Comfortable shoes and a smart phone are two visuals that depict Brevard Public Schools’ new superintendent, Desmond Blackburn. He is generally running to get to the next community event and while there, taking a selfie with each group he is with.
Dr. Desmond K. Blackburn began his career in education in 1996 as a high school math teacher. Since then, he has been an assistant principal, principal, district trainer, director of school improvement, area superintendent, and chief school performance and accountability officer for Broward County Schools, and an adjunct professor at Florida Atlantic University. He was appointed Superintendent of Brevard Public Schools in July of 2015.
Since his start on July 20, 2015, he has been avidly engaged in the Brevard community. He is a current member of the newest LEAD Brevard class, regularly attends CivMil meetings, and serves on the boards of the Economic Development Commission, United Way, and Brevard CareerSource. In addition to these regular engagements, Dr. Blackburn attends numerous community events and meetings as he listens and learns about the community he serves. As part of this journey, he has asked stakeholders who invest in the process to join him by reading the book, “Good Strategy/Bad Strategy.”
“Who I am comes to work with me intentionally every day,” Dr. Blackburn said. “This means that I bring each side of me; husband, father, son, congregant and community member when I lead. So, when I’m dealing with a student situation, I consider things from the parent perspective; likewise, when there is a community issue, I think about the situation as a community member.”
Dr. Blackburn was born in Mt. Vernon, New York and moved to Lauderhill, Florida in 1988. He has a B.S. in mathematics from The University of Florida; an M.S. in educational leadership from Nova Southeastern University; and a Ph.D. in educational leadership from Florida Atlantic University.
As a part of his doctoral dissertation, he not only created Socio-Cultural Leadership, but developed a reliable and valid survey instrument designed to measure principals’ performance around Socio-Cultural Leadership’s traits. After 10 years as a proven educational leader in one of the largest urban school districts in the country, he founded D & G Leadership, Inc.
He is married to his college sweetheart, Kelli Smith Blackburn who is also a UF graduate and currently serves in Broward County Schools as a district reading coach. Together, they have two sons, Dean (15) and Grant (12); both of whom are avid learners and thrive in math, science and computers. All four of the Blackburns hold black belts in Tae Kwan Do.
In 2011, The National Association of Black Student Educators, Broward Chapter, recognized him as an “Administrative Outlier.” In 2013, the Upsilon Xi Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., honored him as a “Father Who Makes a Difference.” In 2014, Legacy magazine recognized him as one of the “50 Most Powerful Black Business Leaders” and the Broward Education Foundation recognized him as a “Distinguished Alumni” of the Broward County School System. His fraternal affiliations include the Prince Hall Masonic Lodge and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.
“I am out listening to what is important to our community. I want to get their input and work collaboratively with them as we finalize touches to a new strategic plan to take Brevard Public Schools to the next level.” – Dr. Desmond Blackburn, Superintendent, Brevard Public Schools