FORT PIERCE — Starting at 12:01 a.m. Monday, Genelle Yost will become the St. Lucie County School District's interim superintendent until the board finds a permanent replacement for outgoing superintendent Michael Lannon.
During its meeting Tuesday, the St. Lucie County School Board unanimously approved Yost's contract which calls for her to be paid an extra $2,500 a month as interim superintendent. Yost, who has been deputy superintendent since September, has a base salary of about $108,000, which doesn't include supplements or benefits.
"We'll continue to make certain that our primary focus is our students," Yost said after the meeting. "We have a fabulous team ... and we'll work collaboratively to meet the needs of our students while the board continues to search for the perfect match."
Board members have said they are so confident in Yost's ability they will not rush the process of finding a permanent replacement for Lannon, who retires Friday after nearly a decade with the district.
The contract speaks to the uncertainty of how long Yost might serve as interim superintendent: "This agreement shall remain in full force and effect from 12:01 a.m. July 1, 2013, through midnight, Aug. 31, 2013, and from month-to-month thereafter until the board selects and employs a permanent superintendent."
Yost said she is prepared to lead for as long as she's needed, or at least until July 1, 2015 — when she retires.
Tuesday's board meeting was Lannon's last, and board members thanked him for his leadership.
Board member Troy Ingersoll pointed to Lannon's selection of Yost as deputy and the team Lannon assembled.
"It's because of you that we feel comfortable in not having a superintendent at all," Ingersoll said. "It's the people that you put in place that's going to make us greater. Thank you, Mike."
Lannon gave a short speech on what he felt St. Lucie needed to get to the next level.
"Today, we in St. Lucie do not have an educational crisis, but rather a jobs crisis," Lannon said. "There are not sufficient jobs for the ever increasing number of our graduates both of our St. Lucie County high schools or the colleges, tech schools or universities they attend. Without appropriate jobs there is little to cause these graduates to return home to help St. Lucie County become even stronger. ... Jobs are the answer for our future."
He also provided some pointers on how the district and community can "move further toward greatness."
"To all, find every opportunity to work together for the common good. Celebrate the richness of our diversities," Lannon said. "Avoid racism, bigotry and special interests. Bring resources to bear on poverty Invest in your future — the children."