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Brevard school board chooses Cocoa Beach principal as new superintendent

Mark Rendell, shown during a public interview on April 27, has been selected as Brevard County superintendent of schools.
Brevard Public Schools
Mark Rendell, shown during a public interview on April 27, has been selected as Brevard County superintendent of schools.

The Brevard County School Board voted 3-2 Tuesday to select Mark Rendell as its new superintendent of schools.

The prior superintendent, Mark Mullins, left at the end of December after three board members said they wanted him out.

Rendell is the current principal at Cocoa Beach Junior-Senior High School and a former superintendent in Indian River County.

Brevard County School Board Chair Matt Susin praised his approach and his knowledge of Brevard, saying he's the best equipped to compete under House Bill 1 -- a new law making school vouchers available for any students.

"Who is going to be shovel-ready, I think the term was, or ready to go?" Susin said. "Who understands the district to be able to turn that ship quickly, to be competitive, right? And I feel that's Mr. Rendell."

On the other hand, board member Katye Campbell raised concerns about Rendell's leadership in Indian River County, where he resigned amid disagreements with that board in 2019.

She preferred another of the three finalists, Duval County Chief of Schools Scott Schneider. Campbell said he is more qualified and less divisive.

Board member Jennifer Jenkins also supported Schneider. She said the search process "lacked integrity" and called it "another embarassing moment for Brevard Public Schools."

Board member Megan Wright defended their nationwide search even as it came down to a local principal.

"To me it says, hey, we searched high and low," Wright said. "We searched the country and I feel confident now in saying, hey, this is who I want to move forward with."

According to Rendell's resume, he was assistant and then deputy superintendent in St. Lucie County from 2012 to 2015, before being hired to lead the district in Indian River County.

In Brevard County, he worked as a teacher starting 30 years ago. He worked as an assistant principal and, from 2001 to 2006, as a principal at Titusville High.

He was also a principal at Port St. Lucie High from 2010 to 2012.

Joe Byrnes came to Central Florida Public Media from the Ocala Star-Banner and The Gainesville Sun, where he worked as a reporter and editor for several years. Joe graduated from Loyola University in New Orleans and turned to journalism after teaching. He enjoys freshwater fishing and family gatherings.
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