OCALA, Fla. -- Education veteran Diane Gullett is returning to Central Florida. This time, Gullett is taking the top job at Marion County Public Schools.

  • Former Orange administrator tapped for Marion
  • Gullett is No. 2 leader at Clark County Schools
  • She is replacing Superintendent Heidi Maier

The Marion County School Board on Tuesday selected Gullett to be its first appointed superintendent starting this fall.

Gullett, a 30-year education veteran, is the deputy superintendent of Clark County Schools in Las Vegas.

“I am truly honored and humbled, and I greatly look forward to this opportunity to work with all of you and this entire community,” Gullett told Marion County School Board members Tuesday morning via telephone, according to a news release. “I know this is a big decision for the community.”

She will replace Superintendent Heidi Maier, who took office in 2016. 

Marion County voters switched from elected to appointed superintendent during a November 2018 referendum.

Maier’s term expires Nov. 16, 2020.

The Marion County School Board will negotiate an employment contract, including salary, with Gullett later, said Kevin Christian, the district’s director of public relations & multimedia productions.

Gullett was a district administrator and student in Orange County before heading to Nevada in 2018.

Before that, she rose through the ranks in Orange County Public Schools for 19 years, first as an elementary school dean and eventually reaching the post of area superintendent.  

She earned a doctorate in educational leadership specializing in business administration from the University of Central Florida in 2002.

A national search firm, Ray & Associates, narrowed an initial pool of 47 candidates to 12. Marion County School Board members reviewed, ranked and picked three for interviews. One dropped out.

Gullett and Heath Morrison, a division president with McGraw-Hill publishing, went through three interviews.

As the deputy superintendent of Clark County Schools, Gullett is the No. 2 leader of the country’s fifth-largest school district with 323,000 students and over 42,000 employees.

Marion County has 43,000 students and 7,000 employees. The Marion County post is her first superintendent position.