Broward County Public Schools
Howard Hepburn was promoted to superintendent of the Broward County district after the surprise retirement of Peter Licata

Broward County (Florida) board picks new superintendent after surprise retirement of current job holder

April 17, 2024
Howard Hepburn is the district's 4th superintendent since 2021; Peter Licata, who was hired last summer, is retiring for health reasons.

Broward County (Florida) School Superintendent Peter Licata has been replaced immediately after he told the school board he wanted to retire at the end of the year because of health concerns.

The Miami Herald reports that Howard Hepburn, who has been deputy superintendent for teaching and learning, was promoted to superintendent after Licata's announcement.

Licata shocked everyone during a board meeting when he disclosed that he wanted to retire Dec. 31 over health reasons.

“After conferring recently with my doctors, my wife and my four adult children, it is best that I retire from this incredible role as an educator after 30 plus years here in South Florida,” said Licata, 59. “I’m giving advance notice, so you can properly prepare for the next superintendent.” 

In response to Licata, the school board voted 8-1 to separate from Licata immediately, instead of waiting until December. The board also voted 8-1 to name Hepburn as the new superintendent. 

Licata declined to disclose the naure of his medical condition.

Most School Board members voiced surprise after Licata’s news. They also raised concerns about instability in the district, as Licata was the third superintendent in the last five years.

Hepburn, a native of Belle Glade in Palm Beach County, served as a middle and high school principal in Orange County Public Schools from 2011 to 2016. He then moved to the Palm Beach County district as an instructional superintendent from 2016 to 2023. He joined Broward Public Schools on Aug. 1, roughly a month after Licata. 

The board hired Licata last summer following a national search. He replaced Vickie Cartwright, a superintendent who was fired, then rehired in late 2022. She ultimately left the district in early 2023.

Cartwright replaced Robert Runcie, who left the district in May 2021 after he was indicted and charged with lying to a statewide grand jury investigating the district. He pleaded not guilty, and a judge subsequently dismissed the case.

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