Published On: Tue, Jul 23rd, 2019

Peter Licata Marks a Triumphant Return to South County as Regional Superintendent

Peter Licata

By: C. Ron Allen

Residents in Southern Palm Beach County should be excited knowing that Dr. Peter Licata, an assistant superintendent in the School District of Palm Beach County, has returned as their regional superintendent.

Licata, who until his recent appointment, served as the director of the district’s choice and career programs, is no stranger to the area. He knows the Boca Raton culture quite well, having served as principal at Olympic Heights High, where he earned accolades for leading the campus to its first A rating in 2008. He also was a beloved principal at Boca Raton Middle School, he led multiple departments in the school district, and he has a small consulting business.

Pete’s experience coupled with the fact that he genuinely cares about students make him highly qualified for the job. He also has the personality and I know he’s going to be a good fit.  There is no question he is a real leader. People who work with him told me how very impressed they were with his leadership skills and said he was very dedicated.

I also observed his tenure as a principal while I worked as a reporter for one of the local dailies.

His first trial in his new gig was handling the search for a principal for Spanish River High to replace William Latson who was reassigned recently.

Soon he will find himself in the fire dealing with Delray Beach’s old Carver High alumni and local preservationists who have been pushing to preserve three of the buildings along Southwest Fourth Street.

That promises to be a no-win battle for all involved and has already been proven to be a quagmire for district officials. Tread lightly.

The school district, which owns the property, initially planned to raze most of the campus’ 14 remaining structures. But this is one project I envision being diplomatically delayed for a long time to come.

There are also some rarely discussed, underlying mines that he will need to be aware of.

Among them are some under-used facilities that the district needs to consolidate. He will also need to explore innovative ways to involve parents and students at low-performing campuses. Let’s face it, the work of providing all children the chance to obtain an excellent education has to be personal. And principals cannot undertake a school improvement initiative alone.

He also will need to build on the private sector support that helped deliver the local Penny Sales Tax, which went into effect in Jan. 2017. This will take someone, such as Licata, with vision, energy, tolerance and communication skills, and someone committed to spend the time necessary in the community to yield results.

Pete is an incredibly talented educational leader and residents of South County should be excited about the opportunity to have someone like him here in our area.

He replaces Dr. Ian Saltzman, another great leader, who recently became superintendent of the Everett, Washington, School District.

C. Ron Allen can be reached at r 561-665-0151.

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