The Tribe Interviews the Superintendent


Brandon Santana

Superintendent David Avossa, responding to student questions.

Emily Saba, Editor

In a first for Palm Beach County School District Superintendent Dr. Robert Avossa, he took questions from high school students Tuesday. The photography classroom was transformed into a makeshift press conference hall for s question and answer session with The Tribe.

During the 40-minute interview, students were allowed to ask him about anything and the entire event was streamed on Facebook Live so parents and others could tune in. Students asked questions ranging from issues regarding school funding and student health and security, to more personal questions regarding Avossa’s life and career. By the end of the day, 1,000 people had viewed the video and The Palm Beach Post had written a story.

“I feel like I just went through an interview for a new job,” Dr. Avossa said after the questions ended.

Dr. Avossa has been the superintendent of the School District of Palm Beach Count for the past two years. He agreed to participate in this student-run interview because he wanted to interact with students and the community.

Before the streaming began, Dr. Avossa gave the staff some background about himself. He explained that he immigrated into America when he was young. He also capped off the interview with what he called his “immigrant story,” and why it inspired him to see the importance education has in his success, and now being an immigrant helps him relate to the diverse student population that he oversees.

Other important topics were discussed such as the proposed penny sales tax, the process of teacher evaluations, and the issue of overcrowding in certain schools- Santaluces being one of them. The superintendent also talked about his plans for possibly converting Odyssey Middle School into a high school with a choice program.

One topic that many students may be intrigued by is the discussion involving school buses. Staff Writer Kayla Restivo brought up the issue of the ‘three to a seat’ rule, which is simply unrealistic when most high school kids are fully grown.

Dr. Avossa ended the interview by answering a question from an online viewer about school lunches, during which he defended his lunch program.

“Compared to the lunches your teachers and I ate as kids,” he said, “Your lunches are in a much better place than they were in the 80s or some in the 90s.”

The full live recording of the interview can be found on the School District’s Facebook page.