JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Duval County school board has agreed to part ways with Superintendent Ed Pratt-Dannals.
"The board knows what it wants as it's vision. We're trying to maintain a world-class system with systemic growth for young people and it was at that point we decided not to extend the Superintendent's contract," said Duval County School Board Chair Betty Burney.
Burney said the board met last Monday during a development meeting to discuss high-level goals. After conversations and consideration, the board and Pratt-Dannals mutually agreed not to extend his contract another two years based on future goals.
"The board is looking forward in order to get the leadership we think can take us far beyond where we are now," said Burney.
This comes after the board rated Pratt-Dannals' performance as "acceptable" during the last appraisal. The year before, he was rated "highly effective".
"An enormous amount of responsibility is placed on the shoulders of the Superintendent," said Burney.
Burney says that responsibility will now be placed on the shoulders of a new Superintendent. She says the board wanted to make the announcement fairly quickly so a thorough search can begin.
"We know where we want to go and what we want is to be certain, if you close your eyes, any school that you choose, your child will be able to walk in and come out successful," said Burney.
Pratt-Dannals, who has served in that capacity since November 2007, will speak to the media on Monday. Heissued the following letter Friday:
"It is with a humble heart that I am retiring from Duval County Public Schools after 36 years of service effective December 2012. Education has been a lifelong passion for me that has amounted to more than a career choice, it is a way of life.
This is an announcement that I had intended to make after the administration of FCAT so as not to be a distraction to our teachers, students, faculty and staff during a crucial time. During this transition I assure you that this will not be a distraction to the hard work currently taking place in our schools.
Throughout my tenure as Superintendent, our district has made progress, with more than 84% of our schools earning a good, satisfactory or excellent grade. Under my leadership, Duval County Public Schools launched a long-range Strategic Plan that guides the work of the school district. This plan outlines the School Board's vision, mission, core beliefs and commitments, as well as details the district's goals and specific strategies to successfully implement the Strategic Plan.
I am looking forward to spending more time with my family, completing my doctorate and exploring other opportunities, including teaching and consulting.
Words cannot express my admiration for the loyalty and untiring efforts of the more than 14,000 teachers, principals, school and district staff who dedicate their lives to educating the children of Duval County every day. On a personal level, I have never worked with a more dedicated and committed team of professionals. I have been blessed to encounter heroes and heroines every day who are making a positive impact on the lives of our young people."
Board member Betty Burney sent this letter to Pratt-Dannals on the school board's behalf:
Dear Mr. Superintendent:
As you know, the Board has become increasingly focused on whether we are making adequate progress toward our Strategic Goals. We have set both short term and long term goals designed to address the more pressing issues facing the District and to increase a sense of urgency about student achievement and progress. More importantly the Board is laser focused on creating a world class education system that is systemic.
Under your leadership, the District has made improvements in the graduation rate, and in creating the expansion of regional acceleration programs and engagement of the community, to name just a few accomplishments. Based on conversations you have conducted with the Board Chair it appears that we mutually agree not to continue your contract after December 2012.
The Board requests your continued engagement in directing our District and your assistance in elevating the District toward high student achievement through the end of your contract. To this end, the unanimous Board has determined the following steps need to be taken:
1. The Board will immediately institute a national search for a superintendent and possible other leadership individuals to provide transformational and dynamic leadership to the District built upon the strong foundation you have laid. We request your assistance and the continued cooperation and professionalism of yourself and your staff as the District undertakes to seamlessly change leadership at the conclusion of your present contract.
2. The Board is in the process of seeking nationally recognized experts in the area of urban school organization and administration to perform a comprehensive review of the organizational structure and administrative personnel of DCPS and make recommendations regarding the optimum delivery of managerial and administrative services and function. We request your full cooperation and assistance in carrying out this review.
3. The Board will seek outside consultation regarding succession and leadership planning and personnel resources so as to fill not only anticipated short term needs, but assure long term dynamic and transformational leadership and direction for the District.
Again, we thank you for your service and look forward to you working with us to make this transition as seamless as possible, and assure our District is put in the best position to quickly achieve the high goals which you and the Board have set.
Burney specified that this is not a termination or a resignation. She said the board had until June to decide what to do with the Superintendent's contract. She said the board has been in talks with Pratt-Dannals over his contract and decided not to renew it when it expires in December.