Brevard superintendent resigning to lead national education nonprofit

Desmond Blackburn to become CEO of New Teacher Center

Dr. Desmond Blackburn

BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. – Brevard County School District superintendent Desmond Blackburn submitted his resignation Monday and will become the CEO of a California-based education nonprofit, officials with the school district said.

Blackburn has been in the role of superintendent of Brevard Public Schools since 2015. His last day will be no later than the start of the 2018-2019 school year.

In a news release, the school district praised Blackburn for his work toward better school security before and after the Feb. 14. Parkland high school shooting.

"A week before that tragedy, Blackburn led a contingent of student-government presidents from Brevard high schools on a one-day trip to Tallahassee where the students lobbied legislators to expand mental-health services at all Florida campuses," district officials said in a news release.

After the shooting where 17 students and school staff were killed, Gov. Rick Scott selected Blackburn to serve on the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission.

Blackburn said he would like to continue his work on the public safety commission, which is charged with studying the mass shooting in Parkland and recommending policy improvements.

Blackburn put in his 90 days' notice Monday and said he plans to take on a new leadership role at the New Teacher Center, a national nonprofit that improves public education by training and mentoring new teachers.

"I am extremely honored to have the opportunity to lead NTC,” Blackburn said. “As both an educator and district leader, I have a thorough understanding of the challenges that teachers face in the classroom, the responsibilities of school leaders, and the important role that mentors and coaches play to help educators.”

School Board Chairman John Craig said the board will begin discussing the search for a new superintendent during a workshop on Tuesday.

“We wish Dr. Blackburn and his family the very best,” Craig said. “We thank him for his leadership in the community and the positive impact he has had on our schools and children.”

In a statement, Blackburn thanked the Brevard County community for welcoming him with "wide-open arms."

"You epitomize ‘class’ and I will miss all of you dearly," Blackburn said.