Superintendent Dr. Nikolai Vitti of Duval County Public Schools is this year’s “Outstanding Superintendent Communicator,” an honor handed out by the Sunshine State School Public Relations Association (SUNSPRA). Vitti accepted the award via video in Tampa recently at the 71st Annual Joint Conference of the Florida School Boards Association.
Having joined Duval County Public Schools just four years ago, Vitti has made real connections with stakeholders who care about kids. He expanded the communications department and launched an expansive, first-ever school marketing plan based on public input.
Vitti built partnerships with 19 nationally-known companies to establish programs for students in early college, career and technical education. He also continues giving stakeholders a stronger voice with surveys and actually listens to what they say – to improve customer service for his district. He turns their comments into solutions for his schools.
In just the last two years, district website traffic increased 166 percent, social media followers are up by 46 percent, and broadcast minutes watched or listened to spiked by 859 percent.
Community members recognize Vitti for his “relentless drive to accomplish a vision” and readily recognize him for genuinely caring how messages are received, valued and clarified. They also describe him as “an active listener open to innovation when it benefits students” and a valuable partner who constantly “puts a premium on transparency, clarity and consistency.”As superintendent, Vitti oversees nearly 130,000 students in 198 schools and manages a $1.7 billion budget. He previously served in Dade County Public Schools and
Florida’s Department of Education. His doctorate and master’s degree in Education, Administration, Planning and Social Policy come from Harvard University.
A committee of judges Accredited in Public Relations (APR) and Certified Public Relations Counselors (CPRC) scored this year’s entries. Judges included Tina Banner (United Way of Marion County), Allison Campbell (Jenkins Auto Group), Devon Chestnut (Cox Communications), Toni James (Toni James & Associates), and Lisa Varner (Jenkins Auto Group).