Dr. Debra Pace, Superintendent of Osceola County since 2016 and currently overseeing 70,000 students and 8,500 employees throughout the Osceola County school district, will officially retire on June 30, 2023 after a remarkable career that has spanned over 33 years.

Dr. Pace’s time as an advocate for students has included teaching at Poinciana and Osceola High Schools, serving as Principal at Poinciana and Harmony High Schools, deputy superintendent in Osceola County, a few years as deputy superintendent in Brevard County, before taking over the helm as superintendent in Osceola County, her home, in 2016.

Dr. Pace has been an influential figure in the community, leading with passion, integrity, and an unwavering commitment to student success, Every Child, Every Chance, Every Day!

“It’s truly been such an honor and a privilege to serve as superintendent, but also because of the great partners in this community, folks like Charlie Draper of Draper Law Office, Lisa and Keith Ronan from Positively Osceola, and a very supportive board who really help promote the amazing teachers and staff members that we have across the district. It truly takes everybody for us to meet our goal of every child, every chance, every day” Dr. Debra Pace said at the final Featured Teacher of the Month event that took place at Parkway Middle School in May.

Dr. Debra Pace

Superintendent, Osceola County School District

Throughout her tenure, Dr. Pace implemented innovative programs, fostering a culture of academic excellence and inclusivity. She championed initiatives that empowered teachers, encouraged parental involvement, and ensured that every child received a quality education. Under her guidance, Osceola County schools have become beacons of inspiration for neighboring districts, often leading in decision-making during challenging times, such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

As the community prepares to bid its final farewell to Dr. Pace as superintendent on Friday from 5:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m at Osceola Heritage Park in Kissimmee, tributes have poured in from teachers, administrators, and students alike. They recounted heartfelt stories of Dr. Pace’s compassionate leadership, her ability to listen and understand, and her tireless efforts to uplift the education system. Her departure will leave a void that will not be easily filled, but the positive impact she has made in the district will continue to shape the future of education in Osceola County.

As Dr. Pace steps down from her role as superintendent, she leaves behind a legacy of educational transformation, instilling a passion for learning in countless students and inspiring educators to strive for excellence. The impact of her visionary leadership will be felt for generations to come. She leaves an indelible mark on Osceola County, and her retirement marks the end of an era while also signaling the beginning of a new chapter in the district’s history.

The district’s next superintendent, Dr. Mark Shanoff, is an accomplished leader in the education field, and is ready to put in place strategies that will take the district to even higher levels of excellence. Previously serving as Senior Executive Director of Information Technology Services in Orange County Public Schools and as Chief Operating Officer in Volusia County Schools, Shanoff has had 13 years of experience as a school principal in OCPS at the elementary.

Positively Osceola has been blessed to work closely with Dr. Pace over the last seven years in our Featured Teacher program, where teachers and professional support staff around the district are celebrated, honored, and thanked along with Charlie Draper of Draper Law Office. We will miss her, but we are excited for the next chapter in her life. Without question it will be filled with smiles, laughs, and hugs with her family, and of course, her grandchildren! We are grateful to have been able to call Dr. Pace, our friend.