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Press Release

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

DOE Press Office
(850) 245-0413

Department of Education Appoints Regional Directors

~ Leaders responsible for guiding Florida’s Differentiated Accountability Model ~

TALLAHASSEE – The Department of Education today announced the appointment of five Regional Executive Directors to oversee Florida’s Differentiated Accountability program. Each individual was chosen based on their record of success in leading school improvement and reform efforts. The directors will work collaboratively with school staff and district leadership to provide focused support to help meet federal and state proficiency goals. Nikolai Vitti will lead Region 1, which covers Northwest Florida; Leila Mousa will cover Region 2, Northeast Florida; Joseph Burke will oversee Region 3, Southeast Florida; Gail Daves will cover Region 4, Southwest Florida; and Jeffrey Hernandez will oversee Region 5, South Florida.

“The establishment of our regional offices will ensure that each school receives the support they need to be successful,” said Education Commissioner Eric J. Smith. “We’ve pulled together an outstanding team of individuals to lead our targeted reform efforts, and I am confident their expertise will foster improved student academic performance.”

Each regional director will provide guidance and assistance for teams of school improvement facilitators to aid in the development and review of district and school improvement plans, and monitor the implementation of interventions. The directors were selected for their proven management and teamwork abilities in effecting change throughout their careers.

Region 1 – Nikolai Vitti

  • Bay
  • Calhoun
  • Escambia
  • Franklin
  • Gadsden
  • Gulf
  • Holmes
  • Jackson
  • Jefferson
  • Leon
  • Liberty
  • Madison
  • Okaloosa
  • Santa Rosa
  • Taylor
  • Wakulla
  • Walton
  • Washington

Region 2 – Leila Mousa

  • Alachua
  • Baker
  • Bradford
  • Clay
  • Columbia
  • Dixie
  • Duval
  • Flagler
  • Gilchrist
  • Hamilton
  • Lafayette
  • Levy
  • Marion
  • Nassau
  • Putnam
  • St. Johns
  • Suwannee
  • Union

Region 3 – Joseph Burke

  • Brevard
  • Indian River
  • Lake
  • Martin
  • Okeechobee
  • Orange
  • Osceola
  • St. Lucie
  • Seminole
  • Volusia

Region 4 – Gail Daves

  • Charlotte
  • Citrus
  • Collier
  • De Soto
  • Glades
  • Hardee
  • Hendry
  • Hernando
  • Highlands
  • Hillsborough
  • Lee
  • Manatee
  • Monroe
  • Pasco
  • Pinellas
  • Polk
  • Sarasota
  • Sumter

Region 5 – Jeffrey Hernandez

  • Broward
  • Miami-Dade
  • Palm Beach

The federal Differentiated Accountability pilot program will provide 1,081 Florida schools with focused levels of support based on the school’s grade and the percentage of federal Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) requirements it has missed for two or more consecutive years.

Florida is one of six states selected to participate in the U.S. Department of Education’s differentiated accountability pilot program. The pilot program allows Florida to create a tiered approach to address required interventions for Title I schools that have not made Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) under the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act for two or more years. Florida’s selection into the program was based on a proposal that links state and federal accountability systems to identify schools that need focused preventive measures, those in need of more serious corrective action, and those that require intensive intervention such as restructuring or closure.

To view Florida’s Differentiated Accountability proposal, visit (PDF).