The COVID-19 pandemic has effectively changed the landscape of the world as we know it. These are unprecedented times and in such uncertainty we need consistent and strong leadership. Upon the heels of reopening Palm Beach County Schools, divisive calls for the removal of Superintendent Dr. Donald E. Fennoy, II are not constructive and only muddle the path for a successful, healthy and safe school year for our future leaders.
It comes as no surprise that there has been pressure from our Republican leadership. Gov. DeSantis and Secretary of Education Richard Corcoran have delivered stern recommendations to reopen schools despite fear and outcry from the general public. In following the direction of our state leadership, Dr. Fennoy has admittedly made some missteps, but he understands that this will take all stakeholders working together to create a plan that protects our most vulnerable. He is a qualiﬁed leader who should not be disqualiﬁed, but should be allowed to prove that he is a capable and strong leader of our school district.
While there is no expedient pathway to success, Dr. Fennoy is tasked with the great responsibility of protecting the school district. His number one goal has always been and remains to protect students, staff, parents and family members. I have personally received calls from legislators across the state who have followed this issue and there has been an outpour of support for Dr. Fennoy. To remove him solely at the behest of the Classroom Teachers Association, would create further instability and does not create the conducive learning environment that is ideal for our already delayed school year.
Representing the tenth largest school district in the nation and ﬁfth largest in the state of Florida, Superintendent Fennoy represents a diversiﬁed body of 197,000 students and employs 22,600 employees, including more than 12,900 teachers. As an elected ofﬁcial, I know too well that no one is immune from critique. He has admittedly stumbled in his plan but has vowed to learn from it. Let him learn from it.
“It takes a village to raise a child.” – African proverb. Our village unanimously selected Dr. Fennoy to lead us and to take care of our children. With our input, our critique, our support and Dr. Fennoy’s commitment to the safety and well-being of our school district, Palm Beach County’s school district will re-open, equipped and ready to care for our village of children.
Bobby Powell, is State Senator, 30th District, West Palm Beach, Fla.