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  • Writer's pictureChad Oliver

New Era for Collier County Public Schools

New School Board Members Jerry Rutherford, Kelly Lichter, and Tim Moshier are sworn in November 22, 2022


There is a change in leadership at the top of the A-rated Collier County Public Schools (CCPS) for the first time since 2011.

During the December 13, 2022, Regular School Board Meeting, Dr. Kamela Patton and the School Board unanimously agreed to a “Mutual Transition Agreement.” The 2022 Florida Superintendent of the Year released a farewell message that read in part, “Earlier this year, I announced my decision to make this my last year as superintendent. Now is the ideal time for me to depart as I welcome a brand-new year filled with opportunities that will allow me to build and support other leaders and districts across the nation.”

Dr. Leslie Ricciardelli was named CCPS Interim Superintendent. Dr. Ricciardelli grew up in Naples from the age of two and has worked in education for more than twenty-eight years. Most recently, Dr. Ricciardelli served as CCPS Deputy Superintendent where she was responsible for leading Financial Services, School Leadership, and District Operations, including Transportation, Nutrition Services, Safety and Security, Facilities and Maintenance, and other key areas of the school district.

Early in her career, Dr. Ricciardelli worked in three other Florida counties—Broward, Orange, and Seminole—where she served as a classroom assistant and teacher for students with disabilities. Dr. Ricciardelli returned to Collier County and worked at Manatee Middle School as an inclusion teacher and at Lely High School as an Exceptional Student Education (ESE) Specialist and Dean of Students. Dr. Ricciardelli then worked at Palmetto Ridge High School for six years as Assistant Principal of Attendance and Discipline and returned to Lely High School as Assistant Principal of Curriculum and Instruction. Dr. Ricciardelli was later chosen to be principal at Golden Gate Middle School and returned, once again, to Lely High to serve as principal prior to taking a position in district leadership.

Dr. Ricciardelli earned her Bachelor’s (B.S.) Degree from Flagler College in St. Augustine, Florida, and then pursued her Master’s and Doctoral degrees from Nova Southeastern University. “I am extremely grateful to Dr. Patton for her years of service, for appointing me as the CCPS Deputy Superintendent, and I’m thankful to the School Board for believing in my ability to serve in the role of Interim Superintendent of this exceptional school district,” Dr. Leslie Ricciardelli said in a video message released the day after her appointment. “I want students, parents, staff, and community members to know I am committed to making sure our schools have all the resources and support needed as we, collectively, keep advancing student achievement.”

The letter of agreement for an interim superintendent will be in place from December 13, 2022, until the Board’s appointment of a new superintendent. Dr. Ricciardelli has said she intends to apply for the permanent position.

The district has created a webpage ( for communication and updates during the Superintendent Search process. It will contain the timeline for the process, applicant information, and community input opportunities.

On February 6, 2023, at 9 a.m. there will be a Special School Board Meeting focused on the Superintendent Search where the Board will consider two items: leadership profile and desired characteristics of a new superintendent. The Regular Board Meeting for the month will be held on February 14, at 4:30 p.m. Board Meetings and Board Workshops are streamed live on the district website,, and on Channel 99 for Comcast, CenturyLink, and Summit Broadband cable subscribers.


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