BCPS Superintendent Vickie Cartwright and school board agree to a mutual separation


Tribune News Service

Broward Schools Superintendent Vickie L. Cartwright attends the Broward School Board meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2022. The Board voted 5-3 Tuesday to rescind Cartwright’s Nov. 14 termination and give her until the end of January to improve. Photo permission from TNS.

Kevin Hamm, Writer

Members of the School Board of Broward County voted unanimously to negotiate a mutual separation with Superintendent Vickie Cartwright on Tuesday, Jan. 24, after an entire day of meeting with parents, activists, school staff and even administrators who questioned Cartwright’s ability to lead and support Broward County Public Schools.

Cartwright tried to convince the board of her effectiveness in dealing with the critical educational issues facing Broward and that she is fit to serve as superintendent despite allegations of political and financial dishonesty.

She stated that under her leadership, academic performance rates for all students have improved despite setbacks from the pandemic; Cartwright also argued that claims of her being ineffectual are wrong by citing increased spending on community activities and local businesses under her tenure, as well as on programs for students.

She assured the board that she has complied with all county and state regulations and procedures regarding the disclosure of information on finances, education and past careers during her selection process; Cartwright also denied that she violated Sunshine Laws, which regulate the behavior of government officials, by sharing sensitive information with other school board members.

Cartwright’s contract with the SBBC began in February 2022, and the board later voted 5-4 to terminate it in November 2022 when member Daniel Foganholi, who was twice appointed by Gov. Ron DeSantis, raised a motion to discuss her performance and decide whether she had done an adequate job in her role.

She remained as superintendent since her contract required that she be given a 60-day notice of termination. The board then voted 5-3 to rehire Cartwright on Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2022 after member Allen Zeman motioned to rescind the vote that initially fired her.

The criticism that surrounded Cartwright, which had been levied against her since October 2022, centered around a lack of support for underperforming students, a lack of a policies to address declining enrollment rates in Broward, a lack of a strategy for dealing with charter schools and school choice, a lack of plans for community engagement, and concerns over financial and political transparency.

The Broward Teachers Union and some school board members voiced concerns that the continued debate over whether Cartwright should keep her job or have her contract terminated is preventing the board from addressing important issues.

“The drama and uncertainty has been embarrassing. It has nothing to do with kids, teachers and staff and it has everything to do with politics and destabilizing this district, and it’s wrong,” school board member Sarah Leonardi said to reporters back in December.

The Jan. 24 meeting solidified Cartwright’s departure from BCPS; the board has started a nationwide search for a new superintendent, but will be appointing an interim superintendent in the meantime.

This story was originally published in the February 2023 Eagle Eye print edition.