Departure Day: Cartwright Officially Out as Broward Schools Superintendent

The tenure of Dr. Vickie Cartwright as the superintendent of the Broward school district has come to an end after she agreed to revisions in her separation agreement and submitted her resignation Tuesday.

Lawyers for both Cartwright and the district agreed to a deal deal worth about $365,000 during negotiations last week after Cartwright had threatened lawsuits.

But during a meeting Tuesday, Cartwright agreed to a deal worth about $98,000 less. The $98,000 was to be paid to Cartwright for her to serve as a consultant to the district for two months, but board members said it was too much.

“I am at this point really appalled, I am very appalled, I’ll tell you, Broward County is being strong-armed, I feel like monies were given away as hush money,” board member Brenda Fam said during Tuesday’s meeting.

Board member Allen Zeman proposed eliminating the 60-day consulting agreement, and Cartwright agreed.

“This settlement agreement is too big, and if I wanted to stand in front of the people who elected me to this office, $366,000 is too much,” Zeman said.

The board assigned associate superintendent Dr. Valerie Wanza as acting superintendent, and Dr. Earline Smiley as interim superintendent.

“I am confident that the district will continue to thrive under new leadership and I do wish the district continued success in the future, thank you for your support and your understanding,” Cartwright said.

Cartwright has held the position since August 2021. After a period as interim superintendent, she was selected to lead the sixth largest school district in the country on a full-time basis less than one year ago.

The Broward County School Board and Cartwright agreed to a mutual separation at a special meeting January 24. Cartwright had presented a report outlining some of her accomplishments during her tenure as superintendent, which included securing teacher raises and improved graduation rates.

“One thing I can say for certain is that I’ve been here for about a year and five months, so not even a year and a half, yet I have the data that demonstrates that through my leadership we are able to move mountains in this district in a very short amount of time,” Cartwright said.

But the board was apparently unswayed, and both sides were set to agree to the separation once the terms are settled.

Board member Torey Alston gave Cartwright F after F on his report card for her performance.

“I desire a superintendent who will clean up issue after issue quickly,” Alston said last month. “Playing politics with the board, and sharing false information about your bosses on this dais, F.”

Cartwright had been fired with a 5-4 vote in November after a surprise motion by Daniel Foganholi, one of several school board members who were appointed by Gov. Ron DeSantis following a grand jury report into the Parkland school shooting. Four other DeSantis appointees joined him.

But a month later, a newly-constituted, post-election school board rescinded that termination.

Cartwright was given a 90-day probationary period to prove she’s up to the task, but the 90 days ended last month.

“I want to thank our superintendent, I don’t think anybody could’ve tried as hard, who really wanted to be here,” board member Nora Rupert said at last month’s meeting.