VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. – Just days after her predecessor was suddenly fired, Volusia County Schools’ Interim Superintendent Rachel Hazel spoke to News 6 about her plans to lead the district during the transitional phase.
Hazel has served as the human resources director for the district and said while she wasn’t expecting the new role, she’s ready to face the challenges head on.
“I have a close working relationship with our unions, with our district stakeholders, and (know) what they need and the direction they need to finish strong,” she said.
With just weeks until the end of the school year, Hazel said there’s still work to be done. Part of that, she said, is getting the position ready for the permanent superintendent and trying to boost morale—something board members and union leaders said was low under recent leadership.
“Our main focus is always going to be number one student safety, and number two student achievement, and we achieve that through morale,” she said.
On Tuesday, the board voted 3-2 to terminate former Superintendent Ronald ‘Scott’ Fritz’s contract immediately. He had already said he wouldn’t extend his contract at the end of the year but two board members motioned to oust him sooner.
The board then voted to move Hazel into the interim position. She has been with the district since the 1990s. She started as a clerk, then served as a teacher, principal, and most recently, human resources director.
“The people that impact their children’s lives every single day are still here,” she said. “I really view my primary role as gathering as much information as possible to help the next person coming in make the best decisions.”
The board chair said they will extend an offer to the district’s former Deputy Superintendent Dr. Carmin Bougabin. If she declines, he said they will then start an official search.