Days after the School Board of Alachua County (SBAC) had trouble agreeing on almost anything, members approved the contracts of both new and existing administrators in a smooth proceeding on Monday.
The contracts of principals, assistant principals and new and renamed positions for some chief administration personnel will go into effect on July 1.
SBAC Chair Leanetta McNealy commented that the leaders will be working hard for the district and urged them to take the next few days before their contracts begin to take some time off.
Before some of those new chief administrators and principals spoke to the board, SBAC board member Rob Hyatt offered words of encouragement.
"We are so appreciative of leaders and employees that have stepped into these important assignments and are serving our district," Hyatt said. "You will get the support you need from this board to make your job the best it can be."
Deputy Superintendent Donna Jones thanked the board "for this opportunity to continue to do the work in this district for our students and staff." She added that she "looks forward to working with the chiefs," whom she warned should be ready to work long hours for the benefit of the children.
According to a press release issued by ACPS spokesperson Jackie Johnson, two of the four highest-level positions—chief of operations and chief of finance—are only title changes from existing positions.
"The Chief of Teaching and Learning position reflects more significant changes to an existing assistant superintendent position, while the Chief of Equity, Inclusion and Community Engagement is an entirely new position," Johnson said in the statement.
Shane Andrew, who has been the principal of Eastside High School, will move into the chief of operations position and will oversee district functions such as human resources, transportation, maintenance and construction.
"I have flourished because I've been able to work with such great employees in the school district," said Andrew, who has worked in the district for three decades. "I pour my heart and soul into everything I do."
He called Monday a "glorious day, thanked his wife for her support, and said he was "blessed to be here."
The current head of finance, Alex Rella, will have a new title as the district's chief of finance.
"Rella has been the Assistant Superintendent of Business Services for six years, and has been part of the district’s finance team since 2005," Johnson said.
Jennie Wise will fill the role of chief of teaching and learning. She has been the executive director of K-12 curriculum since 2016 and served the school district since 1991 in roles as a teacher, assistant principal, principal and district administrator.
Wise thanked the board for the opportunity.
"I am excited and daunted by the enormity and importance and urgency of the work," she said, adding that she will be supporting school-based instructional leaders and teachers to improve the outcome for all of the students.
The new chief of equity, inclusion and community engagement is Dr. Anntwanique Edwards, who will be leaving her position as assistant principal at Eastside High School.
According to Johnson, Edwards will "oversee the district’s educational equity and outreach, communications, student wellness and exceptional student education departments."
Edwards has been serving the district since 1994, as a teacher, counselor and assistant principal and told the board she is excited to start her new job.
"I am rejuvenated even to move forward to do the work that allows for our students to have the support and to fulfill the mission of this district which is to be committed to the success of every student," she said.
Other positions approved by the SBAC include: Current principal Nanette Dell as executive director of elementary curriculum; current principal Wanza Wakely as executive director of secondary curriculum; current curriculum supervisor Kevin Berry as director of curriculum; current principal Jacquatte Rolle as director of professional development; an educational performance analyst from Texas, Taylor Gilfillan, as director of evaluation, accountability and data analytics; and current senior project coordinator for facilities Eddie Souza as director of maintenance and construction.
Several of those principals were at the meeting and addressed the SBAC.
Assistant Principal Christopher Bracewell will be leaving Newberry High School to become principal at Loften High School and said he is excited about the move.
"Career technical education is a passion," he said.
Leroy Williams will head up Eastside High School as principal.
"I am very intrigued and honored to serve as principal at Eastside," he said, adding that he wants every student to succeed.
After personnel addressed the board, ACPS Superintendent Carlee Simon expressed her support for the group.
"As you can see, we have a very strong team, and the goal is to all work together and really help the district collectively," she said. "I'm very excited with working with everyone."
Board member Hyatt then initiated a round of applause.