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Lakeland Appoints Gagliardi as Permanent Superintendent

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By Rick Pezzullo
Dr. Karen Gagliardi (left)

The Lakeland Board of Education last week unanimously voted to appoint Dr. Karen Gagliardi as Superintendent of Schools through June 30, 2026.

Gagliardi has been serving in the role of Interim Superintendent of Schools since October 2021, previously serving as Assistant Superintendent for Instruction. 

After being sworn in, Gagliardi addressed the seven-member board and audience at Lakeland High School, sharing her gratitude and optimism moving forward.

“My experience serving the district over the last six months has greatly reaffirmed my commitment to serving in this role. I am proud of the strides our community has made in just six months’ time,” she said. “The future is bright for Lakeland, and I am humbled and honored to lead and serve our district. With the restrictions and mandates of the pandemic hopefully behind us, we will sharpen our focus on instruction and work to enhance our educational spaces to best engage students. There will always be challenges to overcome, but I am confident that we will continue to grow together to support the needs of all students through collaboration and learning from one another.”

Board of Education President Adam Kaufman said the board is very pleased with Gagliardi’s performance and believes she will continue to have a positive impact on the community.

“In addition to her leadership skills, Dr. Gagliardi has a keen understanding of the needs of our district and has assembled a strong leadership team that is equally dedicated to the students of Lakeland. She has long-standing relationships throughout our community which are a key component of an effective and collaborative leader and a quality that would have been impossible to find outside of the district,” Kaufman stated.

First joining Lakeland in 2003, Gagliardi served as Assistant Principal at Lincoln-Titus, and Co-Principal of George Washington Elementary School, before moving to Thomas Jefferson Elementary School to assume the role of principal, where she excelled for many years. In 2014, she co-authored, “Education is Special for Everyone: How Schools Can Best Serve All Students.” She also represented the Association of Lakeland Administrators as President.

Gagliardi joined the central office team in 2019 as the Assistant Superintendent for Instruction, overseeing instructional leadership and curriculum throughout the district.

Gagliardi said the timing and location of her appointment were personally meaningful since her daughters graduated from Lakeland High School and March is Women’s History Month.

“The district has been my professional home for many, many years. Everyone who has influenced and supported my journey is here with me, I share this appointment with all of you,” she said.

Lakeland is the largest suburban district in the county with a student population of 5,458.

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