Education

Diana Greene could soon depart Manatee. Here's what school board members have to say

Superintendent accepts community leadership award

School Board of Manatee County Superintendent Dr. Diana Greene accepts the Louise Rogers Johnson Humanitarian Award at the 25th Annual MLK Awards Banquet. She said the district has come from a “dark place,” but attributed that success to the staff
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School Board of Manatee County Superintendent Dr. Diana Greene accepts the Louise Rogers Johnson Humanitarian Award at the 25th Annual MLK Awards Banquet. She said the district has come from a “dark place,” but attributed that success to the staff

Manatee County school board members were not surprised after superintendent Diana Greene was announced as a finalist in Duval County's search for a new superintendent.

“Any time you have a leader like Dr. Greene, you have to expect that someone else is going to want her," School Board Chairman Scott Hopes said Tuesday. "I expect she will (get the job). I think she’s the strongest candidate, and she started her education career there, so it's kind of a neat opportunity. I’m happy for her.”

Board member Charlie Kennedy said he's been talking about Greene landing the job for weeks.

"I'm not the least bit surprised," he said. "She's such a strong candidate. She's affable, she's personable, she's knowledgeable and she has no ego and nurtures people around her to become better leaders. I'll be shocked if she's not named the new superintendent."

Greene, who was named one of three finalists for the job on Monday, said that she's honored to have made it this far in the search, but her current focus remains in Manatee County.

"I'm just very humbled and honored that they felt I met the expectations they're setting to take the district to the next level" Greene said, "but right now I'm still focused on being the superintendent of Manatee County, which is still my No. 1 priority. I will continue to stay focused on finishing out the school year really strong."

But Greene getting the job would also mean a return to where she graduated college and began her career.

After graduating from the University of North Florida, Greene accepted her first teaching position at Mamie Agnes Jones Elementary School.

"It would definitely be a great opportunity and incredible to go back to where I started," she said. "So, now to go back with over 30 years of experience under my belt and have the opportunity to lead that school district, (that) would be phenomenal."

Duval's new superintendent is expected to be announced at 4 p.m. on Friday.

“As soon as she informed me she was considering another position we started considering what the next steps will be," Hopes said. “We will probably see an amendment to our board workshop on Tuesday should she be named the candidate.”

Both Hopes and Kennedy said Tuesday's meeting would be the first time the board would open a discussion on starting a search for a new superintendent.

There will likely be an interim superintendent for a time, Kennedy said, as the board has to agree on the terms of the search and what they want to look for in candidates.

In terms of prospective candidates, Hopes said it could be someone locally or the search could be broadened.

“We do have a good administration team in place and people have been reaching out to me, and I’m sure other board members, expressing their interest,” he said. "“Should Dr. Greene leave us for Duval County, I suspect the board will be looking for a leader to take the district to next level.”

Along with Greene, the Duval County School Board chose as finalists Michael Dunsmore, superintendent for Wayne County Public Schools in North Carolina; and Erick Pruitt, area superintendent for the Houston Independent School District in Texas.

The seven-member board voted out two semifinalists, who each received four votes against them. Both Dunsmore and Pruitt received three votes against them, whereas Greene received none.

The opportunity to lead Duval's schools would be exciting, Greene said, but also somewhat bittersweet, too.

"This is also something very sad for me, to leave, after being part of this great community," Greene said. "This community has been very good to me and has embraced the school district and I know it will continue to do so."

Herald staff writer Sara Nealeigh contributed to this story.

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