officer, Portland Public Schools; assistant superintendent, School District of Philadelphia; deputy chief of schools, School District of Philadelphia; executive director for School Improvement Planning and Evidence-based Support Office, School District of Philadelphia; principal, Martin Luther King Jr. Montessori Academy, Fort Lauderdale; interim principal, Lauderdale Manors Elementary School, Fort Lauderdale, and Banyan Elementary School, Fort Lauderdale.

Notable: Lists home in Jacksonville; spent 17 years as an educator and principal in Broward County Public Schools; helped Portland Public Schools achieve its highest graduation rate since 2010 — 85.7% in 2022; applied for Brevard County Public Schools superintendent vacancy this year and was not named a semifinalist.

Corwin Robinson

Occupation: Principal, LaGrange High School, Lake Charles, Louisiana.

Career path: Principal, STTPS Project Believe, an alternative school within St. Tammany Parish Public Schools, Covington, Louisiana; superintendent, Lake County Schools, Tiptonville, Tennessee; assistant principal, Clarksville Montgomery County School System, Clarksville, Tennesee; district discipline director, Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools, Nashville, Tennessee; assistant principal, New Orleans Public Schools.

Notable: Served as a commanding officer of 533rd Engineers, a U.S. Army unit with an operating budget of $2.1 billion and based in Fort Knox, Kentucky; superintendent of district with approximately 760 students, 67 faculty and $9.6 million budget; has never worked in Florida.

Scott Schneider

Occupation: Chief of schools, Duval County Public Schools

Career path: Region superintendent of high schools and alternative schools, DCPS; principal, Lee High School (school was changed to Riverside in 2021); principal, Terry Parker High School.

Notable: Was a finalist for Brevard County Public Schools superintendent vacancy this year; Duval County School Board members Lori Hershey and Kelly Coker wrote letters of recommendation for Schneider’s application in Brevard; a coalition of teachers, parents and peers spoke on his behalf during an Oct. 9 school board meeting; served as chief of schools during 2022-23 academic year, when multiple teachers at the Douglas Anderson School of the Arts were removed from classrooms due to allegations of teacher misconduct (the scandal led multiple School Board members to consider Greene’s status as superintendent); has spent entirety of educational career in DCPS; Vitti wrote a letter of recommendation on his behalf; is a Jacksonville resident.

Marianne Simon

Occupation: Elementary region superintendent, Duval County Public Schools

Career path: Principal, Arlington Heights Elementary; principal, Reynolds Lane Elementary; principal, Waterleaf Elementary; principal, Woodland Acres Elementary; assistant principal in DCPS.

Notable: Responsible for 67 schools with total budget of about $250 million; coordinates DCPS summer programs; served as inaugural principal at Waterleaf in 2011 and earned an ‘A’ rating from the Florida Department of Education in its first year; applied for Brevard County Public Schools superintendent and was not named a semifinalist; applied for Collier County Public Schools superintendent vacancy and named semifinalist; earned a doctorate in educational leadership from UNF in May; is a St. Johns County resident.

Adam Taylor

Occupation: Consultant, Darryl Richardson Consulting.

Career path: Superintendent, Rutland City Public Schools, Rutland City, Vermont; executive director/regional superintendent, West Contra Costa Unified School District, Richmond, California; principal, Brookfield Village Elementary School, Oakland, California; assistant principal, Oakland Unified School District.

Notable: Darryl Richardson Consulting is a California-based firm that appears to be connected to a labor organizer who has sought to unionize Amazon in Alabama and elsewhere. Taylor says Darryl Richardson Consulting work consists of grant writing and research “on supporting equitable systemic change.” Has served as superintendent for a district with 2,000 students, 360 employees and $56 million budget; has never taught nor worked in Florida.

author image Reporter email Will Brown is a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms. He previously reported for the Jacksonville Business Journal. And before that, he spent more than a decade as a sports reporter at The St. Augustine Record, Victoria (Texas) Advocate and the Tallahassee Democrat. Reach him at will@jaxtoday.org.

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