Goals, challenges drive Mullins in new role
Dr. Mark Mullins has 24 years of experience with Brevard Public Schools as a teacher, assistant principal, principal, deputy superintendent and chief operating officer.
VIERA VOICE Jill Blue
Dr. Mark Mullins has officially assumed the role of superintendent of Brevard Public Schools, having taken the reigns officially on Aug. 11.
Mullins, who has 24 years of experience with BPS as a teacher, assistant principal, principal, deputy superintendent and chief operating officer, has a number of goals and challenges ahead of him.
Recently, he sat down with the Viera Voice to discuss those issues. He also offered some thoughts on potential new elementary and middle schools in the Viera-Suntree area and other topics.
It was made clear that Mullins’ top priority is student safety.
“I would say that we’ve worked even long before the tragedy in South Florida to make safety and security a priority in our school system,” Mullins said. “Our school board prioritized funding for additional SROs long before we knew we were going to receive additional funding from the state. We launched a single point of access, access control initiative to harden our schools years ago. We began a training program for our schools called our school emergency operations plan, helping them become increasingly aware of how they can be prepared in the case of a critical incident.”
Beyond that, Mullins also discussed another related priority which he also mentioned when queried on what his biggest priorities would be: student mental health.
“We’ve expanded the mental health services we provide students by adding social workers. We’ve added school psychologists, even instructional assistants to support guidance offices so our guidance counselors can spend more of their time in those face-to-face relationships, conversations with those kids, working with them,” Mullins said.
Mullins also addressed the issue of whether or not the area would need new elementary and middle schools, adding that, “Our projections years out certainly support the need for additional schools in Viera. We are engaged in those conversations now and trying to plan prudently but also ambitiously so that we’re prepared to meet the needs of the families that are going to come to Viera.”
More specifically on a prospective Viera Middle School, Mullins noted that, “Our projections seem to indicate that a middle school is on the horizon.”
“The need drives the decision,” Mullins added. “If the need is to provide, build a middle school for our students then that’s what we’ll work toward and move toward doing and ensure that we’re prepared for our students.”
One of the bigger challenges of his job, Mullins said, relates to retaining and hiring quality teachers.
“It is not a Brevard, Florida but more of a national reality that there are fewer students coming out of formal education training programs at our universities so certainly recruiting and retaining the highest quality workforce is something that we’re looking at,” Mullins said.
He also noted that he had an optimistic viewpoint when it came to relations with the Brevard Federation of Teachers in hopes of doing what’s in the best interest of teachers.
“I always believe we can come to the table and start the conversation,” Mullins said. “It’s a complex challenge and seldom is there one answer to complex challenges. We’ve got to work together through them the best that we can.”
Though there are obviously a lot of goals to achieve and some challenges to overcome in his position, Mullins has been inundated with support, it seems.
“The reception of the community has just been overwhelming and has been positive. I appreciate their confidence,” Mullins added. “I appreciate their expectations. I live in this community and love it as much as they do and want great things for it.”
The interview with Dr. Mullins in its entirety can be found on Viera Voice.com. VV