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Duval County Public Schools selects interim superintendent

by: Brittney Donovan, Action News Jax Updated:

Duval County Public Schools has selected an interim superintendent after Dr. Nikolai Vitti took the same job in Detroit.

The board voted unanimously to select Dr. Patricia Willis to temporarily fill his spot because of her familiarity with the district and ties to the community.

Willis will take over Monday, when Vitti heads to Detroit to lead the public school system there.

Vitti took a 5-year deal with Detroit Public Schools.

His last day with Duval County Public Schools will be May 21, a chairperson told Action News Jax.

Willis is a familiar face within DCPS. She has worked with the district for decades, starting in 1981 as an English teacher at Stilwell Junior High School.

She worked her way up to become the deputy superintendent in 2007 after serving as a teacher, assistant principal and a principal at three local schools for a total of 12 years.

"This is where my heart and work has been. I will always be committed. Any little bit I can do that will make a difference, I will do," Willis said.

A new era for DCPS will begin when Willis begins her work Monday; she will be Duval County's first female African-American interim superintendent.