Shine Wants Interim Superintendent To Rescind Relatives’ Promotions

Jun 7, 2018

A Duval County School Board member Wednesday asked outgoing Superintendent Patricia Willis to rescind the promotion of her son to a principal’s job and her niece’s move to head a middle school.

Our Florida Times-Union news partner reports the moves were part of a series of 19 principal changes the school board approved Tuesday night without discussion. A few board members privately said they did not know that two principal candidates were related to Willis.

Board member Scott Shine wrote in his email to Willis that she should have delayed the decisions affecting Rashard Willis and Deshune Bush and disclosed their relationship to all board members before the vote.

“I learned of this relationship from the article in the Times-Union this morning,” Shine wrote. “This certainly has the appearance of impropriety. With about 26 days left in your term, this decision should be reversed and left to the incoming superintendent.”

The board recently hired Manatee County Superintendent Diana Greene, whose first day on the job will be July 1.

Among the principal moves, Rashard Willis, a former assistant principal of Jacksonville Beach Elementary, will head S.A. Hull Elementary, and Deshune Bush, former principal of Biscayne Elementary, will lead Kirby-Smith Middle.

Rashard Willis has worked in Duval since 2011 and was an assistant principal for three years. Bush was hired in 2001 and has been a school administrator for eight years.

“I do not know that these are right or wrong decisions, or that there is impropriety,” Shine said in his email.

“However, there are places where power needs to separate itself from certain actions and the public trust calls on us to go beyond what is simply legal or allowable and do what is above reproach. I would suggest postponing formalizing this decision until the new superintendent is in place.”

Shine said in an interview he does not believe Willis intended to “do anything deliberately wrong,” but “there was a way to handle this better.”

A longer version of this story that includes reaction from Board Chairwoman Paula Wright is on jacksonville.com.