Florida Department of Education | December 2, 2020
Tallahassee, FL – Duval County Public Schools (DCPS) Superintendent Dr. Diana Greene was named the Florida 2021 Superintendent of the Year by the Florida Association of District School Superintendents (FADSS). Greene is the 33rd superintendent and the second African American woman to receive this honor since inception of the awards program in 1988.
The announcement is usually made in-person during the general session of the annual joint conference of FADSS and the Florida School Boards Association held in Tampa in December; however, this year the announcement was made virtually during a FADSS superintendent session among Dr. Greene’s colleagues. To say that Dr. Greene was surprised and honored is an understatement.
“Diana leads with compassion and conviction, driven by a work ethic grounded in servant leadership and a commitment to educational excellence,” states FADSS President and Pinellas County Schools Superintendent Dr. Michael Grego. “Her philosophy that the work of a superintendent and public educators ‘has to be done as if there is no tomorrow because we only get one chance with these kids’, clearly exemplifies her dedication to public education,” adds Grego.
Dr. Greene began her tenure as DCPS Superintendent, the 20th largest school district in the nation, on July 1, 2018. She arrived at this role with extensive classroom and leadership experience, beginning with her first elementary teaching position at Mamie Agnes Jones in Baldwin, Florida. Prior to becoming a superintendent in Duval County, Dr. Greene served as Superintendent and Deputy Superintendent of Instructional Services in Manatee County. During her 33-year career as an educator, she has spent time as a teacher, assistant principal, and principal as well as in curriculum development, staff development and in senior executive leadership.
“Those who choose to pursue the path as a public school superintendent do so not for the glory, but rather the opportunity to make a positive difference in children’s lives and Diana Greene exemplifies this passion and commitment each and every day,” states FADSS CEO Senator Bill Montford.
One of the most impressive areas of progress in the district under Dr. Greene’s leadership is the increase in the district graduation rate. This community-wide focus led by Dr. Greene involved securing buy-in and support from a variety of stakeholders including board members, staff, parents, and business and community leaders. While the work had already begun prior to her arrival, through her leadership, the district amplified those efforts and accelerated a trajectory of exemplary progress.
Over the last five years, DCPS has seen a steady rise of students graduating college and career-ready from district high schools and has seen the graduation rate move almost 10 percentage points, from 76.6% in 2014-2015 to 86.5% in 2018-2019.
Even more impressive is the narrowing achievement gap between the district’s white students and students in underrepresented categories. Most notably over the past five years are the following outcomes:
- The achievement gap between white and African American students decreased by 7 .3 percentage points, from 10.2% to 2.9%.
- Five years ago, the graduation rate for Hispanic students was 6.9% lower than white students; now their graduation rate actually exceeds that of our white students by 0.1 % — a change of 7 percentage points.
- The gap has decreased by 8.6 percentage points between our students from low SES in comparison to those not qualifying for a low SES program, from 17.0% down to 8.4%.
- The largest change has been the disparity in graduation rates of students with disabilities compared with their non-SWD peers, moving from 23 .4% down to 2.1 %, a change of 21.3 percentage points.
“Diana Greene is widely respected throughout Florida, not only by superintendents of Florida, but by all who know her and have had the opportunity to work with her. She is an asset to this association and her leadership is valued by her colleagues throughout the state,” adds Montford. The process for selecting Florida’s Superintendent of the Year was established by the American Association of School Administrators (AASA), a national organization of school superintendents and other educational leaders. Green will represent all Florida superintendents at the AASA’s Virtual 2021 National Education Conference February 18-19, where she will be recognized and honored for her public education service in Florida. The National Superintendent of the Year® Program pays tribute to the talent and vision of the men and women who lead our nation’s public schools.