Dr. Valya Lee will continue to serve as superintendent of the Liberty County School System.
Word spread recently that she had applied for the superintendent’s job in Florida’s Palm Beach County School District.
The South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported April 17 that Fulton County Schools Superintendent Dr. Robert Avossa has been named the sprawling South Florida school system’s new leader. The newspaper later reported that Avossa initially agreed to a $350,000 salary but, after an outcry from teachers, agreed to a cut, to $325,000, to lead the 188,000-student district.
Lee makes $190,000 as superintendent of the Liberty County district, which has nearly 9,900 students.
“I have been asked to apply for superintendent positions in numerous systems during my time in Liberty,” Lee said in a statement issued Friday in response to questions from the Courier. “However, as it relates to Palm Beach, I was invited to apply and strongly encouraged to apply.”
She then referred to the closing of the letter she wrote to the Palm Beach County school board in applying for the superintendent post, which says: “As I close, please allow me to say I love Liberty County; and I am excited about improvement and growth that has taken place under my leadership and direction. However, having been equally successful in two other school systems, I would welcome the opportunity to replicate those successes on a broader scale in a progressive school system such as Palm Beach County.”
In her Friday statement, she continued: “I do not intend on applying to another school system. Liberty is my home.”
According to a post on the Palm Beach County district’s website, Lee was one of 73 people who applied for the superintendent position. She was not listed among the three finalists.
“I withdrew my name prior to the final list being identified,” Lee wrote Friday. “As it relates to ‘strongly encouraged,’ that was for professional reasons.”
Lee has been the Liberty County schools superintendent since June 2013. She also served as superintendent of Twiggs County Public Schools in Middle Georgia from 2010-12, according to her resume, which is posted on the Palm Beach County school district’s website.
She has worked in education, mostly in public schools, since 1992.