Q+A: Flagler Schools Superintendent LaShakia Moore navigates latest controversy

Moore discusses what's next if the School Board terminates Attorney Kristy Gavin's contract.

Flagler Schools Superintendent LaShakia Moore. File photo by Brent Woronoff
Flagler Schools Superintendent LaShakia Moore. File photo by Brent Woronoff
Photo by Brent Woronoff
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Flagler Schools Superintendent LaShakia Moore was on her way to Tampa on Jan. 11 when she took some time to chat with the Observer.

Moore was heading to the Tampa Convention Center where the Matanzas High School Blue Steel band was scheduled to perform at the Florida Music Education Association Conference and All-State Concerts.

“They invited me to come over, and I'm excited that I'm able to actually make it and see them perform,” Moore said. “Blue Steel will be performing on the main stage. However, we do have students from other schools that are (performing) as well. And so all of our secondary music educators will be there, and I'm excited to be there with them and just spend the next two days supporting music education.”

Since the beginning of the school year, when Moore was the interim superintendent, she's had to work through several crises including investigating a segregated assembly at Bunnell Elementary School, and working with the Sheriff's Office and JP Morgan Chase in trying to recover funds from a cybertheft of a $719,000 payment intended for the contractor of the Matanzas High expansion project that was sent to a fraudulent account.

The latest issue is the School Board's plan to terminate Board Attorney Kristy Gavin's contract. Gavin currently advises both the Board and the district on legal matters. Moore and Gavin were unable to reach a mutual agreement by the Board's Dec. 31 deadline on a possible new role for the attorney working exclusively for the district. Moore spoke about this issue and more.

Were you negotiating a separation agreement or a new role for Kristy Gavin?

"It was really both. There was a separation agreement that would allow her to separate from the Board and to come work for the district under a new contract."

What was the sticking point?

“I think there were several sticking points that just didn't allow us to be able to come to an agreement that Attorney Gavin was OK with that I was OK with as well.”

What is the next step? Are you hiring a firm for the district on an interim basis?

"Right now, Ms. Gavin is still working in her same capacity. If the Board continues with termination, then they will have to follow the steps of her contract in order to terminate her contract, which would be them giving her a letter that essentially tells her that her contract is terminated. So right now Ms. Gavin is working as normal, pending the board's decision as to if they will move forward with termination or not.

"We have other things that come up that we will use other attorneys for. One of the (firms) that we use is Sniffen and Spellman, and so what we've done is made an addendum to their current contract with us (in negotiating union bargaining) to allow for them to help us with other matters outside of the scope of their their old contract. We use different attorneys for lots of different (matters). But right now, what we've done is really open up Sniffen and Spellman's contract with us, so that they can assist us with other things, because there are things that we will continue to need assistance with."

If Gavin's contract is terminated, what will be the next step for the district?

"If her contract is terminated, we will be asking the Board to give us permission to hire an attorney or firm to provide counsel to the district."

Have things settled down since the interim tag was removed from your title in October?

"You know the thing is, there are always things happening that we're working through. I am being very intentional with just the development of the standard order of operating procedures for our organization as a guiding document, a guided process for our staff in order to eliminate some of the issues we've experienced in the past. So I would say I’ve settled in. At the beginning of the year we dealt with some pretty major concerns. But every day we're working through something."

You've selected Angela O'Brien to be the district's new assistant superintendent for academic services — your previous position. How will that help you finally filling that position? 

"I did name an assistant that will be approved by the School Board on the 23rd. So, she is still transitioning into the role. It's going to be critical. It's going to allow for me to really focus on the management of the district and a will allow for her to come in and really focus on the academic side of the house. And that's going to allow for the most important side of our organization to continue to move forward and have the oversight that is needed.

"I'm excited to work with her in this capacity. She's worked for the organization for a little bit over one year. She comes with a lot of knowledge and experience from the private sector, and is now coming over to work within the public sector on the academic side, but she's worked with Human Resources here in Flagler County for the last year."


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