The Daytona Beach News-Journal | By Nikki Ross | April 12, 2022
The Volusia County School Board terminated Superintendent Scott Fritz in a 3-2 vote during Tuesday night’s regular board meeting.
Rachel Hazel, the district’s human resources director, was unanimously appointed interim superintendent.
“Thank you for your vote and your confidence in me, I will serve this district as I have for the past 24 years with our kids first and employees second,” she said.
Fritz addressed the board, saying he was proud of his work in the district.
“I’d like to thank all the supporters and folks that have helped me over the past two-and-a-half years at Volusia County Schools,” Fritz said. “It still remains one of the high points of my 30-plus year career in public education. I’m very proud of the team that I work with … there’s great things happening here in Volusia County. Nobody wants change, but sometimes it’s necessary and I will tell you when I was hired here I was asked to make change. I think we’ve done that.”
Extending Fritz’s contract has been the topic of heated debates during recent board meetings.
On March 28, Fritz announced he would not extend his contract, which was set to expire in December. He has not publicly announced his reason for leaving.
School board member Jamie Haynes made the motion to terminate Fritz, which was seconded by board member Anita Burnette.
After a recess and a private conversation with Fritz, Chair Ruben Colon decided to vote with Haynes and Burnette.
“During the break, Dr. Fritz made it clear he does not want to be here by his actions,” Colon said after the recess. “So I’m going to support the motion tonight. It’s not what I came here to do. But I do not believe our employees deserve what I was just subject to a few minutes ago.”
Board members Linda Cuthbert and Carl Persis were against the termination.
After the vote, Fritz said he would “gladly” answer any phone calls from the newly appointed interim superintendent for advice or information on current projects.
“I stand ready to help the next superintendent of Volusia County Schools because we want what’s best for our kids,” Fritz said.
After his statement, Fritz left the meeting.
The board unanimously approved a $186,843.42 severance package for Fritz.
The board still needs to approve a contract for Hazel.
About the contract
Fritz’s contract extension has been a hot-button issue: Teachers, district staff and parents had spoken out against it while area organizations have sent letters to the board in support of Fritz.
Chair Ruben Colon canceled a special meeting scheduled for March 22, which would have allowed for the school board to discuss contract renewal. His reasoning: So the board could complete an official review of Fritz before making any decisions.
Fritz became the district’s top leader in December 2019, concluding a six-month search for a new superintendent after the board ousted Tom Russell.
Four months later, the coronavirus pandemic swept in, causing drastic changes to every aspect of school life.
And three months after that, in July 2020, Fritz took a leave of absence to undergo cancer treatment. He was out for seven months, returning in February 2021.
Fritz’s salary is $205,000 and in May 2021 he received a $10,000 bonus for his strategic plan.