In a three-to-two vote, The Collier County School Board approved the contract for a new superintendent.
Doctor Leslie Ricciardelli grew up in Collier County and spent the last 28 years working for the school district.
“Collier County is an amazing place to work and I am so fortunate and so blessed to be here,” Ricciardelli said.
It wasn’t easy. Two members of the board didn’t want her to take the position. They lost.
Businessman Alfie Oakes went to court to stop the district from finalizing a contract with Ricciardelli. He lost.
Then the board disagreed over the length of her contract and how much to pay her. The three-to-two vote established a three-year contract starting at $305 thousand a year.
“I think I made it clear why I put my confidence behind Dr. Ricciardelli. Because I do feel she’s an instrumental part of the team to take us to be number one in the state,” Kelly Lichter said, School Board Chair.
Ricciardelli told WINK News in an exclusive interview she believes that she can work with a divided school board.
“So it’s been exactly six months, we knew it would be a lengthy process,” Ricciardelli said. “I just came to work and kept doing what I knew needed to be done to support the schools and the students and the teachers and administrators. The great thing is that the vision of the board aligns very much with what my initial initiatives were.”