Karen Clarke picked as new superintendent of Alachua County Public Schools

Karen Clarke. Courtesy: Alachua County Public Schools.

The Alachua County School Board has picked Deputy Superintendent Karen Clarke to be the next superintendent.

Clarke, who has been with the district for 25 years, will negotiate a contract with the school board, which will likely be voted on next month, according to a district statement.

Clarke is a graduate of Alachua County schools and the University of Florida.

She started with the district in 1992 as a dropout prevention teacher. Over the last 25 years she served in many roles, including teacher and principal at Oak View Middle School. She was the named the district's director of secondary curriculum and school improvement in 2010. Three years later she became assistant superintendent for curriculum, instruction and student services. In that time the district saw increases in its graduation rates, including among minority and disadvantaged students, the statement said.

She became deputy superintendent in 2016. The district says Clarke is overseeing a number of district initiatives, including helping low-performing students reach their target goals. She's also overseeing the Office of Education Equity and Outreach to develop an equity plan to address disparities and racial inequity.

“These are among those most critical issues facing schools and districts today,” Clarke said in a statement. “We must focus our efforts on closing the achievement gap while also increasing the academic achievement of all of our students.”

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