The School District of Palm Beach County
Donald Fennoy

Palm Beach County (Fla.) board promotes chief operating officer to superintendent

March 9, 2018
Donald Fennoy, 41, will lead the nation's 10th-largest public school system.

The Palm Beach County (Fla.) school board has promoted the district's chief operating officer to superintendent.

Board members in the nation's 10th-largest district have selected Donald Fennoy, 41, who has worked in Palm Beach County since May 2016.

He replaces Robert Avossa, who announced his resignation unexpectedly last month after just three years as superintendent.

“Our school district has made tremendous strides in the past three years, achieving historic graduation rates while narrowing the achievement gap,” says School Board Chairman Chuck Shaw. “The Board is confident in Dr. Fennoy’s ability to continue that momentum, and build upon the important work mapped out in our district’s strategic plan.”

The Palm Beach Post describes Fennoy as a longtime protégé of the departing superintendent.

Before coming to Palm Beach County, Fennoy was a senior area superintendent for Fulton County (Ga.) Schools. He also has  served as executive director for non-profit New Leaders for New Schools: Maryland, a high school principal in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg (N.C.) district, and a teacher and assistant principal in the Orange County (Fla.) district. Avossa's resume also includes stints in Fulton County, Charlotte-Mecklenburg County and Orange County.

Fennoy, as chief operating officer, oversees several district functions, from school police and food services to transportation and planning & intergovernmental relations.

“This community is wonderful, I’ve had a great experience, I’ve learned a lot and the people that I’ve worked with are amazing,” Fennoy says. “I look forward to continuing our strategic plan and I’m excited about working with this team

The selection of Fennoy indicates that the board wanted a close ally of Avossa to carry forward the initiatives he has begun. 

In their search to replace Avossa, board members quickly decided to consider only internal candidates, but struggled privately to choose between the finalists: Fennoy, Deputy Superintendent David Christiansen and Chief Academic Officer Keith Oswald.

As superintendent, he will oversee 180 schools and more than 193,000 students.

Video: Palm Beach County board selects Donald Fennoy as superintendent.

About the Author

Mike Kennedy | Senior Editor

Mike Kennedy, senior editor, has written for AS&U on a wide range of educational issues since 1999.

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