A Journey from Immigrant Boy to Leader of a Large District

Dr. Robert Avossa bringing personalized learning pathways to individuals.

by Dr. Rod Berger

Robert Avossa is the superintendent of the School District of Palm Beach County in Florida, which is the 11th largest district by enrollment in the US. Before Palm Beach County, he was superintendent of Fulton County Schools in Atlanta, another very large district, so it goes without saying that Robert knows a thing or two about running a large operation.

As an immigrant, Robert is very sensitive to the needs of minorities and English Language Learners in his district. As he explains, “My family moved to the U.S. when I was a little boy. English was not my first language. We came from Italy. I’m a naturalized American citizen, and I tried to use my story and my passion for the work to show kids that anything is possible in this country, and the way is through education.”

He is a big proponent of offering personalized learning paths to individuals, a concept he brought with him from Atlanta. Palm Beach County offers the vast 200,000 student population over 300 choice programs for students and parents to choose. Different schools offer different programs and specialties, such as medical, cyber security, police, and fire fighting in the form of academies that students attend. The result is thousands of kids being far more invested in their education than they would be in a traditional one-size-fits-all setting.

Robert is a walking and talking American success story. Starting with his early beginnings as an immigrant boy from Italy, he has forged a career path through study, determination, and grit and is now making an incredible impact on the lives of thousands of kids and their families.

About Dr. Robert Avossa

Dr. Robert Avossa is in his third year of leadership of the Palm Beach County School District. The District is the 11th largest district in the country with a student enrollment of more than 193,000 students. The annual budget exceeds $2.4 billion and the District is the largest employer in Palm Beach County with over 23,000 employees.

Dr. Avossa is a Broad Academy Fellow and a member of Chiefs for Change, an esteemed network of state and district education Chiefs. He serves locally on the boards for the American Heart Association, CareerSource Palm Beach County, Children’s Services Council, Criminal Justice Commission, and Education Foundation of Palm Beach County.

Dr. Avossa is a University of South Florida graduate with a Bachelor’s Degree in Exceptional Education and Behavior Disorders, as well as a Master’s Degree in Special Education. He earned his Doctorate Degree from Wingate University.

Follow Dr. Robert Avossa on Twitter.

This article was originally published in the Huffington Post by Dr. Rod Berger.

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