There's a new leader of the 73,000 students on the Space Coast.

Dr. Desmond Blackburn is still settling in as the new superintendent of Brevard Public School. But after three weeks into the job, he already knows there's a big issue he needs to tackle.

"Near the top is this whole notion of employee morale and how people feel when we’re at work," Blackburn said.

Teachers say the previous administration wouldn't listen to their concerns about a lack of pay raises and planning time.

"I understand that salary compensation, benefits — those are all very, very close to the top of the list of priorities that negatively impact staff morale," Blackburn said. "So, that's at the top of my priority list, as well."

Blackburn replaces Brian Binggeli, who took a superintendent position in Plano, Texas.

Blackburn said he hopes his years of experience — both in the classroom and as an administrator in Broward County — can help him also deal with student challenges. Some of those challenges include over-testing and how to cut back on exams.

"The approach there is going to be to differentiate what testing is done to us and what testing do we do to ourselves," Blackburn said.

One community complaint is a lack of communication. In 2012, voters rejected a half-cent sales tax for schools because voters claimed the district did a poor job explaining the need for the money.

Three schools were forced to close because of the referendum's failure. Blackburn hopes social media will bridge that communication gap.

"I'm fairly active on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook," he said. "I'm asking teachers and employees and parents, community members, to please follow me, friend me, connect with me and share thoughts with me."

Before any changes are made, Blackburn said he wants to listen and be open to ideas on how to make Space Coast schools a success for years to come.

Brevard County resumes school Wednesday, Aug. 12.

For all the latest back-to-school information, go to