WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – The Palm Beach County School district is searching for a new superintendent after its youngest and ﬁrst African American chief, Dr. Donald E. Fennoy II, announced Tueday that he is leaving, effective October 11, after three years in the job.
“I’d like to thank you for the honor of serving as Superintendent and entrusting me with the profound responsibility of setting the benchmark for the education of your children,” Fennoy, 45, said in district message. “While I will always treasure my time here as superintendent, I have made the personal decision that it is time for me to step away.”
As board members search for the ﬁfth superintendent in 10 years for the nation’s 10th-largest school district, Fennoy, whose base salary is $306,167, has said he has is not leaving for another position and plans to remain in the area, according to The Palm Beach Post. His experience could qualify him for a pending opening in Broward County, a similarly large district where Superintendent Robert Runcie is facing a felony perjury charge and expected to leave next month.
Fennoy’s exit has resurrected questions of in-house and/or interim candidates vs. a national search. It also highlights the challenges during his tenure, which began with heightened security concerns following the Parkland school shootings, and more recently were exacerbated by allegegations of gross misuse of the Baker Act to remove students to mental institutions, and the battle over “white advantage” language in a new district equity statement. In between came COVID-19, skirmishes with the teachers union and parents over distance learning and mask requirements, and poor board evaluations.
The news in January that Fennoy had formed a private consulting business may have suggested what was to come. “Please be assured that the high-quality education that your children have received will continue through the remainder of my time serving the District and well beyond,” Fennoy said Tuesday. “While I will be leaving the District, the passion I have always felt for empowering our students is unwavering. I look forward to continuing to serve our amazing community in other ways while also spending more quality time with my family.”