Superintendent Spotlight:

Brevard County Schools Superintendent Mark Rendell

What brought you to education and what makes you stay? 

When I was in high school, I had a few teachers and coaches who really made a big impact on my life. So, I decided I wanted to be a teacher and coach and hopefully be that positive influence on the lives of young people. I choose to stay in public education because I see that positive impact, we are all having. In each role, from classroom teacher to school administrator, to district administrator we have the opportunity to improve the educational outcomes for our students. It is so rewarding to see students excited about learning, teachers excited about teaching, and leaders excited about bringing positive change to their schools.

Prior to your appointment as Brevard County Schools Superintendent, you previously held the role of superintendent a few years ago in another Florida district. Since you last held the superintendency, what changes (if any) do you observe in the role, and are there new challenges and/or opportunities that were not there before? 

We seem to have lost focus on the teacher and student in the classroom. There is a lot of external noise that is distracting us from that focus. I have said here in Brevard that we need to view everything from the lens of a “one-room schoolhouse” with that single teacher and their students. Every decision that we make should be focused on the impact it has on that classroom. And if it isn’t a positive impact – we need to reconsider it.

What is your main area of focus for this year?

The first focus is always student achievement. Brevard is not performing at the level we are used to, so we need to improve in that area. Part of that is an emphasis on STEM. We are the Space Coast. We are the hub of the Space Exploration Industry and so our schools need to be leaders in the area of STEM education. We are developing partnerships with local Space Industry companies and post-secondary institutions to provide new programs in STEM.

How are you working to recruit and retain staff?

We are trying to make Brevard the place that everyone wants to work. Part of that is increased wages, but more important is a big focus on general working conditions. For example, we are making concrete efforts to support classroom teachers with some revisions to the teacher contract to give them more release time and flexibility. We are also making a concerted effort to celebrate all of the great things our employees are doing. Make the atmosphere enjoyable and rewarding and people will come to work with energy and enthusiasm each day.

What do you think is the most important skill for a superintendent to develop?

Building the leadership capacity of the other people on the team. The Superintendent can’t lead the organization by themselves. This has to be a team effort. Find people with the ability to lead who have a capacity for work. Empower them to do the job and then support and guide them along the way. The higher functioning your team is, the better the outcomes for all involved.

What do you most want students to remember from their time in school?

I want them to feel that their time in school was valuable. That it was productive and prepared them for life. I also want them to miss it when they leave. Think about that. If you had a positive experience with something, you miss it when it is gone. But if it is not a positive experience, you do not miss it.

Outside of being a superintendent, what is something that your colleagues may not know about you that you would like to share.

I love to travel. My father was in the Navy, so I moved around a lot when I was growing up. I have not lost that urge to travel. Ready to go on a new adventure at any time.

Individual you admire most for their positive impact on public education.

I had a lot of admiration for former U.S. Secretary of Education Richard Reilly. I thought a lot of his work at the national level was beneficial for our country.

Favorite quote:

I love the excerpts from Theodore Roosevelt’s Man in the Arena speech 

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

How FADSS Staff Makes Sure that Superintendent Voices and Needs are Heard

Did you know that outside of providing year-round support and assistance to Florida superintendents and three education consortia, FADSS staff are often sought out for their expertise? Whether it is consulting with legislators and legislative staff, interacting with other education-related associations, or participating in statewide and regional education discussions, FADSS staff puts its content knowledge and expertise to use wherever it can. In fact, even though October was busy with Legislative Committee meetings and consultation with districts, members of FADSS staff continue to travel the state participating in community and statewide events.

FADSS General Counsel Brian Moore participated as a panelist on a forum regarding HB1 Universal School Choice hosted by the Sarasota Tiger Bay Club. The discussion centered on the potential impact of Universal School Choice. Other panelists included: Tiffany Barfield, the Government Affairs Director with yes. every; Holly Bullard, the Chief Strategy and Development Officer with Florida Policy Institute; and Doug Tuthill, President of Step Up For Students. Brian reiterated that school districts do not fear the competition, but they would like that competition to be on a more equal playing field. When it comes to universal choice, he also pointed out that the overwhelming majority of parents choose district public schools, and their choices should be recognized and given the same weight as the choices of parents who select other school options.


FADSS Associate Executive Officer David Sikes was invited to attend the Florida Consortium of Education Foundation’s Strategic Advisory Council meeting, to share his insight and experience from both an education and legislative perspective. The 2-day event focused on community partnership schools, the power of wraparound services, and opportunities for local partnerships. David shared his thoughts on these topics and others based on his experiences and conversations with superintendents.

Focus on Innovation at Joint Conference

By Katrina Figgett, FADSS Director of Training

This year is passing swiftly, and it is now less than a month before the Joint Conference, set for Nov. 29 – Dec. 1 in Tampa. FADSS focus for these two days of meetings will be innovative programs and practices. We will hear about the distinctive instructional programming and learning environments at NeoCity Academy in Osceola County and Kirkland Ranch Academy of Innovation in Pasco, as well as the use of the 5Essentials research based school improvement system being used in Martin County.

In addition, former Superintendent Kam Patton will talk about the importance of being willing to take risks to move district practices forward to improve student outcomes, and of course we’ll have the latest on the upcoming Legislative Session. Be on the lookout for the full agenda which will be sent out shortly, and if you have any questions, please email me

As a reminder, those who are looking to renew their CEOLDP certification for next year must attend on Wednesday November 29th.  

Wishing everyone a peaceful and joyous Thanksgiving, and we look forward to seeing everyone in Tampa!

ICYMI: 2023 National Summit on K-12 School Safety and Security

This week saw the second Annual National Summit on K-12 School Safety and Security hosted by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) School Safety Task Force. CISA is an agency of the US Department of Homeland Security, and the CISA School Safety Task Force provides training and resources directly related to the evolving and unique threats and security challenges impacting the health and well-being of teachers, administrators, and students in K-12 schools.

The Summit took place over two afternoons and brought together federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial school leaders to share actionable recommendations to enhance safe and supportive learning environments in K-12 schools. Through the expert panels, master class sessions, and keynote addresses by leaders in the field, the Summit explored current threats and issues in school safety and considered research-informed strategies for addressing security challenges and risks.

Each day focused on a particular facet of school safety and security. Day 1 covered social media and youth mental health, cybersecurity and protecting student privacy, and implementing multi-tiered systems of support (MTSS) to promote a positive school climate and support student wellbeing. The day concluded with a panel discussion on parent and student engagement in school safety, with Tony Montalto, President of Stand with Parkland, as one of the speakers. Day 2 looked at recovery from a school tragedy, youth suicide prevention and proactive approaches to violence prevention.

Further information and resource links can be accessed here.    

Thank you to FADSS 2023 - 2024

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