After Firing Smith, School Board Sets Special Meeting To Discuss Move To An Interim Superintendent

May 22, 2023

The Escambia County School Board has scheduled a special meeting for Tuesday, May 30 to plan their next steps after voting last week to terminate Superintendent Tim Smith.

The board voted 3-2, with Patty Hightower and Bill Slayton dissenting, to fire Smith with his final day set for May 31. They also named Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources Keith Leonard as interim superintendent, presumably beginning June 1.

In the meeting, the board is set to determine how to transition to an interim superintendent and how to start the process of finding a permanent replacement. The details of moving Leonard into the interim role were not discussed last week. Leonard and Smith were two finalists for the position, with Smith chosen for the top spot.

The special meeting will take place at 1 p.m.May 30 at the J.E. Hall Center on Texar Drive.

In November 2018, Escambia County citizens voted to move from an elected to an appointed superintendent.


13 Responses to “After Firing Smith, School Board Sets Special Meeting To Discuss Move To An Interim Superintendent”

  1. Lee on May 23rd, 2023 5:29 pm

    @Jeremy. You are poorly informed if you think schools here are filled with liberal teachers. Most of them are conservative Republicans. But they are sick of increased workloads, low pay, and parents trying to tell them how to do their jobs. Sadly, people are inventing issues instead of dealing with real ones. As for private schools, parents need to be aware how often those students return to public schools and are behind. Private schools pay worse than public schools, so who wants to work for less – often people who couldn’t pass muster.

  2. Bonnie Exner on May 23rd, 2023 2:49 pm

    @Jeremy…With all the unfunded mandates that come down from the Florida legislators, a classroom teacher has barely had time to teach their state curriculum, let alone insert any of their ” biases”…I know from experience teaching 8th grade Civics that I barely covered the U.S Constitution, Bill of Rights, Citzen Rights and Responsibilities,Development of Political artists, Voting and Elections, Three branches of Natioanal Government State Government, Local Government, Community Issues,Civil and Criminal Law,The American Economic System..I never got to Comparative Governments,International Relations and, Citizens of the World!

  3. Steve on May 23rd, 2023 6:45 am

    Don’t need a “nice” person who slaps everybody on the back . Don’t need a person that it takes three years to realize they are a failure . Need a person that is going to fire people and put some school board members in a shed .

  4. Beach Boy on May 22nd, 2023 11:10 pm

    @ Jeremy…If you research it….this is why the School Board raised our property taxes. The property tax increase is earmarked to pay for more teachers and give the current teachers a raise. Apparently, a lot of teachers are bailing out because they have been instructed to teach subjects they don’t agree with….AND…because parents are pulling their students from Public Schools and putting them in Private Schools.

  5. Jeremy on May 22nd, 2023 9:42 pm

    Y’all know you can take your tax money and go to a private school now right? No more indoctrination from the crazy, immoral, liberal teachers or dealing with incompetent Escambia County Schools.

  6. Doris Smith on May 22nd, 2023 8:52 pm

    Let’s go back to voted on the person, this was not my pick, we lost a good candidate that should have been hired.

  7. concern on May 22nd, 2023 5:56 pm

    What happened to the chain of command? If the superintendent is removed from office or could no longer serve the position, shouldn’t the deputy superintendent ascend to the role? That’s the whole purpose of chain of command. Why are they not doing this? There are protocols to follow here but our school board either doesn’t know the protocols or is knowingly ignoring them. Either one is bad and we (as a district) would have probably been better off to remove the entire school board and leave Dr. Smith alone.

  8. MJ on May 22nd, 2023 4:01 pm

    Yes! Good Ole boy system. The man came in with a corrupted school system that takes years to fix, not 2 years.

  9. Vivi on May 22nd, 2023 12:42 pm

    The citizens of Escambia county should never have given up their right to elect the school superintendent. I hope that this policy will be overturned, and the sooner the better!

  10. CJ Lewis on May 22nd, 2023 9:40 am

    Obviously, Chairman Fetsko’s action item to fire Superintendent Smith and appoint Assistant Superintendent Leonard as Acting Superintendent (that’s the actual title), to set him up to become the next Superintendent, was “out of order” and so “null and void.” The board’s operations are governed by a Policy Manual posted online and that governs the conduct of its meetings too. In November, the board voted again to appoint General Counsel Ellen Odom to be its parliamentarian and to conduct its meetings according to Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised. I presume that all board members have a copy. You can buy one for $20. Rule 41:63 requires that there be a vote to amend an agenda after it has been adopted as it had been at the start of the meeting. No motion to amend the agenda was made and so no vote taken. Rule 39.5 provides that “improper motions” like taking up an action item that is not on the agenda and voting on it is out of order and null and void. This is high school student government stuff so a mystery why no one at the school district knows. Further, Section 1-24.4 gives the Policy Manual gives the Superintendent up to two weeks to respond in writing to the “final evaluation” that was approved 5-0 with no discussion. The final evaluation is the one prepared by Ms. Odom. The board was not voting to approve the individual evaluations to include Chairman Fetsko’s two other pages that are a public record but kept secret.

  11. Sherry Taylor on May 22nd, 2023 9:04 am

    Keith Leonard would have been a great superintendent and I feel sure he would have been elected had it not been voted to appoint one.

  12. Law Man on May 22nd, 2023 8:27 am

    I am confused, I thought since they fired Smith that the next person in line would step up. Wouldn’t that be the deputy supt. This district is the worst. Leonard was not even capable to run HR. In this district you can be a person that has zero experience and if you are part of the click you can be put in a position. Good ole boy system at it’s best

  13. Steve on May 22nd, 2023 7:46 am

    The more things change, the more they stay the same.