The Duval County School Board approved a contract Thursday morning with incoming superintendent Diana Greene, who’s coming to the district from Manatee County south of Tampa.
She’ll start July 1 with a salary of $275,000. Immediately after the board approved her contract, she said a few words by phone.
“I just to say thank you very much for your support,” Greene said to the board.”This process has been very well orchestrated and very open and transparent and I look forward to working closely with Dr. Willis as we transition my superintendency.”
Patricia Willis has been serving as interim superintendent for the past year after Nikolai Vitti left the position last May to lead Detroit schools.
Willis will stay on with the district through the beginning of August to assist Greene with the transition.
“I welcome her to Duval County Public Schools to our Jacksonville community,” Willis said at Thursday’s meeting. “This is a district that is child-centered and believes in caring for the whole child. I believe she will find a board that is supportive and caring of our students.”
Board members had kind words for Willis, who will be departing the district.
“You broke a glass ceiling, the first African-American female superintendent of Duval County Public Schools,” Board member Becki Couch said to Willis. “And I don’t think we could have found a better person for that role. You have been amazing through your leadership. You have been a calm through somewhat of a storm.”
Greene will be the second African-American female superintendent.
Board Chair Paula Wright said over the summer Willis will catch Greene up on the district’s budget, principal changes and district curricula before she takes over.
“The first thing we’re going to do as a board and superintendent is we’ve got to complete our strategic plan,” Wright said. “So we plan to do a retreat.”
Following Greene’s interview, board members had said they were impressed voters in Manatee approved a half-penny sales tax extension and millage increase to build new schools and up teacher pay.
They also said it was a benefit Greene is already a Florida superintendent.
“There is a lot of excitement in the community,” Vice Chair Lori Hershey said during Thursday’s contract approval meeting. “One of the things community members mentioned at all of our meetings is they wanted somebody with experience, but somebody who was familiar with Duval County.
After graduating from the University of North Florida, Greene’s first teaching job was in Duval.
- Read a summary of Green’s interview here.
Lindsey Kilbride can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, 904-358-6359 or on Twitter at @lindskilbride.