CEO Message
By Bill Montford, FADSS CEO
Professional Development is Key Component of FADSS 2023 Fall Conference

FADSS 2023 Fall Leadership Conference is less than four weeks away and I am looking forward to seeing everyone September 13 – 15 in Orlando. A FADSS meeting is a unique and vital part of the ongoing high-quality professional development that FADSS provides to Florida superintendents. The connection, information sharing, and simple camaraderie that we experience when we are all together face-to-face cannot be rivaled by any other meeting or conference.
The 2023 Fall Conference, titled “Collaboration for Student Success” could not be timelier. Sessions will focus on how Public Schools engage with their community to provide the best quality education for all students, and include presentations by current superintendents showcasing innovative practices, and practical methods, for working with stakeholders.  
I am also extremely excited that once again, FADSS has expanded participation in FADSS Fall Leadership Conference to allow each superintendent the option to bring a member of their leadership team. I firmly believe that the inclusion of these district leaders further enriches the learning experience for everyone. 
I am confident that your participation in FADSS 2023 Fall Conference will prove to be a valuable and professionally rewarding experience for you and your colleagues, and I look forward to seeing you on September 13th!

Yours in Education,

Bill Montford
A Warm Welcome to Several New FADSS members: Bay, Duval, Flagler and Hillsborough School Districts
Bay County Schools Superintendent
Mark McQueen

Mark McQueen was appointed by the Governor to replace FADSS past president and former Superintendent Bill Husfelt, who retired at the end of July. Prior to his appointment, Mark was the City Manager for the City of Panama City. A veteran of the United States Army, he retired with the rank of Major General after 36 years of service and although he doesn’t have a background in education, his wife was a teacher for about 30 years. One of Mark’s main areas of focus for the district in the 2023-24 school year is reading and really intensifying the reading dimension. Mark sees reading proficiency as the essential skill for students to succeed, not only in their academic lifetime, but also in their working careers following graduation.
Duval County Schools Superintendent
Dr. Dana Kriznar
An educator for 37 years, Dr. Dana Kriznar has served Duval students since 1986, beginning as a junior high and middle school mathematics teacher, and then a vice-principal, assistant principal, and principal. As a first-time principal in 2001, she improved Thomas Jefferson Elementary School from a “C” to an “A” grade in just two years. In 2008, Kriznar joined the district office where she has led in a variety of positions including assistant superintendent for strategic planning and partnerships, chief of staff, and most recently deputy superintendent. Dana is looking forward to continuing the positive momentum that has been generated in recent years and working with school leaders to keep the focus on student success.  Read more about Dana here.
Flagler County Schools Superintendent LaShakia Moore

A product of the Florida public school system, LaShakia Moore stayed in Florida for both her undergraduate degree at Bethune-Cookman and her master’s degree at St. Leo University. Since 2007 she has served in Flagler schools, starting as an elementary classroom teacher before becoming a curriculum specialist and then principal. In 2021 she moved to the district office as Director of Teaching and Learning before becoming Assistant Superintendent just over a year later. LaShakia is focused on keeping the best interests of ALL students in mind. To that end the district "theme" for the year is Flagler Forward, focusing on moving the school district, and the wider Flagler County community, forward to best serve all students. Read more about LaShakia here.
Hillsborough County Schools Superintendent Van Ayers

The son of two longtime Hillsborough educators, Van Ayres has worked in the district since 1997 first as a high school science teacher, then assistant principal and principal. At the district office, Van served as Deputy Superintendent and then Chief of Strategic Planning. He credits the guidance he received from Addison Davis for preparing him to lead the nation’s seventh largest school system. A longtime advocate for military families and military students he was chosen as Co-Chair of The MacDill Council for Educational Excellence which is comprised of MacDill Air Force Base and district leadership and meets quarterly to enhance the educational experience of Military-Connected students enrolled in Hillsborough County Public Schools. Read more about Van here.
Mark Your Calendar for Learning Blade Introductory Webinar on August 22
FADSS is always looking for ways to support Florida school districts. That’s why we are pleased to announce the availability of Learning Blade for Florida schools. Learning Blade's interactive toolbox features over 400 online lessons connecting your students to more than 100 STEM and computer science careers.

This extensive resource is provided fully funded (FREE to all schools) through state funding and in collaboration with FADSS.

