Highlighting Marion’s magnet schools

Diane Gullett a finalist for Superintendent of the Year

File photo: Superintendent of Marion County Public Schools Diane Gullett [Bruce Ackerman/Ocala Gazette] 2024.

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Posted April 11, 2024 | By Caroline Brauchler

Marion County Public Schools Superintendent Diane Gullett has advanced to the final four in this year’s Superintendent of the Year national competition through Magnet Schools of America.

The competition honors one superintendent whose school district exemplifies the pillars of diversity, innovative curriculum and professional development, academic excellence, leadership in high-quality instructional systems, and family and community partnerships.

If chosen as the winner, it would be a well-deserved recognition for Marion County and the students and staff who are committed to high-quality learning outcomes in our schools,” Gullett said in a written response to the “Gazette.”

The competition began in February and uses a bracket-style elimination process to choose the eventual winners.

It would also recognize our dedicated local industries and colleges that partner with us to provide interaction with experts in the field through collaborative partnerships. These partnerships are what make our community so unique and special,” Gullett said.

Gullet has advanced to the final four, along with Jose Dotres of Miami-Dade Public Schools, Van Eyres from the School District of Hillsborough County, and Kurt Browning of Pasco County Schools.

(MCPS) magnet programs provide specialized opportunities and choice for student learning,” Gullett said. “Through a magnet program, students receive instruction and engaging events utilizing a focused theme approach to curriculum, topics and real-world concepts.

Through the competition, Gullett has already been awarded a $500 cash prize that the district plans on using to jumpstart a new artificial intelligence-based magnet program.

The winner of Superintendent of the Year will receive a $2,500 cash prize. The honoree will be announced between April 16 and 20 in New York City at the National Conference on Magnet Schools, according to MSA.

Gullett said if she earns the cash prize, the funds will be used to support adding an International Baccalaureate program at South Ocala Elementary School.

“This would help support the feeder pattern because students from South Ocala often matriculate to a middle and high school which already offer IB programs,” Gullett said.  

A Primary Years Programme such as this one is traditionally offered for students aged 2 through 12, and allows students to “use their initiative to take responsibility and ownership of their learning,” according to IB.

“As part of the IB curriculum, schools are required to offer a language,” Gullett said. “South Ocala is the deaf and hard-of-hearing site, so they plan to offer American Sign Language as their language requirement.”

This is a very unique opportunity in magnet programs, and certainly for the Marion County community, which would provide inclusivity and better meet diversity of needs,” Gullett said.

Vote here for Gullett to advance in the Superintendent of the Year competition.

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