Board of Trustees selects longtime employee Tracie Cascio Snow, former administrator of instructional services.
The Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind has chosen someone within its ranks as the new president of the school, which was founded about 135 years ago.
Tracie Cascio Snow, a St. Augustine resident who was the administrator of instructional services at the school, began her first day as president on Monday, according to a press release from the school. She succeeded Julia Mintzer, administrator of business services, who was the interim president.
"I am extremely honored and humbled to be selected as the next president of the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind," Snow said in a prepared statement. "I truly believe in the mission of our school. We are a school of academic excellence that strives to provide all students with an opportunity to access educational services in a caring, safe and unique learning environment that prepares them to be lifelong learners."
"I am excited about my new role and have the opportunity to continue working with our students, families, stakeholders and an amazing workforce dedicated to each child's success. As we continue to move through the current school year and the years beyond, we will do so with confidence, innovation and grace."
Jeanne Glidden Prickett retired from the role of president on July 31.
FSDB serves pre-K and K-12 students who are deaf, hard of hearing, blind, visually impaired or deafblind, according to the school's website. It is a tuition-free state public school in St. Augustine that serves about 975 students or more each year.
Snow, who is the school’s 19th president, began working for FSDB about 26 years ago. Her roles at the school have included Deaf High School special needs teacher, Deaf Elementary School second grade teacher, Deaf Elementary reading specialist and director of Curriculum and Staff Development within Instructional Services.
In her most recent role as Instructional Services administrator, she led “implementation, monitoring and compliance for general education, specially designed instruction and assessments for preschool through grade 12 students who are deaf/hard of hearing, blind/visually impaired and deafblind,” according to the release. She also oversaw professional development initiatives and certification requirements for academic personnel and served as the school's director of Exceptional Student Education.
Snow is co-chair of the State Advisory Committee for the Education of Exceptional Students, where she “provides policy guidance on education and related services for Florida's children with disabilities,” according to the school.
Her education includes a bachelor's degree in social and rehabilitation services and elementary education from Assumption College in Worcester, Massachusetts; a master's degree in education from Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C.; and a second master's degree in educational leadership from the University of North Florida.
In a written response to questions from The Record, Snow said she decided to go into the education field when she was in college.
"And during my sophomore year, I learned about teaching students who were deaf/hard of hearing," she wrote. "From that day on, it was my passion and teaching has always brought me great joy."
When asked why she applied to be president, she cited her "strong conviction" about FSDB's mission and vision and the promise of its students.
"I have a deep desire to provide leadership and accountability that is both innovative and inspirational ― aimed at furthering the growth and success of our students so they can do more, be more, and achieve more, fulfilling our vision of preparing them for a lifetime of success," she wrote.
Snow wrote that it's her dream for all parents and schools in Florida to know about the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind. She said she plans to make sure information about the school is shared statewide.
Snow didn't outline any specific changes that she plans to make.
"My perspective is not a matter of making changes FSDB and more of looking at what we do to ensure we are exceeding expectations in utilization of all of our resources and talent; providing excellent programs for eligible students who are deaf/hard of hearing, blind/visually impaired, and deafblind; providing quality and timely statewide outreach services; collaborating with school districts; and ensuring that we are seen as a trusted resource for the state of Florida," she wrote. "Changes will happen purposefully, based on stakeholder feedback, goal setting, action planning and monitoring."
The school’s Board of Trustees recently made the unanimous decision to hire Snow.
"Her lengthy career at FSDB has demonstrated her passionate devotion to our mission of preparing students to do more, be more and achieve more, thereby acquiring skills for lifelong success,” Owen McCaul, chair of the Board of Trustees, said in the release. “She is an exceptional leader who truly understands FSDB and the importance of engaging faculty and staff members, parents/legal guardians, alumni, business partners, donors and countless other stakeholders who are committed to supporting our students."
The board's announcement followed a national search for a new leader, according to a response from the school to questions from The Record. The search involved sending invitations to apply to the leadership of similar schools across the country.
Forty-one people applied for the position. A screening committee appointed by the Board of Trustees met in the summer to recommend finalists, according to the school. The board interviewed three finalists for the position and made the decision on Oct. 29.
"The FSDB Board of Trustees’ aim was to select a visionary leader who embodies integrity and a passion for educational excellence," according to the school. "The presidential search was set up as a rigorous national process for a leader who can embrace, support and build upon the values that define FSDB: high quality education, diversity, integrity and respect, safety and security, and innovation."
The Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind is a tuition-free state public school and outreach center available to eligible pre-K and K-12 students who are deaf/hard of hearing, blind/visually impaired or deafblind. At FSDB, students learn how to do more, be more, and achieve more, fulfilling our vision of preparing them for a lifetime of success. FSDB gratefully accepts private donations to support vital programs that directly benefit students and are not paid by state general revenue funds. To inquire about enrollment eligibility or schedule a campus tour, contact Parent Services at 904-827-2212 voice or 904-201-4527 videophone. For more information about FSDB, visit www.fsdbk12.org.