Dr. Leslie Ricciardelli on being named new Collier County School Superintendent

Reporter: Michelle Alvarez Writer: Paul Dolan
Published: Updated:

After months of searching, Dr. Leslie Ricciardelli was appointed to be the new Superintendent for Collier County Schools.

Dr. Ricciardelli’s agenda includes improving academics, bringing in a new student advisory council, and connecting with parents, students, and teachers because she is one of them.

Lake Park Elementary will always be special to Dr. Ricciardelli, one reason is she went to school there.

And on Thursday, she did her first interview as the newly selected Superintendent of Collier County Schools.

“I know the people, I know the schools; I know their data. I know this community; I know their expectations,” Dr. Ricciardelli said.

And those expectations were on display Tuesday night when parents and taxpayers got their chance to say who they wanted to be the new leader of their school district. The board voted three to two in favor of Dr. Ricciardelli.

“I do not feel in any way that this is going to impact the work that we’ve started, and the work that we will continue to do. They’re my bosses, I’m their employee. I know my role. But I also know that they’re here because they care about Collier County Public Schools just as much as I do,” Dr. Ricciardelli said.

Next, the board and Ricciardelli must agree on a contract. She knows she has to get that done, but her focus, according to Dr. Ricciardelli, is to improve academics while continuing to connect with students, parents, and teachers.

“One of these kids sitting in one of these classrooms could be me.. in however many years, right, 30-40 years, however long it’ll be, but that’s pretty exciting, too, because I’m sure that Mrs. Brian in fourth grade didn’t have a clue that I would be sitting in this chair, but I bet she would be proud of me today,” Dr. Ricciardelli said.

Dr. Ricciardelli has spent the last 23 years working in the Collier County School District. First as an exceptional student education specialist and eventually becoming a principal. And most recelty as an interim superintendent.

Dr. Ricciardelli told WINK News that she is looking forward to graduation, summer, and the first day of school.

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