Okaloosa School Superintendent Mary Beth Jackson Suspended By Governor

Jan 11, 2019

Mary Beth Jackson

Governor Ron DeSantis has suspended Okaloosa County School Superintendent Mary Beth Jackson.

The governor made the announcement during a short news briefing this Friday morning in Tallahassee.

“As you remember there have been several grand jury reports that have been very scathing about her conduct and her dereliction of duty,” said DeSantis in reference to the investigation into Jackson’s handling of a 2016 report of alleged child abuse involving a six-year-old autistic boy at Kenwood Elementary School.

“Those grand juries recommended that the Department of Education looked at ways to hold her accountable,” DeSantis said.

DeSantis said he received a memo this week from new Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran recommending Jackson’s suspension.

Watch video here: https://thefloridachannel.org/videos/1-11-19-press-availability-with-governor-ron-desantis/

View the PDF copy of the signed letter submitted to Governor DeSantis by Commissioner Corcoran here: https://www.flgov.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/Okaloosa-Letter-.pdf

View a PDF of the executive order here: https://www.flgov.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/EO-19-13.pdf

In 2017, Northwest Florida Daily News, reported that the Okaloosa County School District was investigating a child abuse case involving a teacher and a then 6-year-old non-verbal student on the autism spectrum. The alleged abuse had occurred nearly a year before the student's parent became aware of the situation.

In August 2017, the student's teacher, Marlynn Stillions was arrested as well as school district investigator Arden Farley and former Kenwood principal Angelyn Vaughan. In Jan. 2018, Assistant Superintendent Stacie Smith was arrested in connection with the alleged abuse case. The State Attorney's concluded their criminal investigation of OCSD in June 2018 with no indictments of school district officials. 

Taking Jackson’s place, the governor appointed Assistant Superintendent Marcus Chambers.

“I’ve been able to meet and interview him, and uh, I think, he’s [gonna] do a really good job,” DeSantis said of Chambers.