BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. – As the school year draws closer to the 2022 holiday break, the Brevard County community says farewell to Superintendent Dr. Mark Mullins.
Mullins agreed to step down after school board members Megan Wright, Gene Trent, and Matt Susin proposed on November 22, 2022, to remove him. He has served nearly 30 years with the school district and is respected by thousands of Brevard school employees.
During the special school board meeting to approve his mutual separation agreement this morning, Monday, December 5, 2022, teachers, staff, students, board members, and parents said their moving and heartfelt farewell.
The meeting began with an opening statement from Dr. Mullins, where he thanked the board, colleagues, and the community for their outpouring of appreciation.
“Life presents us with the ending of chapters; some we anticipate, some we don’t, but the reality is that at the closing of a chapter, a new one begins. There are blank pages that we get to help write what’s next. I will forever cherish my time as an educator for Brevard public schools. I will continue to lift this board and the leadership team, that I leave all my best and well wishes. This mission is bigger than any one of us,” said Mullins.
Numerous speakers walked to the podium during the public comment portion of the meeting to express how much Dr. Mullins meant to them and share how he has positively impacted their lives as an educator and helped advance them into successful careers as adults.
The first speaker was Mr. Bernard Bryan with the South Brevard NAACP, who stated, “Dr. Mullins, Thank you so much for your collaborative spirit and training me when I first became a part of the Brevard public partnership team. You taught me a lot, listened to me, and gave critical feedback; I can’t tell you how much I appreciate that.”
Many speakers pointed to the words written on the wall behind the school board that state, “Our mission is to serve every student with excellence as the standard,” and agreed that Dr. Mullins did just that.
“When Dr. Mullins was my math teacher, he showed up every day. he is such as exemplary man. He was organized, kind, polished, smart, engaging, and attentive to all his students. He handled disruptions with grace. It’s a tragedy that my daughter will continue this school system without you,” said Lacey, a Brevard County mom.
A retired teacher of 31 years, Jenny Hamilton, said, “All the support you have given me and the kids is so valuable. Thank you, Mr. Mullins, for everything you’ve done for the teachers, kids, and animal shelters. We will miss you.”
Nearly 20 speakers approached the microphone on a weekday morning to communicate their gratitude.
“Some of the most important things to me and my career happened under your leadership. You lead a foundation that others could come and build on,” said Sara Almond, who worked for Brevard schools. She says, “Thirty years of a legacy won’t be forgotten. It wasn’t a term; it was your life—a life you built here and served so well. You’ve uplifted thousands. You won’t be forgotten in Brevard. Just a heartfelt thank you.”
Kelli Curvin said her journey with Brevard public schools was not always positive as she has two children with a learning disability but that Dr. Mullins always put them first. “He worried about staffing and cared about our teachers. The most important thing as a parent is the education we give our kids; under your leadership, I have trusted Brevard public schools to do that job,” she said.
Raising three boys who all graduated from Brevard County schools, mom Marylin Waters said, “I was very impressed with the transparency, the thoughtful approach to education, and the focus on preparing our young people for the future with skills and a strong foundation to succeed. I’m sad that Dr. Mullins is leaving.”
Other speakers shared their concerns about changes, transparency, and the future of Brevard County schools. Phil Moore of Palm Bay commented, “Dr. Mullins, I don’t blame you for immediately asking for an exit package. What happened to you should alarm every school teacher, staff member, and administrator that they can be fired not based on job performance but because of political ideology.”
Kaylee Bird also expressed concern, “I care deeply about the quality of education in our schools and for the children to be accepted and respected for who they are. I don’t appreciate this decision in the sense that there was a lack of public discussion, and I haven’t heard from the board a valid reason for this decision.”
Numerous emails, calls, and social media posts have been made questioning why this is suddenly happening since Mullins agreed to step down in November after three board members said they wanted new leadership for the school district.
Jennifer Jenkins, the board member for District three, had similar questions as she shared the latest annual superintendent evaluation done over the summer of 2022. The responses were average at 4.7, with nothing below a 3. The board agreed on that annual evaluation and $8,000 in bonuses. “I think the community has a right to be concerned with this rash decision that has already caused instability within the organization. This is a monumental decision for this entire community,” she said.
Jenkins also questions the cost of such as decision as she states, “It’s not just in Florida; it’s across the nation, this political theatre firing superintendents. When there are a lot of vacancies on the market, typically, it costs you more money to find someone to fill that vacancy and costs more money to hire them.”
Taking her time to respond, Jenkins passionately expresses her concerns and respect for Dr. Mullins. “I have a six-year-old little girl who I am trusting in the hands of Brevard public schools, and this community is shook by this. When I was going through the toughest of times, Dr. Mullins drove to my home on days when I refused to answer the phone and demanded I come outside and speak to him. He held my hand and spoke to me. Dr. Mullins, this is my way of holding your hand and hugging you back because you don’t deserve this. I appreciate your professionalism and how humble you are. Thank you for your 29 years of public service to public school. You will not be forgotten,” she said.
All five board members agreed to approve the mutual separation agreement.
To watch the Special School Board Meeting, visit: https://youtu.be/22LB1HJYpaQ