On Wednesday, Joe Burgess, the current principal at Chiles High School filed paper work with the Leon County Supervisor of Elections to run for Leon County Superintendent of Schools in 2024. Burgess filed to run as a NPA – no party affilaition.
Superintendent Rocky Hanna filed to run for re-election earlier this year. Hanna filed as a Democrat.
Burgess, who is 47, has worked with Leon County Schools (LCS) for 25 years. Before being appointed principal at Chiles, he was principal at Swift Creek Middle School and Springwood Elementary School. Burgess has been the principal at Chiles for 12 years.
Burgess said running for superintendent has been a dream and this is “just the beginning of the journey.” Burgess also said, “I look forward to making the case for why I should be superintendent of Leon County schools.”
Burgess pointed out that over 50% of Leon County schools are ‘C’ or ‘D’ graded and that is unacceptable. “It is time we return the focus to families and quality education for every single student, instead of prioritizing political battles and distractions,” said Burgess.
Superintendent Hanna responded to the news with this statement to TR:
I think my actions as superintendent have proven, to our community, that I will always stand as a champion to protect and defend our students, our teachers, and our public schools.
I am very proud of my record and the accomplishments we have made over the last seven years, including making our schools safer, pushing more resources down to our classrooms, purchasing mobile learning devices for all students, increasing funding for arts and athletic programs, expanding early learning and career technical programs, significantly increasing pay for both teachers and non-instructional personnel, reducing capital debt, and having a plan that will make our school system completely debt free by 2028.
I look forward to sharing more details about my record and my vision for the future in the months ahead.
With Burgess filing as an NPA and Hanna filing as a Democrat, the two candidates will not face each other until the November general election, and only then, if Hanna wins the Democratic primary. Currently, Hanna is the only Democrat filed to run.
In the 2020 election, Hanna ran as a NPA and defeated Democrat Pam Hightower in the general election.
Other protentional candidates have until June to enter the race. The qualifying period for local office is noon on June 10 to noon on June 14.