My Sit down with Superintendent Vitti. Part 4: Vitti’s Picks his Team

Vitti’s Picks his Team

I then asked him about the district leaders who were
empowered with making sure the above changes take place. To be honest I felt
his picks for area superintendents, Addison Davis, Larry Dennis and Kelly
Coker-Daniel, had came from a very small pool and arguably from an area that
isn’t highly regarded, i.e.,  middle
school. First, he addressed middle school and said that in the past there
hadn’t been much of a vision for its role, but overall he had been pleasantly
surprised as he looked at the data that the middle schools were producing. He
said from 25 applicants that these three, and Jackson principal Iranetta
Wright, had the most articulate vision for improving our schools
This is perhaps my major source of contention with the
superintendent. He has all these great plans and a definite vision for the
district,, but at the same time, he seems complacent to simply allow elements
of it to unfold. Instead of opening it up to an application process, especially
here in the county where resumes were inflated under the last administration, I
feel the district would have better benefited from a recruitment-type process.
Being a great speaker, like being able to pass a test, doesn’t make one a
leader. While I am not saying that is the case here, past is often prologue.
I wanted to see a process where he talked to administrators,
principals and teachers and got their perspectives and recommendations, rather
than just opening up an application process and hoping for the best. I am
hopeful they will all be great leaders, but I still have reservations about who
was in the superintendent’s ear when he first arrived. If these people are part
of the team that got us to where we were at, which was not anywhere near where
we should be, then are they the team to take us to the next level? 
Maybe I am being to critical of the superintendent. After
all, he is not responsible for what happened before he arrived and, like many
of us who work in the district and who love our schools, he is paying the price
for it. I imagine he has made clear to these instructional leaders that he
won’t tolerate bullying and that their role is to support teachers and
If not, he has also shown a complete willingness to make
wholesale changes when he deems them necessary, as evidenced by the numerous
district demotions and the 46 principal changes. Many of these principal
changes came as a shock to the school personnel they lead. No more was this the
case than at John E. Ford, a Montessori magnet school that went through four
principals in a two-week period. Initially, Jackie Byrd—who soon left for Polk
County—replaced Latonya Parker, the outgoing principal. The John E. Ford
community rallied around Mrs. Parker and called for a community meeting. While
Superintendent Vitti didn’t change his mind about replacing her, he did finally
recruit a principal with Montessori experience to head the school. 

The John E. Ford community contacted me and I did a few
pieces on my blog about what was going on there, so I was somewhat familiar.
Their chief complaints were that they didn’t feel involved in the process, and
that constant  turnover wrecked
continuity. Vitti seemed to indicate that, in the future, the district would be
more active in reaching out to school communities in order to prevent future
consternation, and to involve them in the decisionmaking/problemsolving
process. His thoughts about turnover were a bit different. He seemed to take
the position that high turnover was simply inevitable.  

2 Replies to “My Sit down with Superintendent Vitti. Part 4: Vitti’s Picks his Team”

  1. "I imagine he has made clear to these instructional leaders that he won't tolerate bullying and that their role is to support teachers and principals." It is indeed in your imagination. They support bully principals, not teachers.

  2. Mr. Vitti is the biggest bully of them all. He has his Mafia do all the dirty work and he comes down from his ivory tower to be interviewed by the press… His current administration are all his friends and all their credentials are highly suspect. He responds by using words upon words that mean nothing and he says nothing that you can really hang onto. He will be another Stephen Wise and after he has wrecked whats left of the Duval County school system he'll move on to bigger and better.

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