homepage logo

Adkins bids farewell to School District of Lee County

Will retire June 30 after 33 years with the school system

By CHUCK BALLARO - | Apr 16, 2021

During his five-and-a-half years as Lee County Superintendent of Schools, Gregory Adkins said the district accomplished much, from bringing every school up to state standards to championing for a half-cent sales tax referendum that would result in the construction and renovation of many Lee County schools.

On Friday, with dozens of principals and nearly the entire Lee County School Board on hand, Adkins announced he would be stepping down from his position when his contract expires June 30.

Adkins, who served in the school district for 33 years, was given a standing ovation as he made the announcement at the Lee County Public Education Center in Fort Myers.

“Serving as your superintendent… has been an honor and a privilege beyond my highest expectation,” Adkins said. “During my tenure with the district, I have had the pleasure to serve with the most amazing and talented people this profession has ever seen.”

Adkins said Lee County students continue to set records in graduation rates, the district has closed achievement gaps, and the number of underachieving schools in Lee County has dropped to zero, bringing Lee County closer to its goal of becoming an A+ school district.

Adkins also brought up the half-cent sales tax passed by the voters to allow the district to build more schools and renovate nearly 20 others as Lee County continues to grow, saying it, as were many of the accomplishments, was a team effort. Gateway High School and the new Lehigh Acres Middle School are set to open in August.

Adkins said during Hurricane Irma in 2017, Lee County Schools provided food and shelter to more than 25,000 citizens. In 2020, as the worldwide pandemic hit, Lee County schools were among the first to provide face-to-face learning, which 80 percent of students are now doing again.

Adkins pushed back at those who said controversies are what have forced him to leave.

“This is something I have been thinking about for some time… We’ve set the groundwork, and to whoever is named the next superintendent, my hope is to work with my board members to make this the most positive transition for our community,” Adkins said.

School board members had a chance to speak, with Gwynette Gittens saying the one-on-one talks with Adkins are the best part of her job and that he truly enjoyed spending time with the students.

“Greg had the biggest smile when he was with students because of his heart for children, like all the rest of us,” Gittens said. “We look forward to him continuing the work in the community.”

Lorie Trombetti, principal at Skyline Elementary, said she has never not known Adkins as a leader in her 28 years in the district.

“It will take some adjusting for me, I wish him the best. He has always been a leader and I think he deserves all the best things coming his way,” Trombetti said. “He’s the calming influence for all the chaotic crisis coming our way.”

Amy Desamours, chief financial officer at the school system, said his accomplishments speak for themselves.

“He’s contributed so much as a teacher, to school administrator to the central office and as superintendent. He’s seen and made a lot of changes,” Desamours said. “There were many accomplishments, but the biggest was with student achievement, which was very significant. We have no failing schools. That speaks for the work our teachers and principals are doing in schools and the leadership he provides.”