FADSS Enewsletter
"The curios paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am,
then I can change."
- Carl Rogers
Message from FADSS CEO Bill Montford
FADSS Applauds Historic Education Funding

The budget approved during the 2022 Legislative Session clearly demonstrates our states commitment to ensuring that every student has equal opportunities to a high-quality education. I would specifically like to recognize Senate President Wilton Simpson, House Speaker Chris Sprowls and the Senate and House Appropriations chairs for their commitment to education.

Possibly the most notable FEFP item that demonstrates the Legislature’s resolve to prioritize quality public school education is a $214 per Full Time Equivalent (FTE) student increase in the Base Student Allocation (BSA) to assist school districts in addressing increased costs and wages. This BSA increase is greater than the BSA increases of the past 5 years combined.

Furthermore, the additional $1.4 billion in total FEFP funding will help to address critical issues such as student mental health, school safety, reading, teacher salaries, and transportation. Overall, the 2022-2023 FEFP provides historic funding for Florida’s public schools with total per student funding exceeding $8,142. This historic education funding will also help to address the significant increases in fuel and other fixed operating costs related to running a school district.

FADSS looks forward to continuing to work together with future Legislatures to ensure continued equitable funding for Florida public schools.

Yours in Education,
Bill Montford
Superintendent Spotlight:
Martin County School District Superintendent Dr. John Millay

Prior to being appointed Martin County School District (MCSD) Superintendent in November 2020 you had a distinguished 27-year career in Kentucky public education, the last 14 years as a high-performing superintendent. What similarities and/or differences have you encountered in transitioning from a Kentucky superintendent to a Florida superintendent?

Overall, my transition has been a very smooth one. The job itself and leadership needed by the superintendent is nearly identical and having many years of experience was valuable. The bigger differences have been in understanding the FL funding differences, state school law and navigating the political climate and process. 

The most valuable similarity is the critical need to build relationships and connect with your school board members, staff, families, and community. Having a background in education, I have always understood the critical importance of meeting the needs of our students and having a growth mindset for achievement for each school and the district as a whole.

In 2018 Martin County voters chose to move from an elected superintendent to a school board appointed superintendent. What does it mean to you to be the first appointed superintendent?

I feel very honored to be the first appointed superintendent in Martin County. I also feel a huge sense of responsibility to serve our school board, district and community. I see the School Board and our administrative staff as a joint leadership team focusing on the same goals and priorities. This mindset takes a little time to filter through the system, however I feel it has taken hold and improving each month. It takes everyone working together and listening to meet the needs of our community, staff, families, and students.

When asked about your first priority as superintendent you said: In real estate, it's location. In education, it's relationships, relationships, relationships. So, first and foremost, that’s what we need to do.” What steps have you taken to achieve this goal?

As part of my 30-60-90 entry plan, I set priorities to be highly visible and methodical in visiting schools, meeting with community members and being involved more closely in the day-to-day operations of the district within departments. I have regular standing meetings with various groups to gain input and listen to needs and the progress being made. With the help and support of our school board, admin team, and education foundation, I have implemented the MCSD Leadership and Relationship Development Series that has been an 18-month and on-going process to build a culture of strengths. We have involved Board Members and all district administrators, including principals and assistant principals, to complete the Gallup Strength Finders, participate in Maxwell and Covey training, and our next step will be implementing Lean Six Sigma.

What do you feel is the most challenging barrier currently in meeting the educational needs of students in your district?

As in all districts throughout the country, it is critical that we all clearly communicate and have patience and empathy for each other. There are many special interest groups that have questions and concerns for us to work through. As we transition out of COVD-19, we must be focused on closing any achievement gaps that have occurred and making sure everyone stays focused and moving in the same direction to meet the diverse needs of the entire schools district. In sum, amid all the noise, stay calm and focused on meeting our kid’s educational needs.

What do you feel is the most pressing issue facing public education as a whole?

Across the nation and state, we have to work together for common goals. We must find common ground among differences of opinion to solve issues facing our schools and students. Being able to calmly and carefully sort through all the information, misinformation, and rumors is a challenging, daily task that consumes a lot of time and energy. 

What is an innovative/impactful initiative in your school district that you are most proud of during your tenure as a superintendent?

