03-15-2018 Board Retreat

The School Board of Brevard County, Florida met for a Board Retreat on Thursday, March 15, 2018 at Brevard Zoo, 8225 N. Wickham Road, Melbourne, FL. Notice of the meeting was advertised in the Eagle newspaper on Thursday, March 8, 2018. The affidavit of publication with a copy of the ad attached is filed in the Affidavit File in the Board Office.

Opening Exercises
1. Opening Exercises


Vice-Chairman Descovich began the meeting at 9:11 a.m.

Roll Call
2. Roll Call


Members Present:  Misty Belford, Tina Descovich, Matt Susin and Andy Ziegler

Staff Present:  Desmond Blackburn, Superintendent of Schools, Amy Envall, General Counsel, Tammy Aguirre, Administrative Assistant to the Superintendent and Pam Escobar, Administrative Assistant to the School Board.

John Craig was unable to attend the meeting due to an unavoidable scheduling conflict.

Pledge of Allegiance
Order of Business
3. Zoo Tour - Keith Winsten


Brevard Zoo Executive Director, Keith Winsten, and Christopher DeLorey, Director of Education, provided the Board with a tour of the zoo and the educational programs offered to Brevard Public Schools through the zoo. 

Board members expressed sincere appreciation for everything Brevard Zoo does to partner with our schools. 

Courtney & Braswell Financial Group provided lunch for the Board and arrived at 11:30 a.m. to set up.

4. Board Evaluation


Ms. Descovich took the lead on this subject.  Members were presented the results of the Board Evaluation completed by Cabinet members.

Outcomes from conversation following the results included:

  • Board members will work toward becoming better board champions of his or her area. 
  • Board members will report on his or her champion area during Board Reports/Discussion to keep the other Board members up to speed.
  • When Board members request information specifics on a champion area other than his or her own, the board champion for that area will bring strategic initiatives and report out during Board Reports/Discussion.
  • Board members will complete its self-evaluation and send to Ms. Aguirre by April 1, 2018.

Ways to Improve:

  • Board members will spend more time going over the 1:1 reports between superintendent and cabinet, found in the superintendent's update.
  • Board members will be more purposeful in following the communication framework they adopted.
    • Board requests should be made to cabinet members.
    • Board members will communicate to cabinet if an issue or request is time sensitive.
    • If not addressed, then the request goes to the superintendent. 




Board members discussed the role of the Superintendent's Insurance Advisory Committee (SIAC) and their expectations.

Dr. Blackburn suggested that Ms. Zuercher, Chief Financial Officer, be given all of their concerns and be sent  on a fact-finding mission.

Dr. Blackburn asked for Board members to send to Ms. Zuercher a list of issues and information they want from the SIAC by Monday, March 19, 2018

6. Proclamation


Board members discussed processes for having proclamations placed on an agenda for board approval.   

7. Whistle Blower Policy
Attachment: Current BPS Whistleblower Policy 3211.pdf
Attachment: Whistleblower Complaint procedures.pdf
Attachment: Whistleblower NEOLA Policy 3211.pdf
Attachment: whistleblowere Complaint Action Form.pdf

General Counsel Amy Envall provided the board with some information to update the Whistle Blower Policy. 

  • It was determined to move the process to Legal Services. Ms. Envall will update the whistleblower policy and she will obtain quotes for a third-party whistleblower vendor. 
  • Ms. Envall will send the Board a draft of Code of Ethics. 
  • Ms. Aguirre will help draft an email to employees explaining the new whistleblower process and promote the phone number.
  • Ms. Envall will provide ethics and whistleblower reports to the Board quarterly.
8. Art Show/Student Academic Recognitions


A consensus by Board members was to hold the art show May, 2018; but have Board members as attendees and also serve as award givers.  It will not be done at an official board meeting.  Beginning in 2018-19, a quarterly recognition meeting will be held to include, science, art, etc.  

Closing Remarks
9. Next Steps


In order to garner further information the following work sessions will be scheduled:

  • Policy overview
  • Legislative processes
  • Local revenue options

10. Adjournment


Vice-Chairman Descovich ended the meeting at 2:10 p.m.