Buzz: Keith Leonard has inside track to be next superintendent

“Don’t believe the narrative that the next head of the Escambia County School District will come from outside the district,” – that’s what school district insiders have told Inweekly. Keith Leonard has the inside track, according to them.

Leonard is currently the district’s director of human resource services. He was move to the district in 2003 by then-Superintendent Jim Paul, first as chief negotiator and then director of human resources in 2007. He was the head football (1997-2003) and replaced Bill Fryman for about three months before he took the district job.

Before he took over football, Leonard served as Tate’s baseball coach, where he started the Tate Aggie Classic, a prestigious high school baseball tournament.

He also was the quarterback of when the Tate Aggies won the 1980 Class 4A state championship.

Leonard was considered the favorite to run for school superintendent once Malcolm Thomas retired, but the last year’s ballot initiative that switched the post to an appointed derailed that.

Leonard may already have the three votes to get hired. He contributed money to the campaigns of school board members Paul Fetsko and Kevin Adams. School board member Bill Slayton was the Tate’s band director (1971-1987) when Leonard was a student at the high school.


2 thoughts on “Buzz: Keith Leonard has inside track to be next superintendent

  1. There are families in Escambia that contribute thousands of dollars to many campaigns. Although they may not be appointed to a government position, their businesses prosper greatly from those contributions. Look at the current campaigns on the Supervisor of Elections webpage and simply filter for $1000. You can see the trend.
    Certainly not illegal, but let’s not pretend there are not considerations when the politicians get in office. That’s the game we allow to happen.

  2. Huh.

    Member when Janice Gilley was “introducing” one of the two friends that she needlessly hired during a pandemic state of emergency for “assistant administrator” positions? (Not to be confused with her “deputy administrator” positions–whatever the hell that means.)

    Didn’t she break out of her buttery “don’t mind lil ‘ol me” lilt for a tinny side note of unresolved bitterness over not being made drum majorette Tate High School marching band all those years ago?

    That’s the same band school board member Bill Slayton directed, right?

    Please correct me if I’m wrong. I’ve only been here for six years, so I don’t quite have all her nepotism networks charted yet. They’re big! It’s kind of like an endless role play mystery game, except for the real-world consequences. But I guess a lot of people don’t have a problem looking over those for the thrill of it all.

    If I’m remembering that majorette thing right, I wonder what role in the band Gilley was relegated to back then that she’s still compensating for. Assistant majorette? Deputy flag girl?

    If hiring high-priced school friends to cushion her from below at the County hasn’t been enough, maybe working some more of that way-back machine to influence the superintendent outcome will help her out. We could always just add it to her growing tab with the taxpayers.

    -Melissa Pino

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