Broward County School Board Names Interim Superintendent

By Kevin Deutsch

Broward County Public Schools named a new interim superintendent Thursday following a 5-4 vote.

Vickie Cartwright, formerly the superintendent of the Oshkosh Area School District in Wisconsin and associate superintendent for Orlando public schools from 2003 to 2018, will head up Broward schools for roughly a year until a permanent superintendent is named, school officials said.

Cartwright prevailed over a competing interim superintendent candidate, education consultant Robert Schiller.

She will replace former superintendent Robert Runcie, who resigned from his post after being arrested on a perjury charge. His last day with the district will be Aug. 10.

During a Special School Board Meeting Thursday, Cartwright spoke of her professional and personal experiences, revealing that she had once been homeless.

“My seventh-grade year, we became homeless, and so, living out of friends’ garages,” Cartwright told the board.

Some board members said they liked what they heard from the administrator.

“I liked all of her life experiences that she brought, or would bring to this,” said School Board Member Debra Hixon.

Others said they were concerned that Cartwright – who oversaw a district with fewer than 10,000 students – did not have enough experience.

Broward County Public Schools is the sixth-largest school district in the nation and the second-largest in Florida, with nearly 261,500 students.

Cartwright left her superintendent job in Oshkosh in June after changes in the local school board’s membership left her lacking sufficient support. She also faced criticism for her handling of COVID-19 in the district.

The next step in Cartwright’s hiring process includes contract negotiations by Broward School Board Chair Rosalind Osgood, which begin July 26, school officials said.

A Special School Board Meeting is scheduled for July 28, when the terms of Cartwright’s negotiated contract will be presented to School Board members for approval. Cartwright’s starting date will be determined during the contract negotiations.

The School Board also chose a consulting firm, Ray and Associates, to search for the district’s next permanent superintendent.  The firm specializes in school executive leadership searches.

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