‘Off to a great start:’ Orange County schools welcomes new superintendent

Dr. Maria Vazquez visits classroom on first day of school

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Orange County’s next superintendent greeted students at several campuses during her first back to school tour since being chosen as the district’s next leader.

Dr. Maria Vazquez made stops at Roberto Clemente Middle School and Englewood Elementary where she visited classrooms and ate lunch with students.

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“I am delighted to say we’re off to a great start,” Vazquez said. “I am just giddy (and) so excited. I can feel the energy in our schools.”

As superintendent designate, Vazquez officially begins her new role Sept. 1 and it comes as Orange County Public Schools is facing challenges and changes.

Ahead of the school year, OCPS brought on resource teachers and interventionists to help with a teacher shortage.

After new hires were used to fill roles in the classroom, Vazquez said there were nearly 100 vacancies that needed to be filled by district personnel.

“Because we had those additional positions filled, we did not see the shortage that maybe some others have experienced,” she said.

The next superintendent also said safety is her top priority and will be addressed in a layered approach, which includes access to an app school employees can use to lock down a school.

“What that does is that app automatically connects to 911, it connects to the principal and to our command center,” Vazquez said.

During her first 100 days on the job, Vazquez said she plans to visit 50 campuses to connect with teachers and students across the district.

“Hearing from them, the experts, on how we can make improvements (and) how we can better serve our community is my goal for my first 100 days listening tour,” she said.

About the Author:

Mark Lehman became a News 6 reporter in July 2014, but he's been a Central Florida journalist and part of the News 6 team for much longer. While most people are fast asleep in their bed, Mark starts his day overnight by searching for news on the streets of Central Florida.