Despite the challenges of COVD-19, we have methodically focused on a consistent and effective district-wide ELA adoption and implementation process this school year. I am proud of the implementation level of our programs and the work being done by our staff, PLC groups, and admin teams to make this happen. I am also proud of the relationship and leadership development work that has occurred to grow leaders and speak a common language.

If you had the ability to change one thing in the realm of public education – what would that be?

I would like for those individuals that seek to divide public education to experience a daily understanding of what truly goes on in the public schools. There are so many challenges and successes being made that are often overlooked or not reported. The teachers and staff do a remarkable job each day serving all of our students from the most vulnerable to the most gifted. I wish all the success stories could be told and known—that would be a game changer.

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 work out and paint.

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

Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Jr., and the quiet, focused teacher just doing the job each and every day!

Book you are currently or recently finished reading:

Power vs Force” by David R. Hawkins. I also read National Geographic Magazine monthly.

Any additional comments & thoughts you would like to share?

Stay kind as possible—in the end it is the only thing that matters. People will remember how you made them feel regardless of the issue.
Favorite quote:

“A day is what you make it — make it good!” and…
“seemingly small things can make a tremendous difference”.
Individual you admire most for their positive impact on public education:

Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Jr., and the quiet, focused teacher just doing the job each and every day!
FADSS 2022 Spring Conference Update
By Katrina Figgett, FADSS Director of Training
The theme of FADSS 2022 Spring Leadership Conference is: “Daring Leadership in Challenging Times.” Much like the Fall 2021 Leadership Conference, FADSS will again allow each superintendent the option to bring one member of their leadership team with them to this professional development training. The deadline for registration is Monday, March 21, 2022, and any questions regarding registration should be directed to Renae Wallace.
We are pleased to announce that Kim Strobel of Strobel Education will be our keynote speaker on Wednesday morning. Kim has an extensive background in education and has given keynote presentations to various organizations, businesses, and schools across the United States. We are looking forward to hearing her speak about the importance of managing the workplace stresses those in leadership roles find themselves under, and how to create work-life strategies to further engagement, resilience, and productivity.
Recent publications by the American School District Panel (ASDP), produced from their latest survey analyses, show that mental health and related challenges are affecting all those involved in education, with the majority of correspondents indicating mental health as a major concern for students, staff and principals. As district leaders, superintendents are keenly aware of the need to support their school communities but that support often comes at the expense of personal wellbeing. Rarely are there structures within the system to advance support for superintendents. As a result, superintendents across the nation are retiring and leaving for other professions at a higher rate than in the past.     
We hope that Kim’s keynote will provide you with both encouragement, and some practical ways to place your well-being at the forefront so that you can realize increased success and productivity. More information about Kim and the work of Strobel Education can be found HERE.
We look forward to seeing you April 13 – 15, 2022 at the FADSS 2022 Spring Leadership Conference!
FADSS Keynote Speaker: Kim Strobe

Kim has an extensive background in education and has given keynote presentations to various organizations, businesses, and schools across the United States. Her keynote will provide practical ways to place well-being at the forefront in order to increase success and productivity.
News You Can Use
Analysis: From Teacher Pay to Free College,
What 41 Governors’ State of the State Addresses Reveal About the Nation’s Top 2020 Education Issues

Source: Marianna Phyllis W. Jordan & Brooke Lepage | The74.org  | March 3, 2022
Read the full article HERE.
Introducing The 74’s 16 Under 16 in STEM — Nominate a Student Today
 The 74, a non-profit, non-partisan news site covering education in America, be profiling 16 of the most impressive students, age 16 or younger, who have shown extraordinary achievement in science, technology, engineering and math. And they need your help to identify these young innovators.

If you know a student who is going above and beyond in STEM, consider submitting a nomination. Nominations close March 20. Learn more about the rules for entry and submit your nominations here.

Reminder: The weekly FADSS Legislative Updates from FADSS General Counsel Brian Moore can be accessed on FADSS website HERE.
FADSS 2021 - 2022 Annual Business Partners
Be sure to follow FADSS on Twitter [@PublicSchoolSup] and tag FADSS in your district tweets so we can share the great stories and happenings in Florida public schools across our state!
Florida Association of District School Superintendents
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