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New Superintendent takes over Palm Beach County School District

David+Fennoy%2C+41%2C+was+recently+assigned+the+position+of+Palm+Beach+County%E2%80%99s+first+African-American+superintendent.
David Fennoy, 41, was recently assigned the position of Palm Beach County’s first African-American superintendent.

David Fennoy, 41, was recently assigned the position of Palm Beach County’s first African-American superintendent.

Bruce R. Bennett of the Palm Beach Post

Bruce R. Bennett of the Palm Beach Post

David Fennoy, 41, was recently assigned the position of Palm Beach County’s first African-American superintendent.

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Palm Beach County Schools Superintendent Dr. Robert Avossa is effectively resigning on June 12. To replace him, the district assigned the position to Dr. Donald E. Fennoy II on March 7.  

“I’m ready to step out of [the former superintendent’s] shadow,” Fennoy said in an interview with the Sun Sentinel.

Fennoy graduated from Florida A&M University and started his teaching career in third grade in Orange County in Atlanta, where he first met and worked with Avossa. After being promoted to Assistant Principal where he thrived for several years, Fennoy transferred to Charlotte, N.C. to be a high school principal then to Baltimore in 2010, where he led the Maryland office of New Leaders for New Schools. Fennoy also served as a Senior Area Superintendent for the Fulton County School System in Atlanta, according to CBS12 News.

“I recommend the board consider appointing an internal candidate that has intimate knowledge of our work and has demonstrated the ability to deliver results,” Avossa wrote in his resignation letter, which some co-workers believed was an implication toward Fennoy.

Fennoy’s experience in Palm Beach County School District includes serving as Chief Operating Officer since May 2016, improving school transportation across the nine departments within his division and managing District operations during both Hurricane Matthew in 2016 and Hurricane Irma in 2017. Fennoy beat out two other insiders to get the job, including current Deputy Superintendent Dr. David Christiansen and Chief Academic Officer Keith Oswald.

“As a parent whose child goes to a school here in Palm Beach County, this is a very personal work moving forward,” Fennoy said to CBS12 News when asked about taking over in the wake of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Fennoy claims readiness for the position but admits his attitude as superintendent will be more casual than Avossa’s.

“I’m a much calmer presence. I’m not as fiery,” said Fennoy, regarding Avossa, in the Palm Beach Post.

Though Fennoy’s approach to power may be different than Avossa’s, he has already made significant strides in increasing security in Palm Beach County schools following the Parkland massacre in neighboring Broward County. One of Fennoy’s goals is to improve third grade reading skills and his next plan of action is increasing teacher pay, according to the Palm Beach Post.

“My role is to be a model for equity, to be a model for leading with dignity and respect, and also be a model for just listening,” Fennoy told WLRN.

 

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New Superintendent takes over Palm Beach County School District