Hundreds pay tribute to Orange Superintendent Ron Blocker
Orlando Sentinel Original Article
After 12 years as superintendent of Orange County Public Schools, Ron Blocker has a lot of people lining up to say goodbye.
800 well wishers who paid $55 a head got their chance Tuesday night
during a gala dinner celebration in a ballroom at the Rosen Shingle
Creek Resort. The event was arranged by the school district's public
relations department and included sponsorships by Rosen Hotels &
Resorts and CFE Federal Credit Union.
Blocker has strong roots in Orange County and the school system. He
was a school psychologist and principal before rising to the
superintendent's job in July 2000.
The event included video testimonials from about 30 people, including current and former employees, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs and others.
Blocker has been credited with substantially raising the performance of the nation's 10th-largest
school district to include three 'A' grades from the state, followed by
a "B" most recently. He also oversaw a broad school building program
that included replacing or upgrading numerous schools, and helped bring
graduation rates to a record high.
The district's first black
superintendent, Blocker's longevity stands out among urban
superintendents, who average 3 1/2 years on the job.
teacher's superintendent," said teacher Rick Ellenburg in his
testimonial. "You have to push him to get out of a room. He'd stay and
talk to kids all day."
Many of the accolades for Blocker have come
in recent years. He was honored as the top superintendent in the state
last year by Florida Association of District School Superintendents.
Deputy Superintendent Barbara Jenkins will be taking over as
superintendent May 15, Blocker will be working into June to ease the
Former administrator Clara Walters recalled Blocker
talking her into reducing a student's suspension when he was a young
"He was always and advocate for children," Walters said.
Tuesday, the School Board announced that the district's administrative
headquarters is being renamed the Ronald Blocker Educational Leadership
Center in his honor.
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