- Following a two-month candidate search, Mark Rendell was selected as the new superintendent of Brevard County Public Schools in a contentious 3-2 vote.
- Rendell previously served as superintendent for Indian River County Public Schools from 2015 to 2019, where he oversaw significant increases in graduation rates for all students, but particularly among Black and Hispanic students.
- Board member Jennifer Jenkins criticized the search process and claimed Rendell lacked sufficient experience, while board member Gene Trent expressed confidence in Rendell’s abilities to lead the district.
Following a two-month candidate search and by a contentious 3 to 2 vote, the Brevard County Public School Board (BPS) on Tuesday night selected Mark Rendell to serve as its next superintendent.
Rendell, the principal of Cocoa Beach High School since 2019, garnered the support of board members Gene Trent, Megan Wright, and Matt Susin, who collectively cited an outreach of public support in his favor.
According to his resume, Rendell also served as superintendent for Indian River County Public Schools from 2015 to 2019, where graduation rates for all students saw significant growth under his leadership.
Data points indicate that the overall graduation rate increased from 81 percent to 92 percent. Broken down demographically, the graduation rates for Black students increased from 65 percent to 82 percent, while Hispanic students saw an increase from 79 percent to 88 percent. The graduation rate for White students also improved from 86 percent to 96 percent.
Rendell additionally oversaw increases in Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate enrollment for all students, with overall participation for district students increasing from 21 percent to 29 percent.
“I believe this is going to be the step forward that is going to bring Brevard back from good to great,” said board member Gene Trent. “I feel very confident moving forward on this decision.”
Board member Jennifer Jenkins, in expressing her support for finalist Scott Schneider, criticized the search process for “lacking integrity,” calling it an “embarrassing moment.” She also asserted that Rendell failed to possess sufficient experience to lead a large school district.
“There were two candidates that absolutely stood out; two candidates who have an insane depth of knowledge and experience in large districts,” said Jenkins. “It would be wildly unfortunate to not give those two candidates an opportunity. If we were intending on tapping on someone from within this district, quite frankly I’d be tapping on a cabinet member or someone with greater experience.”
BPS stated that contract negotiations with Rendell are underway and that they are targeting an early summer start date.
“I am both honored and humbled by the opportunity to serve Brevard County in this role,” said Rendell. “I look forward to working with all of the members of the School Board and the district staff to support the work in the classroom. This will be a team effort and I believe that if we all work together we can achieve excellence.”
A nationwide candidate search was launched earlier this year after former BPS superintendent Mark Mullins agreed to enter exit negotiations with district attorneys after Susin, Trent, and Wright coalesced to form a majority vote to remove him from the position.
“One of the things that has become very apparent is that we have a lot of issues within our district. We are having them with leaders, we are having them with teachers, and we are having them with students,” said Wright upon Mullin’s exit. “We have lost our way to some degree. We have lost our focus on what we are doing, and I believe we are only as strong as our leaders are.”