Learning Blade is a STEM, Computer Science, and Career Technical Education (CTE) Career Awareness System proven to increase interest in high-demand careers. Learning Blade contains online student lessons, teacher lesson plans, and printable activities for 5th to 9th graders, in which students learn about STEM and Computer Science careers while reenforcing academic standards. With 400+ STEM/CS/CTE interactive online student lessons and many teacher lesson plans for 5th-9th grades, Learning Blade exposes students to, and builds interest in, STEM/Computer Science/CTE Careers while demonstrating the relevance of academics to careers. It is aligned to Florida’s state standards for science, math, English and social studies, and now includes a 20-hour “Intro to Coding” course.

Register for one of these back-to-school webinars to help you provide career awareness through academic content with Learning Blade!

New Laws Lead to New Questions...and Lots of Road Miles for FADSS General Counsel
Following the enactment of over 50 new laws during the 2023 legislative session that will affect school districts, FADSS staff went to work helping spread the word to districts with FADSS comprehensive 2023 Legislative Summary. Additionally, FADSS General Counsel Brian Moore participated in multiple training sessions across the state and online Zoom sessions throughout June and July with school districts and related public education entities.

In June, Moore engaged in a presentation and discussion with the Florida School Board Attorneys Association in St. Augustine and then the Florida School Finance Officers Association in St. Petersburg covering legislative changes affecting district budgets and finance requirements. At the end of the month, Moore hosted a 2.5-hour Zoom session on June 29 with more than 150 Superintendents and administrators from around the state.

In early July, Moore hosted a second Zoom session on July 11 and then continued his travels across Florida. He spoke with school and district leaders in Hernando, Alachua, Lake, and Highlands counties logging over 2,000 miles on the road. Additionally, Moore provided an update at the Panhandle Area Educational Consortium summer conference in Tallahassee and will be speaking to the Florida Association of State and Federal Education Program Administrators in Orlando next month.

The primary focus of these legislative updates provided by FADSS is to share the most recent and relevant information available with superintendents, school districts and school leaders so they have a better understanding of the new legislative requirements and the potential problem areas that may arise during implementation. Moore also addressed many of the new rules being adopted by the State Board of Education (SBE) to implement or expand on these new laws, as the SBE will have adopted over 50 new or amended rules before the end of August.

Every year there are numerous new laws imposed on school districts, and FADSS is committed to helping each Superintendent navigate through them with his or her team.
Chatbots in the Classroom
By Katrina Figgett, FADSS Director of Training
News on Chatbots and generative artificial intelligence (AI) is everywhere, and depending on what you’re tuned into either we will use this new technology for the benefit of mankind, or it will annihilate us! As with most polarizing topics, the truth probably lies somewhere in between.

Generative AI utilizes big data to train computer programs to create new content, this content can be in the form of audio, text, videos, images, and code. Most of us have heard of Chat GPT and Google Bard, these are conversational AI large language models (LLMs) whose impact is now beginning to be felt as the public can now use this technology to produce AI-generated content, posing opportunities and challenges for the education sector.  

There are many examples of where generative AI can potentially produce benefits in education, especially around personalized learning. Programs fed with curriculum and student data should be able to generate tailored questions for students, generate personalized study plans, create engaging interactive learning experiences, and provide real time feedback and assessments. Such activities will allow teachers more time to engage with their students in the classroom and to quickly identify areas of need and provide support. 

However, the old adage ‘garbage in garbage out’ certainly applies, as in scouring data sources these programs can sometimes draw no distinction between factually accurate and biased information, thereby producing content that that may be inaccurate and sometimes inappropriate. There is also the potential for students to rely on technology to the detriment of developing critical thinking and problem-solving skills, and of course utilize a chatbot to write that last minute essay.

As this emerging technology is here to stay it is incumbent upon us to teach students how to use it safely and appropriately. As we have seen with the issue of cyberbullying, technologies designed for one purpose can easily be misappropriated. Students now learning how information on the internet is organized, and online safety skills to protect against harmful or misleading content, will need to understand the limitations, reliability, and potential bias of generative AI. In not that many years students will be utilizing generative AI in a variety of forms in the workplace we need to keep evolving our practice to continue to prepare students for these workplaces of the future.


Thank you to FADSS 2023 - 2024
Annual Business Partners
Florida Association of District School Superintendents
208 South Monroe Street
Tallahassee, FL 32301
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