Lee County schools Superintendent Greg Adkins to retire

Lee County Superintendent Greg Adkins has decided to retire at the end of his contract later this year. Two District sources told WINK News Adkins sent an email announcing his plans to all District employees.

Adkins’ plan is to retire at the end of June, which is when his employment contract is up, according to a copy of Adkins’ email obtained by WINK News.

Adkins shared his plan to retire during a public address Friday at the Lee County Public Education Center. See the conference below, or click here to watch.

School district spokesperson Rob Spicker said Adkins has been thinking about this for some time, and his announcement allows for an orderly transition.

Adkins has served in his role for five years and called it “an honor and privilege beyond my highest expectation” in his email.

Adkins has been with the school district for 33 years. In his email, he said he hopes to be able to help the next superintendent before his retirement.

Adkins’ email includes his list of accomplishments during his tenure, including the construction of new schools through the passage of the half-cent sales tax referendum.

“With those dollars we will build, add to, or perform major campus renovations at more than 20 locations over the next 10 years,” Adkins wrote. “Included in that are the addition at Lehigh Senior High School, the new Gateway High School and Lehigh Acres Middle School – both set to open in August, and the Innovation School, an exciting collaboration with Florida Gulf Coast University which will revolutionize and improve education and professional development in our region.”

Adkins described the challenge of working through Hurricane Irma in 2017 and more recently, the pandemic.

“And over the last year we have mobilized again, responding to the COVID-19 pandemic in a truly exceptional way,” he said in his email. “We quickly moved more than 95,000 students to a Distance Learning environment, and led the country by reopening schools in the fall. We now have approximately 80% of our students in face-to-face instruction, while the rest continue in an innovative distance learning model.”

“I will deeply miss the many friends, colleagues and community members I have built relationships with over the years,” he added. “I am tremendously appreciative of those relationships forged while striving to improve the educational opportunities for the children of Lee county.”

Read his email to employees below:

April 16, 2021

Dear School District of Lee County Team,

I am writing to inform you of my decision to retire at the end of my current employment contract on June 30, 2021. Serving as Superintendent in Lee County for the last five and half years has been truly an honor and privilege beyond my highest expectation.

During my almost 33-year tenure with our District, I have had the pleasure to serve with some of the most amazing and talented teachers, support staff, administrators and board members our profession has ever seen and whose commitment to children is immeasurable. Similarly, I have found our parents, community members and business leaders to be supportive, engaged and willing to help us achieve our mission that leaves me extremely grateful.

Our collective achievements over my last five years have been remarkable. Our students continue to set record graduation rates each year, with this year seeing the highest percentage of graduates in District history. During the same time, achievement gaps continued to close and the number of schools considered underachieving by the State, was reduced from 23 to zero. We saw student achievement improve in most areas, resulting in steady progress toward our goal of becoming an A+ school district.

Unprecedented growth in Lee County resulted in the need to build more schools, and led to the accomplishment of something most never thought possible – the passage of the half cent sales tax referendum. With those dollars we will build, add to, or perform major campus renovations at more than 20 locations over the next 10 years.  Included in that are the addition at Lehigh Senior High School, the new Gateway High School and Lehigh Acres Middle School – both set to open in August, and the Innovation School, an exciting collaboration with Florida Gulf Coast University which will revolutionize and improve education and professional development in our region.

Taking on the challenge of Kindergarten readiness, we expanded our PreK program with the opening of a 200 seat PreK center at James Stephens International Academy and we have plans to continue this expansion in other areas of the county. Finally, the need for skilled workers is at an all-time high and we have responded by adding career academies at our high schools, with plans to expand our technical colleges in order to meet that demand.

Over and above educating our children, we have also overcome many challenges. In 2017, we mobilized during Hurricane Irma, providing food and shelter for over 25,000 Lee County residents. After the storm we worked diligently to assess and repair the damage to open our schools safely. And over the last year we have mobilized again, responding to the COVID-19 pandemic in a truly exceptional way. We quickly moved more than 95,000 students to a Distance Learning environment, and led the country by reopening schools in the fall. We now have approximately 80% of our students in face to face instruction, while the rest continue in an innovative distance learning model. With your dedication and commitment to the health and well-being of our students, the spread of COVID-19 in our schools has been minimal. We have worked to make an abnormal year as normal as possible, hosting afterschool clubs and activities, proms and in a few short weeks we will celebrate our seniors at their graduation ceremonies.

The successes we have celebrated together as a District are some of my proudest moments. My hope is to be here to help with a transition to the next Superintendent before retiring to spend more time with my family. I will deeply miss the many friends, colleagues and community members I have built relationships with over the years. I am tremendously appreciative of those relationships forged while striving to improve the educational opportunities for the children of Lee county.

Working together to build a better future for our students has been one of the most gratifying missions of my life.

Thank you.

Greg

Writer:Melissa Montoya
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