Broward County Public Schools

Cartwright Gets the Permanent Job as Broward Superintendent

Board members chose interim Superintendent Dr. Vickie Cartwright by a nearly unanimous margin

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One school board member described it as a neck and neck horse race, but the Broward County School Board ended up choosing the person they knew, interim Superintendent Dr. Vickie Cartwright, over the outsider candidate, Michael Gaal, by a nearly unanimous margin. 

“I wish we could select both of them, they’re both fantastic," said board member Debbi Hixon.

Gaal was never a K-12 teacher, but he made a strong impression on a board full of educators. 

“The downward pressure on teachers to be able to make the impossible possible, without clarity or what roles and resources are available, has to stop,” Gaal said to the board Wednesday morning in response to a question about mental health of students and staff. 

“He has the willingness to question and challenge the status quo and hold people accountable,” said board member Lori Alhadeff. 

She was the only board member to vote for Gaal over Cartwright, although board member Ann Murray voted for Gaal initially but then switched her vote to Cartwright. 

Cartwright had the advantage of incumbency, of being on the job for the past six months, so board members got to see her in action.

“Someone who’s not gonna back down to the political pressure right now where school districts and school board members are being targeted and under attack,” said board member Dr. Rosalind Osgood.

“I am humbled, I am honored,” Cartwright said in a news conference after the vote. 

She said now that she’s got the job, she can begin recruiting top staff members and concentrating on the tasks at hand.

“Some of the greatest challenges that we face right now definitely is related to the Covid slide, what has happened to our students in the classroom, so it’s from an academic standpoint, it’s also from a social-emotional standpoint,” Cartwright said.

She also said proposals in the legislature such as the so-called “Don’t Say Gay” bill and another bill that would restrict how Black history is discussed are problems on the horizon. 

“To go in and try to whitewash history, or to say things didn’t happen when it actually happened, or to say that we’re now going to create an environment where our students continue to feel excluded instead of included is dangerous,” Cartwright said. 

The Broward Teachers Union strongly endorsed Cartwright, in part because she has decades of experience as a teacher and administrator. 

Now the board will have to come to contract terms with Cartwright. 

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