Christopher Bernier selected Duval County Public Schools superintendent

The former chief of Lee County Schools begins his new role July 1.

  • By Max Marbut
  • | 1:36 p.m. May 23, 2024
  • | 4 Free Articles Remaining!
Christopher Bernier
Christopher Bernier
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The Duval County School Board selected Christopher Bernier on May 23 as the next superintendent of Duval County Public Schools.

Jacksonville Daily Record news partner reported that board members voted unanimously  to select Bernier, former superintendent of Lee County Schools in Florida. Lee has more than 90,000 students. By contrast, Duval has more than 129,000.

Bernier was Lee County superintendent from 2022 until he resigned in early April, two days after applying for the Duval superintendent job.

Bernier’s resume says he led the planning for Hurricane Ian, which devastated Lee County, improved student safety by adopting the Florida Guardian program and boosted employee salaries and compensation by nearly 15% in two years.

The community had a chance to meet Bernier and the other finalist, Daniel Smith, in person last week.

Smith is chief of staff for Loudon County Public Schools in Virginia, which has more than 80,000 students.

In the end, it was Bernier’s experience, particularly in Florida, that tilted the board in his favor.

The board suggested some of the feedback they received on the candidates suggested a divided community — and they urged people to support the board’s choice for the sake of the students.

“Your passionate engagement as a community and thoughtful contributions have been instrumental in shaping (our decision),” School Board chair Darryl Willie said.

“But now it’s imperative that we channel this collective energy into forging a united path forward. Regardless of whatever perspective you came in from, it’s time to rally around the shared objective. And that objective is to provide unparalleled education and unwavering support for our students.”

Duval County Public Schools said the School Board and Bernier will next begin contract negotiations.

Bernier is expected to begin work July 1.



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