SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. – Seminole County schools’ new superintendent is preparing to start her new role, but she is no stranger to the district.
Serita Beamon sat down with News 6 for her first interview after the school board chose her for the position in March.
“I’m excited. I’m honored,” Beamon said.
Beamon was born and raised in Seminole County. She attended Seminole County public schools and graduated from Lake Mary High School. She earned her law degree from Florida State University and practiced law in Atlanta before returning to Seminole County. She has worked as the school board attorney for the last 16 years.
“I’m looking forward to not only sustaining our culture and sustaining the high achieving district that we are, but always continuing to grow and improve,” Beamon said.
The search for the next superintendent caused controversy. Beamon got the job after members of the school board rescinded their first offer to Lake County schools assistant superintendent Chad Farnsworth.
“I know that it was a little unexpected twists and turns, I guess, but I am so confident that we are going to be able to move forward and continue to thrive in Seminole County,” Beamon said.
After the board initially chose Farnsworth, Beamon submitted her letter of resignation to the district. She said she planned to do that prior to applying for the position because she wanted to seek opportunities in educational leadership.
“I knew that if I did not become the superintendent that I would not be the board attorney, that I was going to pursue educational leadership opportunities going forward,” she said.
Regarding rebuilding the community’s trust in the process following the controversy, Beamon said she wants to work with the community to move forward.
“I would say that I am excited to be your superintendent. I want you to get to know me as the superintendent. I want to listen to you, listen to your concerns. I want us to grow together going forward,” Beamon said. “I’m passionate about education. All of our parents in Seminole County, they’re passionate about the education their children are receiving. I think together we are going to do great things because I am committed to listening and serving this district well.”
Beamon said although her background is law, she believes she has the skills to lead the school district.
“I know you don’t have the classroom experience. Do you think that’s going to help you or hinder you as the new superintendent?” News 6 reporter Amanda Castro asked.
“I think that it is another thing, another challenge for me, to make sure that all of the other qualities that I have, that in depth knowledge of our system, knowing the different department heads and knowing obviously the law, that I come with and then there are some other things that I will have to learn and that’s part of what I’m committed to doing,” Beamon said.
Beamon said it hasn’t always been her dream to become a superintendent, but it has been her goal for several years. She will become the first female and first Black woman to lead Seminole County Public Schools.
“I want to make sure that I’m not the last. That all of the students see in me that you can achieve your goals, that you can live out your dreams” Beamon said. “And if you’re first, that’s great. But make sure you’re not the last.”
Beamon said there is still uncertainty because of the pandemic and what that means for the next school year. The district announced it will not offer the hybrid learning model, Seminole Connect, next year.
The district is expected to review reopening plans over the summer.
For now, Beamon said she is transitioning into her new role and working with outgoing superintendent Dr. Walt Griffin.
“They’re big shoes to fill following Dr. Griffin, but I have every confidence that together we’re going to continue to do great things and make this the A-rated district that it is and even better,” she said.
Beamon said she is already making plans to visit all of the schools, as well as meet with principals and teachers to learn what they need to do their jobs and help students succeed.
“New beginnings are scary and hard in some ways, but they’re also full of promise and opportunity,” Beamon said. “So this is a new beginning for our district in some ways, but with the knowledge of the work that’s been put in, what’s important to our community here, a commitment to the hard work to continue to do what is necessary to make our system great and to always, always improve.”
Beamon’s first day as superintendent in July 1.