Brevard County: Representative Randy Fine Doesn’t Like New Brevard School Superintendent Choice.

State Representative Randy Fine is working hard to keep his name in the news and has decided to criticize the Brevard County School Board’s choice for the new school superintendent, long time district employee Mark Mullins.

Fine had been lobbying School Board members not to choose Mullins for the Superintendent’s position, and when they did, Fine decided to put his concerns in a letter to the School Board.

As the FloridaToday notes, Mullins is more than qualified:

Mullins has worked for Brevard Public Schools since 1994. He started as a math teacher at Cocoa Beach Jr./Sr. High and rose through the ranks as an assistant principal of Southwest Middle School and Palm Bay High School and then the principal of the now closed Clearlake Middle School. For six years, he oversaw the 29 schools and principals in the south part of the county as an area superintendent.

It is also, in a way, nice to have some “home grown talent” with roots in the community.

Fine’s concern is based upon an incident he claims happened with Mullins in 2013.

Fine says in that year, the first grade teacher that his eldest son loved was removed from the classroom in the second semester to fulfill a Federally mandated position to tutor kids in the school on testing as the school had been designated

To our surprise, we were told that Brevard Public Schools had just registered Gemini Elementary as a Title 1 school, meaning more than 40% of the students from Melbourne Beach and the South Beaches were certified as coming from lower-income families eligible for free or reduced school lunch. As part of this classification of Melbourne Beach as a lower-income community, Brevard Public Schools had received Title 1 funding to move a teacher into a tutoring role to help the school’s large population of lower-income third graders prepare for statewide testing. The principal assigned our son’s teacher to that new Title 1 role.

It is unclear to us why Fine was “surprised” at the move of the teacher. Surely he knew of the demographics of the school, right? After all, in his letter he is about to say that the school and Mullins in particular said Fine was not informed or educated on what had happened. Right off the bat, it appears that Fine is ignorant of what was going on.

The principal further informed us that the new teacher had not taught in five years, had never taught first grade, and had never taught in Florida.

Wait a second. Is Fine saying that the teacher wasn’t qualified because she was from outside the Florida schools (which is where he wanted the School Board to look for their new Superintendent?)

Over the next few weeks, our worst fears came to pass. The new teacher dramatically reduced the amount of work being done in the classroom and used disciplinary techniques appropriate for brand new first graders. We watched our son’s handwriting worsen daily as he did little-to-no work in class and we watched and heard stories of worsening classroom behavior and disruption on the parts of the students.

Sorry, but if you think your child is not getting enough work in or out of school, you can work with him at home. This is were Fine’s (lack of) thinking cuts both ways. He doesn’t want to be held accountable for the actual teaching and education of his son even for a few short months, but yet feels qualified to tell teachers what they should be doing.

Well, that’s not really the truth. Fine claims that his son’s academic progress declined and like a true professional, he went and talked to the teacher. Nah. He didn’t do that. He went to the principal. When the principal refused Fine’s demands, he went to Mullins, who Fine claims initially refused to meet with him.

Eventually Fine did meet with Mullins who either refused or could not do what Fine wanted. Fine claims that Mullins said Fine was not “qualified to have an opinion” which we find to be an absolutely ridiculous accusation. It makes no sense, but it should be remembered that the so called “meeting” was taking place in a parking lot and Fine was demanding – not simply opining.

The next day Fine says he pulled his son from the school and enrolled him in a private school.

So let’s look at this for a moment….

By Fine’s own admission, there was little time left in the school year when this all went down. His son couldn’t last the academic year? Fine couldn’t help his son with work at home and instead demanded that the school district through Mullins do what he wanted?

In short, because no one would agree with Fine and his demands, he removed his son from the school system.

Fine was not a part of the solution, but he sure was a part of the problem and exhibited the un-professionalism we have come to expect from him.

How unprofessional?

Look at the last page of the letter.

Fine also sent the letter to “The Honorable Jose Oliva, Speaker-Designate of the Florida House of Representatives.”

Can someone tell us what the Speaker of the House has to do with the legal selection of a school superintendent in Brevard County?

Anyone who has served in a “company” as long as Mullins has is going to have made enemies. People that demand things of teachers and administrators that cannot be done will blame the people and instead of working toward a solution, stomp their feet and scream like a petulant child.

In response to Fine’s letter, the School Board issued a statement which read, in part:

“The Board is in unanimous support of Dr. Mullins as the next Superintendent of Brevard Public Schools. Dr. Mullins is a man of great character, a consummate professional and a servant leader. We look forward to working with him as he transitions from his role as Chief Operating Officer to that of Superintendent of one of the finest school districts in Florida and the nation.”

The statement went on to say that each board member “received numerous messages of thanks and congratulations from a broad swath of our community regarding the selection of Dr. Mullins.”

“Dr. Mark Mullins is a dedicated Brevard educator who is poised to serve our students, staff and community with integrity and purpose,” the statement went on. “The Brevard County School Board looks forward to working with him to reach the educational goals of our District and our community.”

Fine had one interaction with Mullins which did not turn out the way Fine demanded. So because of that, his one interaction should override the hundreds of interactions the School Board had with Mullins, to say nothing of the thousands of parents and former students who overwhelmingly supported Mullins.

Yeah, that makes sense to us.

Fine has a bad habit of trying to micro manage the entire county and cities within the county. That’s not his job.

We wish he’d learn that.

One Response to “Brevard County: Representative Randy Fine Doesn’t Like New Brevard School Superintendent Choice.”

  1. Hometown says:

    As a state representative, way out of your swim lane. As a disgruntled parent whose child had a less than perfect school year, welcome to the public school system. I thought it very refreshing that they choose someone in house for a change and wish Dr. Mullins the best of luck in his new job, from his listed experience it sounds like he’s earned it.

    I’m sure the school board and Dr. Mullins are more than willing to listen to any constructive comments on how we can improve our local school system.