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Broward Superintendent Dr. Peter Licata announces retirement

Broward Superintendent Dr. Peter Licata announces retirement
Broward Superintendent Dr. Peter Licata announces retirement 03:31

FORT LAUDERDALE - Broward Superintendent Dr. Peter Licata dropped a bombshell at Tuesday's School Board meeting.

He told the board that he regretted to inform them that he was retiring.

"It is with great sadness that I write this letter informing you of my anticipated retirement on 12-31-2024. I communicated to the board on 12-17-23, which is protected from the public record, regarding the status of a medical condition that I have been receiving treatments for. After conferring recently with my doctors, my wife, and my four adult children, it is best that I retire from this incredible role as an educator after 30-plus years here in South Florida," he said. 

Licata laughed at the notion that he was being shown the door. 

"I am certainly not being forced out, there is no question about that. I think by everyone's belief that they were surprised by this. This is something that happened over the weekend. Friday I spoke to one of my doctors and just indicated that you've got some choices to make. When I talked to my kids they were very happy. Having grandkids and not seeing them much is not what it's about. I lost my father at 59, my grandfather at 62, and an older brother at 57. So, I'm 59 and I want to out live my dad and make sure to out live everybody else too," he said. 

Although he was born in Broward, Licata spent nearly 30 years with the Palm Beach School District as a teacher, principal, and regional superintendent. He said his philosophy is student-centered, teacher-supported, and principal-led.

Licata received his BA in Business Administration and Political Science at the University of Miami and his MS in Educational Leadership from Barry University. He earned his Ph.D. in Global Leadership from Lynn University with a focus on preparing students for the 21st-century workforce.

Licata said he was giving the board notice so they could properly prepare for a new superintendent.

"It is an exciting time for Broward County schools and I believe there is an amazing staff that has been assembled here for great things. I can't thank the community enough for their faith and trust in me. I have forged some incredible relationships and I believe the district is on the right path for even greater accomplishments," he said.

Licata has led the sixth-largest school system in the nation and second-largest in Florida since July of last year.

He replaced former school Superintendent Dr. Vickie Cartwright, who was ousted over her leadership style. Cartwright only held the top job in Broward schools for about a year as well.

In an unprecedented move, the board decided to appoint Howard Hepburn, the district's chief academic officer, as the new superintendent effective immediately. Hepburn is from Belle Glade in Palm Beach County and is one of Licata's righthand administrators.

"Nothing changes. Our priority is focused on making this an "A" (district), our priority is focused on doing what we must do for our communities. That is going through our redefining process, repurposing schools, and working with our communities to make sure we're making the right decisions as we move forward," he said. 

Hepburn said student performance and achievement will always be the priority. 

The board will now have to negotiate Licata's exit package and Hepburn's new three-year contract. 

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