The falls of Ed White and First Coast high schools. These two once proud and promising schools have seen troubled times and the biggest reason is the leadership that Vitti had seen fit to put in place. At Ed White he hired charter executive Eric Paul after years of inconsistent leadership and from what I understand the staff there actually liked Paul and thought he did a good job, Vitti’s browbeating and soul crushing pep talk aside. the thing is anybody watching could tell Paul was in it for the short haul. From south Florida he didn’t even move to Jacksonville preferring to stay in St. Johns county and like Vitti his career saw him do a little of this and a little of that before being off to the next thing. Ed White needed a capable leader who was going to be in in for the long haul and Vitti hired a cup of coffee principal.
The implosion at First Coast was also very predictable as Alvin Brennan has a history of destroying schools by running off their veteran staff. Brennan is a straight up bully and Vitti had to know that going in but for some reason he wanted to blow up First Coast despite the fact they were coming off an A grade and he brought in his man to do it. What Vitti might not have known was the community would push back.
Next there is the uptick of violence in our schools. Whoever thought watering down the code of conduct was a good idea and whoever approved the three fights before you are suspended rule should now be out of a job. Vitti seems really blindsided by this saying things like, kids are playing the loopholes in the system, it’s like he has never met a kid before. Discipline was not good before he arrived but everybody paying attention knew his hands off policy was going to make things worse.
Finally there is poor teacher morale which Vitti has greatly exasperated. He has a palpable disrespect for teachers and isn’t above voicing it either. He has to know that him bad mouthing or ignoring staff would lead to poor morale. the thought of him being so clueless he doesn’t know in a lot of ways is worse than him just not caring. Here are just a few examples.
Like I said Vitti has a tough gig and is required to make a lot of calls, however having safe schools with respected teachers and good leaders should all be no-brainers and unfortunately they are things he has struggled to create.