Superintendent Laurie J. Gaylord Announces Decision to Retire at Conclusion of Elected Term
Superintendent Laurie J. Gaylord announced today she will retire from the Martin County School District when her second elected term expires in November 2020.
"The time has come for me to step back and enjoy my family and retirement," she shared. "When I originally sought election to the position back in November 2012, my goal was to serve my community, the school district and the boys and girls of Martin County with a focus on student achievement and financial stewardship. I wanted to help 'right the ship' from a financial standpoint after a few tumultuous years. I have been fortunate to work with and be surrounded by a tremendous group of leaders and dedicated staff these past eight years that I have served as Superintendent. I am proud of the work we have accomplished during this time, and I have no doubt that the Martin County School District will continue to be recognized as a model educational system for many years to come."
The following achievements were realized during Superintendent Gaylord's two terms in office:
- The District earned an 'A' or 'B' rating in the state accountability system each of the past eight years. The District earned an 'A' rating the last three years and will retain an 'A' grade for the 2019-2020 school year, as well.
- The District was re-accredited twice by AdvancED, the parent organization of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Council on Accreditation and School Improvement.
- The District was named one of 9 Academically High-Performing School Districts by the Florida Department of Education in 2019. The Academically High-Performing School District designation is based on school/district grades and financial audit reviews for the 2017-2018 school year and class size compliance during the 2018-2019 school year.
- The District was awarded Certificates of Excellence in Financial Reporting from the Government Finance Officers Association and the Association of School Business Officials International each year.
- The District maintained its mandated 5% fund balance as outlined in School Board Policy 6210 each year.
- In 2018, the voters of Martin County approved two funding referendums in support of numerous operational and capital projects, including salary stipends for all teachers and the replacement of Jensen Beach and Palm City elementary schools.
- In an effort to enhance students' educational experience in the digital age, the District implemented the Laptops for Learning (L4L) initiative for high school students in the 2016-2017 school year. Starting with freshmen and adding a grade level each year, the program is now fully implemented in each District-operated high school with laptops available for students in grades 9-12.
- The Students Supporting Our Schools Enhanced (S3+) program was developed to allow high school student interns the opportunity to work alongside District professionals in a variety of technical settings. Through their participation in this program, students are able to gain valuable life and career experience as Technical Support, Sound Booth and Graphic Design interns.
- In keeping with its strategic focus on mental wellness, the District has implemented many programs designed to support students’ mental wellness at every age and stage of development. The Sandy Hook Promise curriculum, restorative practices framework and Safe School Ambassadors program are just a few of the many ongoing initiatives throughout the District.
- Understanding that the early elementary years represent a critical stage in childhood development, the District implemented a variety of programs and supports for young learners, including summer reading camps for first and third-graders and core phonics curriculum for grades K-2. With the assistance and support of the Education Foundation of Martin County, the District implemented the PLAYS (Purposeful Language Acquisition Yields Success) program for kindergarten students. This program provides students with an opportunity to develop their language skills through purposeful, real-world experiences during playtime.
- In 2019, the District secured the purchase of the former Stuart News building to serve as an administrative center for staff. Prior to the purchase, District-level staff had never worked together under the same roof.
- In 2018, the District entered into an agreement with the Martin County Sheriff's Office to provide a dedicated school resource officer on each elementary and middle school campus. Funds generated by the half-mill property tax increase approved by voters in August 2018 provided an additional school resource officer for each high school campus. The District has been publicly recognized by the Florida Department of Education's Office of Safe Schools for its efforts to ensure the security of campuses.
- In 2020, the District was recognized as one of just 11 school districts across the nation to earn the U.S. Department of Education's Green Ribbon School Award for its commitment to system-wide sustainability and conservation practices.
- The District has developed and strengthened many community partnerships in support of student success. Partnerships with the Education Foundation of Martin County, United Way of Martin County, Center for Constitutional Values, YMCA of the Treasure Coast, the Martin County Tax Collector's Office, Martin County Supervisor of Elections' Office, Tykes & Teens, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Martin County and many other organizations have provided the funding and resources for a variety of academic and social-emotional learning programs to be implemented throughout the District.
"I felt that it was timely, honest and transparent to announce my retirement at this time for the School Board to have the opportunity to attract as many qualified candidates as possible in their search for the next superintendent," Superintendent Gaylord commented.
The Martin County School Board is currently accepting applications from candidates interested in becoming the District's first appointed Superintendent of Schools after citizens granted this authority to the Board in November 2018. To learn more about the Martin County School Board's search for an appointed superintendent, please click here.