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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Eleven Duval County principals met with Duval County Superintendent Nikolai Vitti one-on-one in his office Monday morning and were told they were either promoted, reassigned or demoted. The goal of the move is to improve the academic performance at a few of Jacksonville's schools.

According to First Coast News' partner The Florida Times-Union, a few principals are reassigned effective Wednesday.

The T-U reports that the principals couldn't be reached for comment after school hours and of the seven DCPS Board Members, no one immediately returned calls.

Vitti told all 160 district principals about the changes at Ed White High School Monday evening. He also said that there will be no more principals changes this school year, unless there was an extreme emergency.

The meeting came after Vitti closely watched students' scores drop during the fall at 40 schools, in which three of the schools did not perform to his liking based on interim assessment data. Those schools according to the T-U were Ribault Middle, West Jacksonville Elementary and R.L. Brown Elementary.

"They're not quick-fixes, they're not about politics. They're not about games. It's not about who knows who," Dr. Vitti told First Coast News Tuesday morning."It's really based on a clear analysis on the data and what was being seen in those schools."

The leadership moves are happening now rather than at the end of the year to avoid the risk of seeing even poorer results.

"I think at that point it would be too late," Vitti said to the T-U.

Some of the principal changes include:

  • Michelle Floyd Hatcher, who is returning to West Jacksonville Elementary, which she led back when it was an A school.

"I felt that putting Michele there is a better fit for her. It's more likely she will be successful and therefore the school," Vitti told FCN on Tuesday.

  • Jackson High's new principal is Evan Daniels, the former principal at Matthew Gilbert Middle.
  • Tiffany Torrence, who was principal of Ribault Middle, has been moved to assistant principal at Westside High.
  • The new Ribault Middle principal is Angela Maxey, the former principal at Sallye Mathis Elementary.
  • Darnell-Cookman School of the Medical Arts new principal is Carol Daniels, previously at First Coast High, who is replacing Principal Mark Ertel.

Ertel has been reassigned to the district's school choice office. Vitti said Ertel did a good job at the medical magnet, but Ertel was in need of a change.

Not all of the principals were moved because of low performance at their school, according to the T-U. Vitti says other principals were moved because he felt the new placement puts the principal at a school where they can be more effective.

Jeff Collins is one of the principals who is being promoted. He is the newly named principal of Highlands Elementary School.

He is the interim principal at Joseph Finegan Elementary School.

"I feel like before during and after, it's still going to be a great place," Collins told FCN.

Collins said this is going to be his first principal job and he is very excited. He had a message to both the students and staff at Finegan Elementary and Highlands Elementary.

To the students and faculty at Fineganhe said.

"During my time here, they have been tremendous. Some of the best. It's been a pleasure to serve as interim principal. Here. I'm certainly going to miss them," Collins told FCN Tuesday morning.

Collins also had a message for students and staff at Highlands Elementary School.

"I'm looking forward to seeing some familiar faces and essentially getting to work right away," Collins told FCN."I look forward to serving them. I am looking forward to leading the school. Not only maintaining what we have, but providing better opportunities for them."

When making the principal changes, Vitti said, "There were no politics or games being played here" and he added that the principals appreciated the one-on-one talk with him before changes were made.

When making the principal changes, Vitti said, "There were no politics or games being played here" and he added that the principals appreciated the one-on-one talk with him before changes were made.

"People understood why they were being assigned," he said.

The school district will host a series of community meetings at some of the schools Wednesday and Thursday. Vitti will host some of the meetings, including the ones at Jackson and Ribault Middle, but the other meetings will be led by region chiefs or Chief Academic Officer Fred Heid.

Here is a list of community meeting times and locations:

  • Ribault / Mathis - Wed. at 7:00 p.m.
  • Jackson / Gilbert/ RL Brown - Wed. at 5:30 p.m.
  • West Jacksonville - Wed. at 5:30 p.m.
  • Darnell-Cookman - Wed. at 5:30 p.m.
  • First Coast / Highlands - Wed. at 7:00 p.m.
  • Greenfield - Thurs. at 6:00 p.m.

Here is a complete list of affected schools and principals:

School Name

New Principal

Andrew Jackson High

Evan Daniels (from Gilbert)

Darnell-Cookman

Carol Daniels (from First Coast)

Finegan Elementary

Alan Due (returning from leave)

First Coast High

Alvin Brennan (returning to District)

Greenfield Elementary

Todd Simpson (from R.L. Brown)

Highlands Elementary

Jeff Collins (interim principal from Finegan)

Matthew Gilbert Middle

Jamelle Wilcox (AP from Gilbert)

R.L. Brown Elementary

Kimberly Hayward (from Highlands Elementary)

Ribault Middle

Angela Maxey (from Sallye Mathis)

Sallye Mathis Elementary

Kathleen Adkins (AP from Carter Woodson)

West Jacksonville Elementary

Michelle Floyd-Hatcher (from Jackson)

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