Superintendent Shane Andrew presented 11 administrative appointments to the School Board of Alachua County (SBAC) at its regular meeting Tuesday evening. The board unanimously approved all positions, including a new deputy superintendent, chief of teaching and learning, chief of food and nutrition, two directorial positions and six principals.
“I acknowledge that we’re facing some challenges,” said Catherine Atria, the newly appointed deputy superintendent. “But I am confident that we have the talent, the knowledge, the skills, and the desire to meet and overcome those challenges and ensure that every student, in every grade, in every school will experience success.”
Board Member Diyonne McGraw congratulated the appointees and told them she is hopeful for the work they will do.
“I can feel that we are focused on change,” McGraw said. “We have to be focused on change. Change is here, and I know that we are going to be successful this year coming up.”
SBAC Chair Tina Certain reminded the appointees that Alachua County Public Schools (ACPS) still has much improving to do. She said the mission is to educate all students in Alachua County, not just those who are well-resourced and easy to deal with.
“I’ve seen folks say they’re committed to the work, and committed to the success of every student, but I haven’t seen the outcomes,” Certain said, calling such lip service as useless as putting lipstick on a pig. “We have our work cut out before us, and I am hopeful that everyone will bring our very best.”
The administrative appointments came after a second ABC Report on core academics, providing statistics on test scores for kindergarten through 2nd grade.
According to the most recent ABC report, 62% of the district’s K-2 grade students were at or above the 41st percentile in math—a mark considered to be meeting grade level expectations. The number was even lower for reading, with only 57% of the district’s K-2 grade students at or above the 41st percentile.
Students did improve overall throughout the year, but the test scores varied widely across schools and student demographics.
After the superintendent introduced the administrative appointees, Certain brought the ABC report back up, noting that, combined with the report on grades 3 through 10, the numbers indicate the district needs to do more.
Certain said Alachua County has a bad reputation with other districts, to the point where it is sometimes embarrassing to tell other committees she represents ACPS.
“I believe in hard work, and I believe we give our best so our students can benefit from that,” Certain said.
The board also heard and approved the first reading of a new job description for a District Threat Management Coordinator, which is now required by the state. The position is planned to be in place by the end of 2023.