Cerabino: Early drafts of PBC Schools Supt. Avossa’s resignation letter

Feb 06, 2018
Superintendent Robert Avossa announcing his resignation. (Andres Leiva / The Palm Beach Post)

Palm Beach County Schools Superintendent Robert Avossa’s early attempts at dictating his resignation letter:

Draft No. 1:

Dear Chairman Shaw and School Board Members:

After nearly 25 years in the public schools system, I have gone from teacher to principal to district administrator to superintendent.

And now I feel it is time to take the next logical step. It’s time to toss away my $344,750 salary, in order to parlay your glowing recommendations of my performance into a “senior vice president” position at a local publisher of educational newsletters, magazines and other instructional material.

If I had just been offered a regular “vice president” job at the 200-employee LRP Publications, I might have been tempted to stay on beyond my third year running the 11th largest school district in America.

But they had me at senior vice president …

Draft No. 2:

Dear Chairman Shaw and School Board Members:

You ever have one of those dreams, when you imagine yourself doing something really foolish?

And then you wake up, and you realize it was just a dream. And you tell yourself, “Phew, I’m glad that didn’t happen.”

Well, this is like that. Except it isn’t a dream. This is really happening.

Draft No. 3:

Dear Chairman Shaw and School Board Members:

Help! I’m having a mid-life crisis.

Draft No. 4:

Dear Chairman Shaw and School Board Members:

The other day I was sitting in my office, marveling at how well our district is doing now since I’ve been running it.

The minority achievement gap is narrowing. Teachers are getting raises again. We have no “F” schools in the district anymore. And we passed a sales tax that will help address the maintenance we had to postpone on our facilities.

And then I thought, “OK, Robert, you are nailing this job. But what about you?”

That’s when I asked myself: If I could do anything on Earth, what would it be?

And the answer came immediately: I would work for a company that generates in-house instructional material for school districts that explains their obligations under the IDEA, ADA, Section 504, ESSA/Title I, and FERPA.

And lucky for me, such a job exists right here in Palm Beach Gardens.

So it is with a heavy heart that I resign my position as Palm Beach County Schools Superintendent to follow my bliss.

Draft No. 5:

Dear Chairman Shaw and School Board Members:

The bad news is, I am writing to inform you that I will be resigning my position at Palm Beach Schools Superintendent to go to work for a small publisher of educational support material.

The good news is that I’m pretty sure I can get you all a friends-and-family discount on LRP Publications products.

For example, “The School Board Member’s Manual: The Essential Guide for Effective Service (Third Edition),” retails at $46.95 to the general public.

But if you call me (after May) I’ll bet I can get it for you for about 30 bucks.

Draft No. 6:

Dear Chairman Shaw and School Board Members:

Please accept this letter as my official resignation. I have been offered and have accepted a job at a local publishing company.

This will allow me to spend more time with my family, even though they are taking the news a little rough right now.

They keep reminding me that I’m only 46, and that all those years I spent making bupkes as a teacher is paying off now by being hired as the highest paid superintendent of schools in Florida.

And that this is no time to jump off the squirrel’s treadmill to smell the roses or become Mr. Mom and make pancake breakfasts at home, or whatever other notion I might have about spending more time with my family.

“When you’re 64, we’ll talk,” they say. “You’re 46. Go out there and be the hunter-gatherer you were born to be!”

But they’ll eventually see things my way. I make the pancakes with pineapple. And the tartness of the pineapple is a wonderful complement to the sweetness of the maple syrup.

Anyway, I resign.

I’m spending more time with my family. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.

Thanks. It’s been a terrific nearly-three years.