Greg Adkins stepping down as Lee County schools superintendent

Adkins, 56, has served as superintendent since 2015, making his tenure the second…

Greg Adkins stepping down as Lee County schools superintendent 1

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Lee County School Superintendent Greg Adkins talks about masks at meeting

Lee County School Superintendent Greg Adkins talks about masks at meeting on Tuesday, April 13, 2021.

Amanda Inscore, Fort Myers News-Press

Greg Adkins is stepping down as Lee County schools superintendent. 

He announced his plans to retire in a message to district staff Friday morning.

Adkins, 56, has served as superintendent since 2015, making his tenure the second longest in recent history behind James Browder, who served from 2003 to 2010.

“Serving as superintendent in Lee County for the last five and half years has been truly an honor and privilege beyond my highest expectation,” Adkins wrote in the message.

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He has been with the district for 33 years, including time as a science instructor, school-based administrator and at the district office.

Adkins’ message celebrated the district’s many successes in the past five years through collaboration with employees, students, families and the community.

He pointed to record-setting graduation rates, efforts to close the achievement gap and how the district no longer has any underperforming schools, lifting all 23 out of state watch during his tenure.

Adkins also touched on the growth of early education and vocational training efforts in the county and how the passing of the half-cent sales tax in 2018 has led to a boom in construction projects aimed at meeting growth in the county.

He also reflected on the challenges the district has faced, from Hurricane Irma in 2017 to the COVID-19 pandemic that pivoted instruction last spring to remote learning and led to multiple learning models this school year.

“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,” Adkins wrote.

He called the work done by the whole team among his “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,” Adkins said.

It is not clear whether the Lee County School Board will allow him to finish out his existing contract or how the district will fill his role in the future.

The next scheduled board meeting is April 26.

Adkins’ most recent employment contract spanned three years and is up June 30. It was approved by the school board on June 5, 2018, authorizing his base pay to go up to $209,000 a year.

The increase was nearly 13% higher than what was written into his original contract. The 2015 document called for an annual salary of $185,000.

His tenure hasn’t been without controversy with board members through the years calling for his contract to be terminated. 

Adkins was tapped for the superintendent position after former schools’ chief, Nancy Graham, announced her plans to step down from the office in 2015. Originally, the school board floated plans to conduct a national search but quickly tapped Adkins as an interim leader as the board figured out what to do. 

While then-board chair Cathleen Morgan was out of the country, the board moved to make Adkins the permanent leader. 

Adkins had spent the prior two years as the district’s chief operations officer. The previous 10 years, he was the chief of human resources.

Before moving up to the district, Adkins was a longtime school administrator who rose through the Lee County school district’s teaching ranks. His focus was science, leaning on his geology degree from the University of Akron.

He first taught at Pine Island Middle School, which no longer exists, as well as Gulf Middle School in Cape Coral and Paul Laurence Dunbar Middle School in Fort Myers. He later became an assistant principal and principal at Dunbar Middle.

Adkins earned his doctorate from the University of Central Florida and his master’s degree from the University of South Florida.

Lee County superintendent history

Greg Adkins, 2015-2021

Nancy Graham 2013-2015

Joseph P. Burke 2011-2013

Lawrence D. Tihen (interim) 2010-2011

James W. Browder 2003-2010

John W. Sanders 2001-2003

Bruce Harter 1997-2001

Bobbie D’Alessandro 1994-1997

James Adams 1990-1994

Karl Engel 1987-1990

James Melvin 1984-1987

Ray Pottorf 1977-1984 (Pottorf was the first superintendent to be appointed into office).

Ray Williams 1965-1977 (Williams was the last superintendent to be elected into office).

Robert Kreager 1960-1965

Ray Tipton 1953-1960

Charles Bevis 1948 – 1953

Ellis Greene 1944-1948

Harry Hendry 1933-1944

J. Colin English 1924-1932

J.D. McFerron 1920-1924

Joseph Sherrill 1913-1920

David Sumner 1907-1913

Joseph Shands 1901-1907

W.W. Bostick 1897-1901

D.C. Kantz 1887-1897

Check back with news-press.com for more on this developing story.

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