Duval County Schools Superintendent Joseph Wise just said good-bye to the system's roughly 160 principals, saying this is likely his last day.
"I can't imagine that after today you will still be working with me," he told them.
In about an hour, the School Board will begin meeting to discuss his contract. Wise's rift with the board has been expanding for several weeks, but for many the last straw was a letter he wrote Friday to board member Brenda Priestly Jackson, his most vocal critic, demanding her resignation and accusing her of living outside of her district.
It is probably a coincidence that today's mandatory principal's meeting falls on the same day the board may terminate Wise. The meetings were called around the same time, but the principals meeting's true mission, which got underway after Wise's remarks, is to address paperwork issues and other concerns raised by teachers.
Wise spoke briefly, urging principals to continue the work they began under him and noting their accomplishments over his two-year tenure.
"There's not a system in America in two years that got the kind of breakthrough that you achieved," he said.
He alluded to his decision to address what he considers ethical issues among board members, saying he feels that is the only way to ultimately address the equity issues in public education. He told the principals to keep moving the system forward and to contact him if they ever need him.
"Don't let this thing go back to idle speed," Wise said. "That would be an absolute tragedy."
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