“My parents owned and operated a local hotel where I grew up in the family business and had the principles of excellence, hard work, honesty, respect, care, and compassion modeled daily. These values and my childhood experiences instilled in me a desire for excellence, to serve others, and to make a positive impact on my community. I was inspired to pursue a career in public education and chose to return to my Collier community to teach and raise my own family.”
- Dr. Leslie C. Ricciardelli
Dr. Leslie C. Ricciardelli
Dr. Leslie C. Ricciardelli is the 20th superintendent of the A-rated Collier County Public Schools (CCPS) district, which in 2023 celebrates 100 years of excellence in education. CCPS is responsible for educating approximately 50,000 students and employing slightly under 7,000 full- and part-time employees. Dr. Ricciardelli’s experiences and expertise within the district and the community have provided her with an in-depth understanding of the expectations and values the people of Collier County have of our public education system.
Dr. Ricciardelli grew up in Naples from the age of two and attended neighborhood public schools: Lake Park Elementary, Gulfview Middle, and Naples High School. She has devoted her life’s work to strengthening the quality of education in Collier County and has held multiple instructional and administrative roles during the course of a career spanning three decades. The District School Board of Collier County selected Dr. Ricciardelli as interim superintendent in December of 2022. She quickly demonstrated consensus-building skills in working with the School Board, colleagues, and community members to implement a shared vision of positive student outcomes. In March 2023, Dr. Ricciardelli issued a 100-day report outlining engagement with stakeholders, empowering colleagues to think creatively, and enacting positive changes aligned with student achievement. She displayed fiscal acumen by aligning academics and finance during the budgeting process to efficiently allocate resources and set a course for improving the climate and culture in CCPS, opening lines of communication between and among all stakeholders. Following a national search, the School Board appointed Dr. Ricciardelli as superintendent in May 2023. She has been recognized by the Southwest Florida Speakers & Trainers Association as one of the most effective communicators in the region.
Earlier in her career, Dr. Ricciardelli worked in three other Florida counties — Broward, Orange, and Seminole — where she served as a teacher for students with disabilities and returned to Collier County to work as an inclusion teacher. Dr. Ricciardelli has served in a variety of capacities: exceptional student education assistant, teacher, assistant principal, principal, and various district leadership roles where she led in a variety of positions, including Executive Director for Secondary Programs, School Leadership and Performance Officer, and Deputy Superintendent.
Dr. Ricciardelli earned her Bachelor of Arts degree (1991) in Secondary Education from Flagler College in St. Augustine, Florida. She then earned a Master of Science degree (2000) in Educational Leadership and a Doctor of Education degree (2009) in Organizational Leadership with Specialization in Higher Education from Nova Southeastern University.