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ACPS superintendent does not have certificates required by her contract

Dr. Carlee Simon

BY JENNIFER CABRERA

Alachua County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Carlee Simon does not hold certificates that are required in her contract and is thus in breach of contract.

Dr. Simon was hired as Interim Superintendent on December 15, 2020, at a salary of $160,000 per year plus an automobile allowance of $500 per month and a cell phone. The contract expired on June 30, 2021.

At the school board’s March 16 meeting, the board agreed to hire Simon as the permanent Superintendent with a salary of $175,000 starting July 1, 2021, and expiring on June 30, 2023. That contract includes an automobile allowance of $650 per month and a cell phone. 

In addition to Simon’s salary, the contract adds $2000 per year as a “special qualification salary” for becoming certified during a contract year. The statute referred to in that section (Florida Statutes 1001.47(4)(a)) refers to elected school superintendents, so it’s not clear why that bonus is included in Simon’s contract, since she is not an elected superintendent.

The contract also requires Simon to “at all times throughout the term of this Contract maintain and keep current a valid certification in administration and supervision or equivalent as issued by the Florida Department of Education… Suspension, revocation, or lapse of such certification shall be deemed a breach of this Contract by the Superintendent and shall release the Board from all obligations under this Contract.”

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However, public records requests to the Florida Department of Education have only resulted in teaching certificates that expired in 2013. Specifically, Simon first applied for an initial two-year temporary teaching certificate on June 20, 2000, under the name Carlee Poston. She became certified in the subject area of “Industrial Arts-Technology Education (Grades 6-12)” on November 15, 2000. On May 29, 2001, she applied for a temporary certificate for the school years of 2000-2003, and a three-year temporary certificate was issued for those years on June 28, 2001. 

Simon applied for a Professional Teaching Certificate under the name of Carlee Escue on April 7, 2003, and the certificate was issued for the period of July 1, 2003 – June 30, 2008. On August 26, 2003, Simon (under the name of Escue) added the subject “Mathematics (Grades 6-12)” to her certificate. 

Simon applied for an “Education Leadership All Levels” certificate on September 18, 2007, after earning a Master’s in Education Leadership from the University of Florida, and that was subsequently added to her teaching certificate, which still had an expiration date of June 30, 2008. 

Simon renewed her teaching certificate on April 22, 2008, and that certificate was valid July 1, 2008 – June 30, 2013. The Florida Department of Education has no further applications or certificates on file for Simon under any of her names, which means she has been in breach of her contract since July 1, and the school board is released from all obligations under the contract if they wish to fire her. 

Suzanne Kay brought the issue up at general public comment at tonight’s school board meeting, and Dr. Simon responded, “There is no certification requirement to be a superintendent in the state of Florida… That is in the law. There are many superintendents who have never even been educators. So I am fully qualified to serve as superintendent. I also have a doctorate in Education Leadership and Policy, I have a background in school finance and school law, you are welcome to look at my C.V. Before I took this position, I was seeking my second doctorate in Urban Leadership or Urban Planning.”

Simon did not address the allegation that she is out of compliance with her contract.

  • Well at least we now know why she is staffing schools and district offices with unqualified personnel.

    Typical liberal, rules don’t apply to their kind.

  • I know she doesn’t care about the law of needing a certificate but she has signed a contract requiring same.

  • Well well well…the school board requiring more than the state requires is biting her in the butt this time! It’s fine when the state lifts the mask ban for sbac to still require it, state doesn’t require her to hold the certificates but sbac does! Her contract requires it, period.

  • Why did they appoint someone with such fishy name changes, and always changing her degree interests like a permanent student — to avoid paying back student loans maybe, too? AC should investigate her financial credit history, next.

  • Of course this woman is qualified in fact over qualified. And she has held multiple certificates on top of that
    This whole issue tells u more about the idiots on the schoolboard that made the rules they should resign.

  • She did address the issue. There are no certification requirements for her position. Her contract states she must meet the FDOE certification requirements…and there are NONE.

    • The contract doesn’t state she has to “maintain certification requirements for her position” per FLDOE. It states she must hold “current a valid certification in administration and supervision or equivalent as issued by the Florida Department of Education”. Any valid certification in admin and supervision would do the trick. The board set the requirements for her position in the contract: a valid cert. She doesn’t have it so she’s in breach of contract.

    • You show your lack of intelligence when you don’t read the contract. The contract does not say she has to meet any DOE certification requirements. It specifically states she has to maintain specific certifications as issued by DOE.

      Have you actually read the contract before commenting 🙂

      The requirement is contractual and not statutory. Her contract requires more than DOE does.

      Now the onus of the requirements are on the ACSB and not Statute or DOE

      • An attorney for Alachua County Public Schools says Superintendent Dr. Carlee Simon is not in breach of her contract
        (always wait to hear what “real” lawyer / judge has to say; & sometimes what happens on appeal)
        Even if she were in violation of her contract, wouldn’t the School Board be the only ones who could make her resign? Isn’t her contract between board & her? Dr Roberts lost support of majority of board & resigned; it wasn’t a citizen action!

  • “Well, superintendent, looks like you’ve got a nice car and cell phone there. Nice salary too. It would be a shame if anything happened to them. Now, let me tell you how it’s gonna be …”

  • The board did the same thing when they hired Ghanja Marley (lol) prior to Ms Clarke. They didnt vet the man and later found that his degrees were bogus and he was a plagerizer. Then they hired Holeyseat Paul White, a castoff from the City of Gainesberg and a good buddy of Ghanja Marley. Its our monies being spent on this nonsense, lets make sure it has oversight! Human Resources needs to be autonomous from the board and they need to conduct thorough background investigations prior to a job offer. Governor Ron, please step in again! Karen Clarke did a fine job but the likes of the three stooges had to bring in Carlee and now look what we have?

  • One has to love the hypocrisy that is even more exposed than before.

    A newly hired superintendent, with ZERO administrative experience, was hired full-time as a replacement for Ms. Clarke. Ms. Clarke’s only fault, besides being white, was having disagreements with Ms. McNealy. So McNealy, being the vindictive person she is, orchestrates the removal of Ms. Clarke and then hires Ms Simon at a higher salary, higher car allowance, etc…

    Ms. Simon has a car allowance greater than 2 week’s wages of some of the people who throw their full support behind her. Maybe some of them could be hired for bus driver or teacher vacancies and get a comparable wage based on their experience as Ms Simon did.

    Doubt it, they’ll always believe exactly what they’re told to believe…

  • Carlee Simon cares more about politicking and getting in the news than she does about Alachua County students. She’s not even qualified. She’s a boil on the butt of Gainesville. I would think a town like Gainesville could do better. The fix is in.

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