INDIAN RIVER COUNTY - Dr. Susan Moxley became interim superintendent of Indian River County schools on May 25. Dr. Moxley replaces Dr. Mark Rendell for at least the next year, as the district looks for a permanent superintendent.
Dr. Moxley was the Superintendent of Schools in Lake County, Florida from 2008-2017. She earned a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Central Florida in Orlando.
“I’ve been here about 60 days, and have concluded that this is an incredible district,” Dr. Moxley told Hometown News. “Everyone I have met, both those who work for the district and community members, is very supportive about educating our students, and wanting our students to be successful, and to make meaningful contributions to the community.”
“I have been so impressed with the community support, in resources, time, commitment, and partnerships that support the learning opportunities for our students. It is refreshing and very impressive.”
Dr. Moxley takes over at a time of dramatic security enhancements, including officers stationed at every school.
“I’m very focused on school safety, and making sure that every day we have the safest learning environment possible,” Dr. Moxley said.
“We’re implementing a single point of entry at our facilities. We want to make sure we have the ability to communicate, such as the Fortify Florida app that should be on everybody’s phone. That gives any student, educator, parent, or community member a way to report and communicate any school safety concern. That goes directly to law enforcement and school administrators, and it’s anonymous. And there is another app we have for staff members called Rave, another security communication tool for our employees.”
“We also have law enforcement on every single campus.”
Regarding personal safety enhancements parents can take like buying their children bulletproof backpacks, Dr. Moxley said that she doesn’t know enough about them to recommend specific products, but she invites parents to do their own research.
“I trust parents’ decision-making regarding their child. If they feel that they’ve done the research and they want to have that for their child, I certainly support their decision.”
Dr. Moxley feels the greatest asset of any school district is the relationship between the community, the school board, the superintendent, and the district’s professional staff.
“You have to have a presence, get out and meet and talk to people. We’ve got a lot of partnerships in the district. I need to have a rapport and an open door policy, and make sure people can truly access me and communicate with me.”
“I also want them to see a consistency in their interactions with me, who I am and how I operate. Keeping that consistent is how you build trust.”
“I’ve spent a lot of time the last 60 days meeting with community members and community partners. I’ve heard about all the wonderful things they do. Now I need to concentrate on meeting our parents. When I came, it was the last days of school, parents were going on vacation. That’s the very important group of people that I haven’t yet had a lot of exposure to. So I’m really looking forward to the first day of school, so I can get out into our schools, meet our students, and meet our parents.”
The school district has longstanding issues related to race, including a court-mandated desegregation order that has yet to be fully implemented. Seeking to achieve progress on that issue, Dr. Moxley met with NAACP Indian River President Anthony Brown, who has stated that the desegregation order hangs over the district.
“I’ve met with Mr. Brown and had a delightful conference with him,” Dr. Moxley said. “Attention to the desegregation order is one of my top priorities. There is a joint plan agreed to last year that is now being implemented. The data is being monitored as part of that plan.”
“I have met with representatives on our Equity Committee. We are in the process of working on our African American achievement plan. That is a high priority for me, and I believe the district is very committed to implementing that agreement and that plan and moving forward.”
On a related issue, Dr. Moxley addressed whether it is appropriate for students to wear or display the Confederate Flag on school property.
“That topic has played out in many different school districts over the years. I think each community has different opinions on that. In my past experience in different communities, it’s viewed in different ways.”
“We have, in our dress code, that there can’t be any inappropriate or offensive clothing. Looking at that, if there’s anything that a student is wearing that is controversial, or can incite a situation that is problematic for a school, I don’t permit it. That’s been my stance, whether it is this topic or another topic. If it is controversial to where it is offensive to one student or another, we don’t permit that in the school.”
For more information or to contact Dr. Moxley, visit www.indianriverschools.org/district/superintendent.
Get the FortifyFL school safety and security app at https://getfortifyfl.com/.